Wouldn’t it be great to help fight poverty by enabling those in need with the means to indefinitely support themselves? Guess what—you can and it won’t cost you a cent!
LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman has donated $1 million to Kiva.org , which lets 40,000 people give $25 microloans to help those living in poverty stricken areas start a farm or run a general store. The Kiva Free Trials program looks to raise awareness of the positive impact of microfinance philanthropy.
Hoffman told TechCrunch that he wanted to fund this initiative because it engages “lots of people with what they can do to alleviate poverty, help the entrepreneurs to take control of their lives, and you can repeat and scale it. We build a better future by empowering individuals to empower themselves.”
Kiva makes microfinancing fun and easy— best of all your money is returned once the borrower starts making money. This allows you to lend to another. It truly is a gift that keeps on giving.
Through microfinancing, people who can’t get a loan from a bank or other large financial institution are now able to. Research also shows that there are many benefits to this. A woman who receives a microloan is more likely to use the profits from her business to help her family, not just herself. She is likely to save and also invest. Pretty cool, huh? Natalie Portman  thinks so too.
To date, 700,000 Kiva lenders have microloaned over $291 million and 98.9% of the money is returned.
What can you do?