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  1. Dean Pomerleau

    Helping People via Kiva.org Microloans

    Hey CR folks, If you're in a giving mood this holiday season, I heartily endorse the organization Kiva.org, which allows you to participate in microloans to deserving people around the developing world for only $25. The best part is that once people use the money for their project, they repay the loan so you can lend out the money again. Here is one such Kiva success story, a Peruvian coffee farmer named Avelino (pictured below) who received a $325 loan last year to buy compost and fertilizer so he could increase his crop yield. He was successful and paid back his 10 lenders in full. In the nine years I've been making loans through Kiva, the vast majority (~98.5%) have paid back in full. As a result, I've been able to "roll over" (i.e. re-lend) the amount I initially dedicated to Kiva loans a total of 14 times. In other words, for each $25 I devoted to Kiva loans, I've been able to lend $350 over the years, thereby helping a lot of people. The money you give via Kiva.org isn't tax deductible, since its a loan. Nor do you get interest on the loan. But once it is paid back, you can withdraw the money rather than re-loan it if you want, so it is still yours. But as I said, I appreciate the opportunity to roll over the proceeds from repaid loans, and help new people with the money. I tend to focus my loans to people like Avelino, farmers or people who sell fruits & vegetables, and who commit to repaying the loan relatively quickly (usually under 1 year), so I can re-loan the money to others as quickly as possible and help the most people. But that's just one strategy. Kiva provides a ton of different ways to search for loans that meet your own criteria. Anyway, I believe in Kiva so much, I'm giving away a $25 loan gift code to encourage the first person who reads this and wants to give Kiva a try. Simply go to kiva.org/redeem and enter this gift code: RAUH-RK3N-QXKD-KDXP Start loaning through Kiva.org today. You'll be glad you did! --Dean