The Season of Giving (with NO Telecom Talk!)

The Kiva logo.

With the holidays upon us, I promised to send out this month's newsletter on cool techie gifts for the season. My focus shifted when my parents' surprising gesture got me thinking. They gave each of my children a check for Christmas to donate as they see fit, asking them to "pay it forward". This got me thinking about a recent conversation I had with a church member that I wanted to share with you.

Pam Miller and I sit on the Business & Finance Committee of the First Church of Christ, Congregational in Redding, CT. She recently informed us of an organization called Kiva.org that empowers people to help those less fortunate.

Kiva is a non-profit organization that connects people through lending. It allows folks like you and me to make "micro-loans" (loans of $25 of more) to people worldwide so they can invest in their own small businesses and grow their way out of poverty. The beauty of Kiva is that as you donate money to these borrowers and they pay back their loans, you have the chance to reinvest again and again, helping others help themselves.

Pam explained to us that "our Outreach Committee donated $500 to Kiva. We divided our fund into $25 increments choosing to help many borrowers at a time, each of which has paid us back. Over the past 2 years, we have helped over 86 borrowers from around the world to better themselves!" Pam went on to say that the church chooses to help groups or individuals that are entrepreneurial or sustainable in nature so they can grow to support themselves. (The old Chinese proverb about teaching a man to fish instead of giving him the fish comes to mind.)

How does Kiva work?

As shown on kiva.org, you make a loan and choose who the borrower will be. There are over 4,500 borrowers available to choose from all over the world.

A map of Kiva loan locations.

You can select different categories such as agriculture, housing, manufacturing and more. Funds are dispersed through field partners all over the world such as local

microfinance organizations. Over time, you get updates on the borrower's progress and as the they repay the loan (they have a 98+% repayment rate), you accumulate Kiva credits. Once the loan is fully repaid, you have a choice to lend again and again or withdraw your money.

Watch this short video for a summary of the process:

A Kiva organization video.

How Kiva Works

Other Giving Ideas for the Season:

Heifer International

Ever thought to give someone a goat?? Heifer Internationalexplains on its website, "By giving families a hand-up, not just a handout, we empower them to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity, but our approach is more than that. By bringing communities together and linking them with markets in their area, we help bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty."

Watch this short video below as Alton Brown explains more.

Charity Choice

If you're not sure what charity your recipient would like to donate to, you can give a gift card to Charity Choice. Your gift allows loved ones or colleagues to choose from over 250 charities.

The Charity Choice logo.

All three of these organizations mentioned above have both individual and corporate programs. We are making an investment in Kiva and will update you on our progress!

As the year comes to a close, all of us at LeBlanc Communications wish you and your family all the best throughout the holidays and the New Year! Call us if you need anything at all!

We are always looking for a better way to Give Your Network a Voice!®.

Sincerely,
Michael LeBlanc, Founder and CEO
LeBlanc Communications Group, Inc.