Update: Sharing is Caring

Yesterday during my lunch break, I decided to finally pick a loan off of Kiva to donate to. I have been aware of this site for probably about a year or two and really admire the efforts and I guess the whole system/principle of microfinance.

And... since I don't explain things very well, here is how Kiva describes themselves:
Kiva's mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty.
Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending.
Admittedly, I know little to nothing about microfinance except that it can be super powerful. The website has a "Facts" page that is updated daily to show the current impact:

Total value of all loans made through Kiva: $170,083,625
Number of Kiva Users: 780,777
Number of Kiva Users who have funded a loan: 494,900
Number of countries represented by Kiva Lenders: 208
Number of entrepreneurs that have received a loan through Kiva: 442,557
Number of loans that have been funded through Kiva: 232,831
Percentage of Kiva loans which have been made to women entrepreneurs: 81.85%
Number of Kiva Field Partners (microfinance institutions Kiva partners with): 121
Number of countries Kiva Field Partners are located in: 54
Current repayment rate (all partners): 98.95%
Average loan size: $381.48
Average total amount loaned per Kiva Lender (includes reloaned funds): $217.81
Average number of loans per Kiva Lender: 6.44

I've highlighted some of the line items that I think are most interesting/captivating/impressive.

I'm no mathematician but if they've loans $170 million out of 500k people - just imagine the impact if the remaining 280k people that have Kiva accounts but haven't donated yet. Incredible.

Anyway, my donation is just a drop in the bucket - but I'm really interested in the whole concept/model/success stories. When I was picking my loan to help fund, I really wanted to help a woman and the location was not too important to me. After wading through a few applicant pages, I settled on Martha Del Socorro Ortiz Baltodano.
Martha wanted a mere $475 to help grow her tortilla business (and a few small other things). I was the 2nd person to sign on to Martha's funding request - and this morning I got an email that Martha's loan had been fully funded! I could not believe that in less than 18 hrs, 17 people had donated to get Martha to her final goal.

I'm not sure when I'll do my next Kiva donation - but I do know that I'll probably be just as surprised at how fast the process is - and hopefully just as impressed with the amount of people that have joined/donated/contributed.

Note: I did learn a few weeks ago that my company's annual Charitable Giving Program lets  you pick the charity that you'd like your donation to go to - if you are financially able to donate. KIVA was an option for me - and so this year my donation is headed to them. I'm not sure that I get to "pick a loan" after the donation - but a donation to the general fund is still pretty cool.

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