Goal #36 - Double my current donation to Kiva.org
I first learned about this organization when former President Clinton was on Oprah to discuss his book, Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World. So what is Kiva? Kiva is a microlending website that allows individuals to lend money directly to entrepeneurs throughout the world who would otherwise be unable to get loans. The people seeking loans through Kiva and other microlending organizations are those at or below the poverty line living in the less-developed parts of the world. The majority are women, and all are trying to run small businesses to provide for their families. Kiva works by matching up those in need with those that have money to lend throughout the world, using microlending financial institutions as the go-between - the financing institutions determine which applicants are good credit risks, and they process the loan and the repayment.
Through the Kiva website, you can search for which person(s) you want to lend to by gender, area of the world, amount of loan sought, etc. Most loans are between $500 to $1,500 and the average repayment seems to be about 6-12 months. The repayment rate is currently 96.3% of $31+ million loaned, which is outstanding. Once a loan is repaid, you can either relend it to someone else, donate it to cover Kiva expenses, or withdraw it. And the minimum loan amount is $25, which makes this available to practically everyone.
I can't say enough about this organization. It's a wonderful way to help those with less than us, which I believe is what we are all meant to do. If you're looking for a way to make a difference, even a small one, check out Kiva.org