Category Archives: giving back

Year End Giving

Year End GivingAnybody who has ever worked for a non-profit organization knows that the last quarter of the year makes all the difference in an annual budget. As someone who started giving philanthropically early on, I also take time to reflect at this time of year and consider what causes are most important to me that I may not have had a chance to give to thus far this year.

Everyone’s giving looks different, but I find it personally interesting to see how and why people choose where they give (or don’t give). Here is an overview at what my giving looks like this year, and why.

Rotary International Foundation – As anyone who is an avid reader knows, I’m a big Rotarian and highly support the great work that Rotary does around the world. I started doing a $25 monthly contribution last year, ironically when I was first on maternity leave and without a consistent income in the future. I did it in part to manifest wealth and giving in my life. At the end of the year I also contributed extra to make use of a matching that was offered by our club. My total giving for the year will be $400, plus additional credit will be matched.

InStove.org – I am also now on the Board of Directors for InStove.org, which makes the cleanest, safest, most fuel efficient stove in the world. As a new board member I have chosen to stretch myself and give an initial donation of $1000, along with my time and volunteer hours to leverage that funding even further. I realize that my grant making capacity makes a monetary contribution minimal in comparison, but I feel that it helps to show faith in the mission and support this incredible work.

Lewis & Clark College – I have also contributed to Lewis & Clark College for a number of years. Since I initially had a difficult time paying my way through LC, I feel particularly indebted to the institution that changed my life in so many ways for the better. I typically give $100 per year to LC. Perhaps one day I will increase this.

Kiva.org – I haven’t gone to the same level of commitment as my sister has, with her experiment giving $1000 through loans with Kiva. I figured I should at least top off my current account and be inspired to give a bit more. I just gave to a women’s group in Burkina Faso. It is only hard to choose between so many worthy folks wanting a little help.

EduCongo – Another great cause that I support and just gave a to. My dear friend Lou Radja is a fellow Rotarian and does tremendous work with a school that he and his father built in DRCongo. For now I’m giving enough to pay for a year of school fees for a student ($60), but I will be attending a fundraiser for EduCongo in the spring and plan to give more then. I also hope to make it out to visit the school at some point as well.

While I may not feel as flush without a steady paycheck coming in, as I have most often enjoyed, I still feel that it is important to give. It creates a virtuous cycle and keeps the giving going.

Cheers,

Miel

50th Kiva Loan!!!!!

My total Kiva “investment”

My Kiva Experiment is working…I’m excited to share that I just lent out my 50th loan through Kiva.

As you can see in the image to right, my initial deposit of just over $1k has been relent over and over to total $4,550 in value…now that’s what I like to call return on your investment! 

I’ve now lent money to 50 groups of people in 26 countries. Eventually I would love to give loans to people in all 73 Kiva Countries, but the truth is that I’m called to lend more in some areas of the world, especially Africa. I’ve also decided to be rather random and spontaneous in my selection process, so it often depends on who happens to be featured first. If it’s a vocation/place that I would like to support, I’ll often lend to the first one on the list, like I did this time.

However, I do take enough time to read through the lending details, since I would rather give to lenders who have loan terms of more than 18 months. If I can find a loan that six-months, then it means that money can be lent twice in a year. That’s not my only criteria, but my aim is to keep the average loan length under a year.

When I started my experiment, I also decided to only lend out in increments of $100 dollars. I figure that keeps ten loans going at any one time, and that’s plenty to keep tabs on.

Lastly, giving this last loan really made me smile. It was a loan to the Hodari Group in the Congo. The groups buys second hand clothing in large bales that has been shipped from around the world. When I visit sis in the Peace Corps in Ghana, we went to the second hand markets…the direct translation was “Dead White Guy Market,” since they figure the person must have died to give away such nice clothes! My Twin Sis has also worked a great deal in the Congo and I have an inspiring friend in my Rotary club, so I’ve made several loans to the Congolese. It’s such a beautiful war-torn place…if you really want to help there, you can donate to my friend’s EduCongo project to build schools.

Have you started lending with Kiva?
Use this link to lend your first $25 for free!

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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Update on Kiva Experiment

Faith Group from Tanzania

In January, I shared about a new experiment of mine: loaning $1,000 in micro-loans through Kiva. I’ve continued to relend the money, and in less than six months I’ve almost doubled the amount of loans, lending out another $900 with the original seed money.

I started lending money through Kiva two years ago when I gave a $25 loan to my Dad and Father. While I started pretty small, I’ve been able to relend and relend the money over and over again. At this point I only relend $100 at a time, and I’ve now provided 23 micro-loans, totaling $1850. I’ve experience 0% default and 0% delinquency. Six of the loans have been repaid in full, and remainder are still repaying them.

I’ve funded people in Bolivia, Guatemala, Ecuador, El Salvador, Peru, Mexico, Kenya, Tanzania, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Palestine, and even the United States. I lent the most in Africa, since I have a soft heart for my sister’s work there, and the most has gone to Kenya and The DRC. The group above is my most recent loan, I loved the photo with the nursing mom!

Have you started lending with Kiva?
Use this link to lend your first $25 for free!

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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

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Kiva Lending Experiment

I’ve written several times about Kiva’s micro-finance lending, and how it gives money a whole new meaning for hard working people around the globe. With my recent inheritance, I’ve decided that I can afford to do more.


So, on new year’s eve I found 10 entrepreneurs, farmers and hopeful home-buyers who were gracefully requesting loans to help raise their family fortunes and lent them each $100, for a total of $1,000 in loans (plus another $100 as a donation to Kiva). Now our money is helping people in Kenya, Sierra Leone, Ecuador, Tajikistan, Palestine, and previously in El Salvador, Senegal, Peru, and The Democratic Republic of the Congo.


It feels amazing to be able to lend a hand to help people reach their family financial goals around the world. Even if I never personally see the impact, I have no doubt that my generosity is making a difference.


I also contacted Kiva and asked about whether they can find more partners for environmental projects (tree planting, renewable energy…). They replied the same day and have been working on developing more loan partners with green goals, so I look forward to supporting those in the future.


Oh, and BTW, I just had my second blogoversary (1/10/10)! It personally feels like I’ve been writing for much longer, but in other ways, it feels like I’m just beginning. In my first year it felt like I really was able to voice my goals and achieve many of them. Our dream of saving to travel to Denmark was worth all the effort, and I know this wouldn’t have been possible without this blog. Yet, this second year has been more personally challenging to stay motivated, but I really did miss writing during the fall and it feels good to get back to “tip tapping” as Hubby likes to call it 😉 


On a related note, while I initially intended to earn some extra money from this blog, it honestly hasn’t happened yet. I’ve earned less than $200 in two years, which doesn’t even cover my wi-fi bill. I’m not planning to spend a ton of time trying to get advertisers, but I have decided that anything I earn will go toward Kiva loans.


Lastly, a word of thanks to my friends and readers. I know many of you don’t comment online, but I’ve appreciated your personal encouragement throughout my blog writing. It means a lot to me. 


Have you started lending with Kiva?
Use this link to lend your first $25 for free!


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

You can find other loans at: yetiloans.co.uk

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I Love Kiva

I know that I’ve written about Kiva on several occasions already, but after making my 6th loan to a group of Congolese women, I can’t help but share again.


It all started out when I lent $50 ($25 to 2 people) for my Dads on Father’s Day. Then around the holidays I talked about how Kiva loans are the perfect gift for family members who have everything already. I shared a video about the power of investing in  women. In the mean time I relent that same $50 several times over, after the funds had been repaid. 


Just this week I invested in this group of women from Congo who work together to run a store and fund their own micro-enterprise projects in the village. When I contributed they were at 35% funded and now they are 62%. The loan will be repaid in 6 months, and I look forward to finding another community of people to support in places of need.


Each time I also contribute the suggested $3.25 to Kiva to support the administration of all these loans, which seems to be a reasonable rate.


Have you loaned money through Kiva? I bet you’ll get hooked too…

Use this link to lend your first $25 for free!
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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

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