Living here in the first world, it often feels as though we are so far removed from the problems of developing nations. How can we help communities in need when they are thousands of miles away? How can we make sure that the money we donate goes directly to the people who can use the funds? Kiva is an organization that connects donors to borrowers across the globe to help alleviate poverty through microfinance loans. Each loan starts at $25, and each borrower or project is chosen directly by the lender. After contributing the capital, the patron can follow the progress of the plan online and receive updates. All of the repayments are the lenders to keep, but Kiva hopes that the fulfillment that comes from making a positive difference for those in need will encourage people to donate again.

Founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, Kiva works with over 168 “Field Partners” or projects in need of finance. With the help of 450 volunteers across 66 different countries, the non-profit has raised $369,959,950 to date. With a repayment rate of 99%, Kiva is a safe and powerful way to assist entrepreneurs.  Interest gathered through the loans covers the non-profit’s operating costs along with personal and corporate donations. The group has been particularly effective in helping women enter the workforce, with 82% of their borrowers being female. This holiday season, consider helping those help themselves by financing a business, school, or non-profit through