“The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.” ― Robert F. Kennedy
Not everyone who wants to make a difference in the world is wealthy or a social entrepreneur. For as little as $25, the average person can contribute to the world through crowdfunding via Kiva.
Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Kiva funds people all over the world who want to go to school, grow or start a business, or even fund medical treatment. The Kiva website offers lenders their choice of loans to fund broken down by categories, such as women, single parents, health, green, Africa, conflict zones, underbanked areas, and many other classifications.
A borrower applies for a loan, the loan goes through an underwriting and approval process, then the loan is put up for crowdfunding on Kiva. When the loan is repaid, the individual lenders have the option of withdrawing their money or funding another loan. Lenders don’t earn interest on the loans. 97% of Kiva borrowers repay their loans.
As of May 2016, 1.5 million lenders have lent more than two million people in 84 countries over 850 million dollars. 75% of the borrowers are women, over 500,000 people in the least developed countries secured loans. 55,000 borrowers now have access to clean energy and more than 20,000 students received an education through Kiva’s crowdfunded loans.
Kiva has a 4 out of 4 star rating from Charity Navigator and received the 2015 Global Impact Award from Google. By combining crowdfunding and microfinancing, Kiva is a real-world example of innovative microfinance institutions that are making our world better.