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February 20, 2008

Kiva...the best little give-from-your-heart-for-all -of-the-right-reasons website around...

This is an amazing website...go there, loan a small amount of money to people in countries around the world who will have their lives changed by a bit of your cash...about as much as it costs for a movie and popcorn these days.

I first heard about Kiva on Oprah...the founders, Matt and his wife, Jessica were on the show with her and President Bill Clinton.

"Matt began developing Kiva with his wife Jessica in late 2004 as a side-project with while working as a computer programmer at TiVo, Inc.
In December 2005 Matt left his job to devote himself to Kiva full-time. As CEO, Matt has led Kiva's growth from a pilot project to an established online service with partnerships across the globe and millions in dollars loaned to low income entrepreneurs.
Matt is a Draper Richards Fellow and a featured blogger on the Skoll Foundation's Social Edge website. He graduated with a BS in Symbolic Systems and a Masters in Analytical Philosophy from Stanford University."

President Bill Clinton was talking about his new book, "Giving." The discussion turned to Kiva and President Clinton explained what it was about...I was hooked. This little organization has all the earmarks of a perfect charity for me:
~ All the $$$ goes to the people to whom you choose to loan money.
~ You receive all of the information needed to make your choices.
~ The $$$ to run the offices comes from a donation that you can choose to make while you are making your loan...a suggested 10% donation to Kiva is listed on the loan page and it is up to you if you send them anything at all.

I'd like to introduce you to one of my Kiva entrepreneurs...I loaned $25 to Hermelinda, who lives in Peru. She wanted $525 to start a small bakery in her own home. She applied to Kiva on January 1st, the loan was filled by all of us who signed up, again on January 1st, and she has already made payments back to us, totalling 17% of her loan amount!

"Hermelinda is a humble mother of two children, who since childhood has been very hard working, has held numerous jobs in order to get ahead, but upon seeing that the income generated did not cover her household expenses, she decided to create her own source of work. Therefore she renovated her home and installed a small artisan oven in which she makes a variety of breads to then distribute to the various little stores in her area.

The wish of this hardworking mother is to increase her production quantity and broaden her market in the city. In order to do this she needs a loan to purchase a large quantity of flour. Hermelinda promises to repay the loan in six months. This hardworking mother needs your support in order to prosper in her business." ~ Kiva website

This is a feel-good, can't-help-but-make-a-difference kind of thing...check it out! I bet you'll love it as much as I do.

"Think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege."
~ John D. Rockefeller Jr.

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