One of the ways I like to give back to the community and help others is through Kiva.org. If you don’t know what Kiva is, here is a blurb from their About page:
More than 1.7 billion people around the world are unbanked and can’t access the financial services they need. Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 in San Francisco, with a mission to expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive.
We do this by crowdfunding loans and unlocking capital for the underserved, improving the quality and cost of financial services, and addressing the underlying barriers to financial access around the world. Through Kiva’s work, students can pay for tuition, women can start businesses, farmers are able to invest in equipment and families can afford needed emergency care.Kiva.org
I have been lending money through Kiva for 10 years this year and my only regret is that I didn’t start sooner and donate more money when I got started. I’ve loaned thousands of dollars over the years and will continue to do so, hopefully, till the day I die.
I stopped giving money to religious institutions after seeing the complete waste of money and misuse of funds over the years. The same goes for most charitable organizations like United Way which, in my opinion, have too much waste. I recall giving to United Way one year only to be bombarded with weekly mailers to give more money. In essence, they took my money and spent it on creating advertising and mailing it to me to ask me for more money – what a freaking waste.
Kiva isn’t perfect by any means, but I truly believe in their mission of opening capital to under served communities so that individuals can begin their journey of financial growth and independence. I went to college on pell grants and student loans and I honestly don’t know where I would be today if I hadn’t had that capital to get me started.
So far, I’ve lent money to about 35 countries and my goal is to lend money to all people in all nations and hopefully let that small seed money grow to a fruitful harvest to those ambitious enough to make it happen.
Of all the countries I’ve lent money to only loans to the Philippines have defaulted on loans. It is very encouraging that most people around the world are honest and pay back their debts.
If you are looking to give back to the community, consider Kiva.org.