My first introduction to Microfinance blew my mind. Reading about women changing their economic status with loans of eight dollars seemed incomprehensible. The idea that low-income individuals are capable of lifting themselves out of poverty if given access to financial services, is gaining momentum in the world.
There are many Microfinance sites out there, but I like Kiva the best. www.kiva.org With a clear and navigable site, lending money is easy and deeply satisfying. By loaning as little as twenty dollars you can really change and impact the future of an impoverished person or family. Do you want to lend money to a woman or man? What country? What sector? You can tweak your loan choices and find exactly the one that feels close to your heart. Once you donate, you will get progress updates and as the borrower repays your loan you get money put back in your account. Imagine with the same amount of cash it takes to buy a few frothy cappuccinos from Starbucks, you can do good for the world. You might not have deep pockets like Angelina Jolie, but start with a Benjamin and watch your garden of goodness grow.