Happy Anniversary, Kiva!

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I had actually planned to write about something else today, but then I learned that October 2015 was the 10th anniversary of Kiva (Kiva.org).  Kiva is a non-profit organization that helps everyday people lend money to low-income/underserved people who are trying to climb out of poverty and support themselves.  Their mission reminds me of the Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

How Kiva works is this:  microfinance institutions and non-profit organizations around the world, called “Field Partners” post profiles of qualified local entrepreneurs on its website.  You browse through the website, view photos of the entrepreneurs, read about their situation and what they want the money for, and choose someone you would like to fund.  You can choose a recipient based on country, gender, how quickly the financing will expire and other criteria.  You make a micro-loan to the business through PayPal.  The minimum amount you can loan is $25.  Your loan is combined with other loans to provide the amount the recipient needs.  It is usually a modest sum, varying from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.  Kiva was founded in October 2005 and is currently operating in 83 countries.  Kiva’s mission is “To connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.”  So far there have been 905,086 loans funded through Kiva, lending a total amount of $774 million.  Their repayment rate to date is 98.42%.  Kiva and its lenders do not collect any interest on the loans.  Kiva has received Charity Navigator’s (www.charitynavigator.org ) highest four star rating.  Charity Navigator is America’s largest independent charity assessor.  The loans are usually repaid a little bit at a time.  You are notified by email of your repayment status.  The money is held in your Kiva account until which time you either relend it or choose to withdraw it through your PalPal account.

Kiva was founded by Matt Flannery and Jessica Jackley.  Their interest in microfinance was sparked by a 2003 lecture at Stanford Business School, where Jackley worked at the time.  Flannery and Jackley interviewed aspiring business owners in Eastern Africa and found that these people needed start-up capital to better themselves and get their businesses established.  After returning from Africa, they put together the microfinance “Kiva”, which means “unity” in Swahili.  To be truthful, there is no guaranty that your loan will be repaid in full.  But, with a repayment rate of 98.42%, default on loans is rare.  Kiva and the field partners do a thorough due diligence review to make sure that loan requests are made responsibly.  For what it is worth, I have been making Kiva loans for several years now, and all my loans have been repaid.  Kiva is a great idea.  You get a chance to lend a helping hand, and the recipients get a chance to support themselves and live with dignity.

On a different note, I saw something in today’s newspaper that I would like to share with you  Purina is currently running a promotion, “PureLoveForPets.com“.  Go on their site, and for every trivia question you answer correctly, Purina will make a 25 cent donation to “Dogs on Deployment”, up to $40,000.  Dogs on Deployment is a non-profit organization founded in 2011 dedicated to helping out military personnel have someone to care for their pet while they are deployed.  You can answer a maximum of 5 questions a day.  There are several heart-warming videos of service men and women being reunited with their pets upon their return home.  It’s a free and easy way to help someone and give a pet a temporary home when they need it.

I hope you have a great week.

Cindy

The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches.  But to reveal to him/her his/her own.                                                                                                                                                Benjamin Disreali

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