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From Our Editors

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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