I got a lot of great suggestions from friends on which organization I should sponsor as my September selection. As I began to write this post, however, I remembered that I had already selected one for September (in my mind), and had just forgotten about it! So I'm saving their great ideas for next month, and I'll choose one of them then.
For September, I've chosen to support Kiva. In a nutshell, it helps provide "loans that change lives." It's a micro-lending website that lets you choose an entrepreneur in need of funding. As explained on the website, your loan to a person in need can help them gain economic independence and improve their lives and the lives of their family members. You start by browsing through profiles and selecting a person you'd like to support. Kiva (and its partners) distribute the loan and often provide training and assistance to help the person succeed. The entrepreneur is required to repay the loan eventually and lenders are provided updates on the status of the repayment. When the loan is fully repaid, the lender can support someone else, donate the money to help Kiva's operations, or simply withdraw the money.
I think this is such a neat idea, especially when you start to peruse the profiles of people requesting loans. Many of them are for such small amounts (in our eyes), yet could make a huge difference in their lives. Take Marcelo Dicang from the Philippines, for example, who is requesting $125 to buy farming materials. This amount could stimulate his production and grow his business, and it's less than I make in a day. ONE DAY. It's amazing to think of someone actually needing a loan for that amount. With that said, I can't wait to dole out my first loan! I really hope it helps make a difference. I'll give status updates as the loan repayments begin.