For most of human history, the only way to help someone feel warm and fuzzy inside was to feed them a teddy bear. Generate good feeling and avoid the cuddly casualties with today's Groupon: for $15, you get a $25 microloan credit to help fund the working poor on Kiva.org. Whether you give the credit as a gift or make the loan yourself, Groupon and supporting sponsors will add $10 to every $15 purchase, up to $500,000.
With an eye toward alleviating poverty, Kiva empowers the distribution of microloans to highly motivated, low-income entrepreneurs in the developing world and beyond, cultivating a universal community of humans connected through lending. To reach business owners like the woman in Mozambique seeking $300 to buy chicks, feed, and vaccines for her poultry farm, Kiva harbors a deep network of trusted microfinance institutions, or field partners. The streamlined lending process allows generous funders to connect with eager businesspersons in transparent, accountable partnerships based on a mutual show of dignity and respect that underpins everything Kiva does.
Once equipped with your Kiva Credit, bestow it upon a worthy friend or spin Kiva's e-globe yourself to read about entrepreneurs like the Mongolian father of three seeking $1,925 to invest in his burgeoning meat trading business, or the Kenyan mother who has used microloans to scale up her farm. As entrepreneurs repay the loans over time, Kiva returns the funds to the lenders, who are free to then make another loan, donate the funds to Kiva to assist with operational costs, or withdraw the funds via PayPal and stuff them back into the dog's bed. For withdrawal terms on loans made with today's Groupon, see the full terms and conditions.
Since its inception six years ago, Kiva's community has provided more than $170 million in microloans to more than 444,000 industrious individuals on five continents. The active, dedicated community of users and the rigorous review of each field partner buoys the personal bonds and the palpable sense of trust in an ocean of effective entrepreneurialism. To learn more about how Kiva works, click here.
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Kiva started small. In April 2005, founders Matt Flannery and Jessica Jackley funded seven Kiva loans, totaling $3,500, to entrepreneurs across the globe. By September, all seven borrowers had repaid in full. With this success in hand, Flannery and Jackley expanded, transforming Kiva into a full-fledged nonprofit, operating under the belief that a relatively small amount of money can make a big difference in alleviating poverty. And also that there were people who wanted to lend money to underserved people they'd never met. All it took was establishing a link.
Now more than one million lenders have funded more than $600 million worth of loans to people in even the most remote areas of 80 countries to build businesses, fund home construction, and pay for school tuition. When lenders fund $25 microloans on the website, field partners distribute that money to highly motivated, low-income borrowers in developing areas. Once their efforts come to fruition, the borrowers repay the capital—at an average repayment rate of more than 98%—giving lenders the opportunity to relend to a different project.
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