Mention philanthropy, female empowerment and diversity –three of my favorite topics — and Kiva comes to mind.
This ingenious non-profit allows anyone to become a micro-lender. In just a few years, $100 million has been loaned to female and male entrepreneurs around the globe to start their own businesses, many modest ventures. Donors can choose to support only women business owners as I have. For as little as $25, these loans can lift a woman and her family out of poverty and onto the road of sustainability. Imagine the mind shift and spirit uplift that occurs when a woman controls her own business. Best yet, default rates are low.
When the money is paid back, you can withdraw your investment, donate it to Kiva or lend it to another needy applicant of your choosing.
For the price of a pedicure or perm, you can change the course of lives and feel pretty inside. No matter how tight money is, I can find a way to make my discretionary dollars help a woman on another continent build self-sufficiency. One day that recipient may be in the position to help another woman with a loan. The goodwill and positivity engendered by that thought is more than enough reason for me to skip a hair appointment or a treasured movie date with hubby and share what I can.
Locally, there are many deserving nonprofits needing our time, resources and money.
In 2009, a few of us formed a women’s giving circle to participate in a new project called Impact 100 Richmond. The concept is simple yet grand. Gather 100 women willing to donate $1,000 apiece to give a deserving nonprofit a $100,000 transformative grant. Don’t have $1,000? Giving circles of up to 10 women pool funds to donate a total of $1,000 to ease the financial weight.
Other cities use the impact template, too. This is one idea worth copying, ladies.
However you contribute to those needing a lending hand, the end result is mutually beneficial. You improve someone’s life. And your own.