I’m currently reading Giving by Bill Clinton, which is an excellent book on the many ways you can share your own good fortune (be that fortune great or small) with those in need. One of the most difficult things about giving time or money is finding an organization you both respond to and trust. One of the nice things about Giving is that it offers some excellent suggestions.

One of those suggestions I need to pass along immediately. An organization called is doing something a little different than your average non-profit. Rather than work as a typical charity organization, Kiva gives you the opportunity to take a more personal role in sharing our relative wealth with the rest of the world. Kiva isn’t built on donations, but is instead a microcredit organization, allowing you to loan small amounts of money to entrepreneurs in the developing world. You can lend anywhere from $25 or more to any number of pre-screened candidates on Kiva’s website. Kiva works with microcredit lending partners in other countries, who use your investments to lend to businessmen and women in their communities.

You don’t get any interest on your loan at this time (though the field partner does), but when the loan is paid back, you can either withdraw the money or reloan it. Kiva keeps statistics on all of their partners to better enable you to make a smart choice in your investment.

Nothing helps a community more than the ability of its members to better their standing in life, and Kiva gives you the opportunity to give them that chance in a personal and meaningful way. I lent $25 to two different people on Friday, and intend to continue lending as candidates catch my attention.

Take a look. A great deal of the comfort and happiness in our lives is a result of luck: the parents we had, the country we lived in and the education available to us. Helping those without those benefits gives meaning to a world that often looks chaotic and cruel.

Even if Kiva is not for you, I’m sure something else is.

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