I’ll admit it — I’m hooked on the benefits of microfinance and making a long term difference in advancing the microfinance movement is the reason I started myKRO and the reason I regularly lend on Kiva. After visiting the Dominican Republic last winter and seeing faces such as the ones below, I can’t help myself.

But any regular reader of this blog already knows I’m passionate about microfinance. So what’s the goal of this blog post? To reiterate the fact that you can indeed make a lasting difference by joining the microfinance movement — and doing so really does change lives for the better. From volunteering in your community to traveling to Africa to to mentoring a local child to lending on Kiva, I know everyone has their own preferences way of giving back. But if you haven’t quite found the right philanthropic opportunity and are looking to make a real difference in the lives of those who are focused on bringing themselves out of poverty, I have the perfect microfinance opportunity for you. The following e-mail came from my friend living down in the Dominican Republic (she works for Esperanza, a microfinance institution) about a week ago:

A generous and amazing friend of mine has offered to put up an initial $5,000 to fund a Bank of Hope in honor of the friendship I have with all of you— the ability to support each other through friendship has the same importance in our lives, as it does with the people I work to help down here. There is a challenge though, and a great opportunity for us; this person has put this $5,000 up as a matching gift!

That means it is up to me, and to the rest of you I am so invasively bombarding right now, to find it within ourselves to come up with the rest. I will personally be donating —I can’t ask anyone else to invest in something unless I myself do, right?

I can not speak to the immense joy I am filled with everyday (truthfully), from what I help to make happen down here. With the most intense of passions I swear to each of you that donating to this cause is worth it.

For the number crunchers out there, your gift goes towards the perpetual funding of micro loans in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. So long as Esperanza exists, your money continues to recycle itself, earn interest, and fuel the growth of more loans, more small businesses, and more change. Can you find better giving power than that???

For the softies out there: to enable a woman whose husband has left her with seven children and a tin shack take her future into her own hands is something you can do right now, to shake the hand of a HIV-positive man and listen to him proudly tell you about how a loan of just $150 helped him buy his own home, pay to send his children to school, and be able to afford anti-retroviral treatment will shake you at the core, to hug a child who was once malnourished and neglected transformed into an outgoing, healthy and thriving kid can and would change your life forever.

So, from my friend and I, we are rolling out a challenge to raise $5,000 by October 15th. In six weeks, between all of the friends I have, and the friends you all have whom are interested in micro finance, I know we can raise $5,000. With a matching donation, that will total $10,000.

All donations should be addressed to the “Carpe Diem” Bank of Hope— today is the only thing that matters, lets make it count for us, and for all of the people who are in need of our help, support, and friendship.

A note from the unnamed friend:

I am sure that many of you support many worthwhile and noble philanthropic endeavors, and I know that it is not easy to decide which ones are worth your support. I think that taking your time to think about the causes you choose support is important. In this instance, we have a unique opportunity. We are able to help some people who are truly getting a hand up and not a hand out. We are able to give a wonderful gift to a friend who has one again done something truly selfless. I am sure that many of you can think of a time when Kayla made you feel welcomed or special or even gave you a smile when her chips may have been down, but she never let on and still made you happier. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a person more ready to put others ahead of her own interests. Now we have an opportunity to be able to pay that back.

I would love to be able to take credit for writing a check for $5,000, however, I just forwarded her most recent email and asked a couple family members and co-workers if they’d like to chip in. We raised the money in an about one hour. If everyone on this email could do the same and tell one family member, friend and co-worker, I know we’ll all be able to meet our goal and do a wonderful thing for Kayla and the people she’s helping in the Dominican Republic. Good luck to all of you, and thank you for supporting a friend.

If you want to help raise the $5,000, you can help by either donating via postal mail or online.

Postal mail:

Esperanza International Foundation
1611 116th Ave. NE, Suite 101
Bellevue, WA 98004-3048

Online:

http://esperanza.org/us/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=42&Itemid=44

If you have questions or want to discuss further, please either leave a comment or e-mail me. And of course we won’t turn you down if you want to go above and beyond by helping to raise more than $5,000 🙂


  • Jo

    Another great way of getting involved is by volunteering in Africa, check out http://www.africanimpact.com/volunteers/ for some ideas!

  • very well said. i was dreaming of going back to Africa, but looking at the state of my hometown is enough to make one cry: poverty, street children, women and young girls who turn to the Internet for money…and a lot more.

    i hope that in every small way, i am doing my part to help alleviate poverty and those in need.

    more power to your worthwhile endeavours!