"Give a man a fish; feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish; feed him for a lifetime" --Lao Tzu.
Lao Tzu, was a Taoist, and while I'm not religious, occasionally the ancient religious philosophers came up with something that made sense. As this saying of Lao Tzu does.
Kiva.org has turned this concept into a reality. Their novel approach to charitable donations has proven successful not only in helping many poverty-stricken families and individuals around the world but it allows them to maintain their dignity and pull themselves out of their poverty for the long term.
Instead of donors handing out dollars never to be seen again and not knowing what has happened to those dollars, donors are able to loan dollars to people requiring assistance in various projects or personally. Projects include starting small businesses, expanding existing businesses, or purchasing/renovating their homes, etc. (you select the person or project that you will donate to) in $25.00 chunks.
The person receiving the funds pays the money back, after which the donor can either donate those dollars to Kiva, donate them to another person requiring a loan, or keep their funds.
Kiva also has a feature which allows donors to contribute as a member of a Team irrespective of who they donate to. That is, the donor chooses their project or person and simply adds that project to the Team.
One of the largest Teams currently running on Kiva and with the highest number of donations is:
Kiva Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious
Their goal is to donate $1 million dollars by the end of the year.
Second in the running is Kiva Christians :-)
This is a great project started by "Atheist-Monkey" and I hope many more atheists, et al will join this Team and contribute their hearts out to help meet the goal.
Kiva also happens to have been my older brothers favorite charity.
He passed away last year and I will be making my contributions in his name and of course with the Kiva Atheists Team :-)
Hope you will too!