Archived Q&A and Reviews

Jan 2008

We have been thinking about giving each of our kids (6 & 8) a sum of money which they can then give (or loan) to a cause of their choice. It seems as though the experience stands to be much more powerful for the kids if they are able to feel some connection to the recipient of their donation. We are also looking at this as a chance to learn about another culture. Any ideas of organizations that work in this way would be appreciated. (Alas, we are not talking about big sums here, just $50 here and there.)

It sounds like you're looking for something like www.kiva.org, which gives loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries. You can view their proposals and choose the specific person you want to help, and even a small donation can be pooled with the gifts of others towards the total.

Some other options your kids may feel a connection to: www.DonorsChoose.org (teachers post their wishes and you can help fund a field trip, etc.); www.GlobalGiving.com (help fund grassroots charity projects around the world, like providing safe drinking water for a village); www.heifer.org (buy livestock for impoverished people). All of these projects will help you learn about specific other people and places where your money is going. Trying to Teach Giving, Too

That's wonderful that you want to encourage your children to think about philanthropy. kiva.org has a great web site that explains microlending and even allows you to select a specific person in a particular country whose project you want to support. Check it out. Carrie

I heard about Kiva on the PBS show Frontline/World and they seem like a good organization. Check out their websites and see if this looks right for you.

I'm a biz journalist working on a story on these new peer to peer microlending sites popping up, so here is a summary from my research: The granddaddy of the bunch is www.kiva.org (two years old now). It's a nonprofit and relies on grants and donations from lenders to stay afloat.

Newer sites introduced in the past few months are registered with the SEC and return a small interest sum. www.Microplace.com is an eBay company and is pretty exciting to some of the economists I spoke with. Another www.globefunder.com is coming online in January supposedly.

There's also www.myc4.com a Danish site. hope that helps

Google Kiva.org, lots of info. At the Kiva Website they have pages on what is microlending, how does it work, etc. I just bought $25 gift certificates for a bunch of kids and printed off the info about it and some pages of possible people to lend to. They can pick the continent, project, person, etc. jj

I've donated for over a year to Kiva: www.kiva.org. You can ONLY donate $25 (but that's per loan), they've been lauded in various newspapers and magazines as being an organization where the money gets to those who need it most without being siphoned off the top, and you can choose the country and person you'd like to donate to. Each person has an individual story that is regularly updated. It's great! Melanie


I discovered Kiva on NPR months ago and have turned my children onto the site as a way to spread ''christmas cheer.'' Here is their website.... http://www.kiva.org/

and here is the link to the KQED podcast: http://www.kqed.org/epArchive/R704061000 ios

Check out kiva.org, which was recently featured on an episode of CNBC's Business Nation. It sounds like Kiva is exactly what you're looking for, because lenders only make $25 loans and the people who receive the loans are located all over the world. Your children will be able to browse through the website and choose to whom they want to loan their money. They'll also get progress reports on their loans. I applaud you for doing this when your children are so young. I think it will be a great experience for your children. A micro-lending enthusiast

Hello- I'm responding to your question about your children donating to people of other cultures. My son's preschool did a fundraiser for Heifer International. Even a small amount of money can buy a farm animal for a needy family in another country. The organization helps them learn how to care for the animal and use it's milk, wool etc., to better their lives. The kids can choose what animal to donate. I thought it was pretty cool. Good luck!

I friend of mine works for a wonderful website www.justgive.org. It would be perfect for donating small (or large) sums of money. The website has categories you can browse (animals, art and culture, overseas aid, peace, etc.) You narrow down the cause you want and then can browse specific organizations and can even click through to the organizations website. Really informative and easy to access. You can buy a gift certificate for your kids and then they can designate their charity later. I think they can even split it up to several charities. A really lovely alternative for this holiday. Cheers. Heidi

When my daughter was in 1st grade, she was learning about Africa - Uganda. We decided to donate to an organization called The Plan (I believe they are out of Rhode Island) You basically sponsor a child for $25 per month. You can pick the country, area, gender, age of child and you corrospond with him/her (they have workers if in a non english speaking or literate area to write the letters for the kids)These are very poor areas in communities with poor or no health clinics, schools etc. The money goes to build the infrastructure of the community where the child lives. It's been wonderful for my daughter.(and me) We chose a girl her age and they have been corrosponding a few times a year, exchanging pictures, drawings etc. for over two years now. We send her a gift twice a year (they don't allow more than that)and it goes directly to the child. (clothes, frisbees, cloth etc.) We get an annual report on how much money they raised and what was done with it. Only $25 per month and of course tax deductible. bb

here's a response to the question about microlending organizations. there's a ton of them these days and many of them specialize in certain areas. i gave to katalysis in stockton. they funnel the money to local microlending organizations all over but mostly in latin america i believe. they also have a program by which you buy items from places like amazon and 10% goes to katalysis. kmom

Check out One World Children's Fund (www.oneworldchildrensfund.org) - it's a mechanism for funding grassroots programs for kids in developing countries. You can direct one time or ongoing donations to specific projects or to the OWCF's general fund.

I attended OWCF's annual fundraiser last month - it's a real inspiration. One highlight was a group of middle schoolers who put on benefit concert at their school to raise money for AIDS orphans in S.Africa. The students performed at the lunch and one of the child organizers made a great speech.

Each international project has a local (U.S. based) 'champion' - who would be more than happy to give you more info on their particular project. jg