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This year as a way to express gratitude to my clients I have chosen something other than the classic corporate holiday or year-end gift. (Who really needs another Harry & David gift basket?) I have, instead made a gift in their honor through Kiva.org. Perhaps you will join me in making a gift to help fund a microloan to Ernesto, a young Peruvian farmer in the city of Ollantaytambo.
Kiva.org is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.
Ernesto was born in the city of Urubamba and lives in the community of Pachar, he is 23 years old, single and has no children. Ernesto works in the construction of houses and other projects, he also sells small animals like cuyes and chickens. It’s been a few years since he started this business and he does well thanks to the effort he puts in his work. Ernesto needs the loan to buy more small animals.
Kiva works with microfinance institutions on five continents to provide loans to people, like Ernesto, that do not have access to traditional banking systems. I recommend them as you consider your holiday and year-end giving.
Recently, a friend introduced me to the music of Susan Werner. The words to her song “I will have my portion” have been on my mind in these days leading up to Thanksgiving. Her song speaks to a sense of both anticipation and hope; intention and plenty. Listen to the words:
As our nation’s economy still inches toward recovery, it is easy to imagine that countless Americans want to embrace the words of this song and claim them to be true. At the same time, millions around the world can only dream of the good fortune most Americans enjoy.
An Englishman named George Sala came to New York in 1879 and witnessed Thanksgiving in America - a holiday only officially established 16 years earlier by President Abraham Lincoln. In his book, America Revisited, he reported that “the Good Samaritan was out and about in every street of the great city on Thursday, laden with the good things of the earth, and sedulously seeking for the poor folks to relieve their bodily needs, and comfort them with kind words”. Mr. Sala gave us a wonderful image of American generosity that is worth remembering.
So during this upcoming holiday season I hope you will find a way, that is meaningful to you, to express your giving spirit – either in your family, your community or in a community around the world. In the words of Susan’s song: there’s enough to go around.
I’ve received many compliments on my recently redesigned website…and a surprising number of inquiries about the cute little blue piggy bank that announces the section on philanthropy. Specifically, people have wanted to know where they could get one. Go figure.
I suppose if the state of Montana could us a pink piggy bank to inspire creative thinking through their Montana Accountability Project (read the NYTimes article here)…why shouldn’t I do my part to promote a savings mindset! In the spirit of promoting prosperity and philanthropy…here’s where you can find your very own piggy bank! Happy savings…and happy giving.