When John and I started our real estate company, Dunewood Homes, we decided to do something when each deal closed. We feel very fortunate in our lives, and though things have not always run smoothly, we have a lot to be thankful for. So we decided that at each closing, we would give a monetary donation to a charity. At first we would send something to the local Humane Society and the battered women's shelter. In looking for other organizations to give to, we found the Unity Foundation. It is an organization in LaPorte County that sets up endowments and gives regular donations to a number of local charities. Then the war broke out in Serbia. John has relatives there. And while we could not send anything to Serbia while the war was on (our government put a ban on the postal service delivering there), after the war was over we were able to help his cousin. The country's economy was in shambles, and she is a single mother who really needed some help.
Recently, I saw an interview with Bill Clinton the PBS news program "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer." He was talking about microfinance and how it helps people in poor countries. One of the organizations is called "Kiva" and they make small loans to people who are struggling to get their small businesses to succeed. These people do not qualify for traditional loans thru banks because they are too small, have no start up capital, or things like that. Many times, these loans help people get started on a venture that lifts them out of poverty. I was really intrigued, and went to the website kiva.org to find out more about it. I have a link to Kiva on the upper left corner of my blog here. I also put one of their banners at the bottom of the page. I think I am going to change to a different banner -- this one looks sort of lost there. For $25 you can help someone....
We had two closings recently (unbelievable -- the market may be beginning to pick up) so I selected four people to loan money to. It was hard to choose....I wanted to send something to an entrepreneur in Eastern Europe, but they were all funded. I also wanted to send something to someone in Vietnam because I believe we have a lot to live down in that country, but they were all funded too. But I did find 4 -- two in Asia (one in southeast), one in Dominican Republic, and one in Africa (because John wants to go there and I refuse).
I thought I might let all of you know so you can check it out for yourselves.