Note: everything I discuss below is from me as a private individual, not representing anything connected to EPA, the federal government, or anyone else.)
Have you heard of microfinancing? The basic idea is that by making very small loans to entrepreneurs (like $25) in developing areas, you help them help themselves and contribute to the local economy.
Thanks to Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist,com, I learned about kiva.org back in 2009, a site that lets you choose who to lend money to. They also have a lot of information about the risks involved, and they give you quite a bit of reporting about the “field partners” who actually find the borrowers and handle the transaction.
Kiva lets you set up teams, so I did that for GovLoopers. We have 30 members, who have made 375 loans totaling $20,925 since starting two years ago!
We’d love to have you join us. Just join kiva,org, then join the team, then lend some money, remembering to say the loan should be added to the GovLoop team. It’s still your loan, your risk, and you getting repaid, but we can see what impact all GovLoop members have together.
I’ve made 4 loans and every one has been repaid in full.
To help us share lending ideas and stories, I also set up a group here on GovLoop (join us, but the most important thing is to join the Kiva team so we can show our collective impact there): https://www.govloop.com/group/kivamicrolendingteam .