Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream...

If you're like me, you're pondering how to spend that marvelous income tax rebate check that you've just received.* Usually, I hesitate to give advice on how other people should live their lives, much less how they should spend their money, but I am willing to make an exception in this case.

Please consider loaning a small sum of money -- as little as $25 -- to the budding capitalists at Kiva:
Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on, you can "sponsor a business" and help the world's working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates from the business you've sponsored. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back.

Kiva partners with existing microfinance institutions. In doing so, we gain access to outstanding entrepreneurs from impoverished communities world-wide. Our partners are experts in choosing qualified borrowers. That said, they are usually short on funds. Through, our partners upload their borrower profiles directly to the site so you can lend to them.
I was just repaid on a small loan I made last year. (Okay, I admit it: I have a soft spot for Carpenters from the Holy Land.) And despite the unbelievable troubles in Gaza over the last year, Mr. Shanab was able to repay his full loan on time. That's right, despite bombings, killings, lockdowns and near civil war, Shanab's Carpentry still made good on the loan. I'm not sure how much more one could say about the success of Kiva's borrower vetting.

If you want to start but don't know where, may I suggest this lady:

Her name is Beatrice and she sells Ice Cream.

Ice Cream!

Black or white, anglo or hispanic,
young or old, liberal or wrong -- No matter our differences, can't we all agree that the World would be a better place if there were more Ice Cream?

The answer is "Yes -- More ice cream, please."

More on Kiva from PBS Frontline, NPR News and a lotta others.
And, of course, the kids at Prairie State Blue,
née Soapblox Chicago, blogged about this in November, but I didn't wanna post anything till my loan/experiment was repaid.

*Actually, if you're like me you are only now assembling your income tax information.

Note 1: This blog posting is NOT intended to constitute financial advice.
Note 2: ALWAYS consult your financial adviser making any investment.
Note 3: ESPECIALLY if the investment is brought to your attention by some goof on the internet.

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