Thursday, November 25, 2010
This Holiday Season, lend $25 to a Student to help them achieve their Higher Ed Dreams.
This video pretty much makes me cry.
Lend a minimum of $25 here on Vittana. 100% of the money you lend through the Vittana website goes to the student, via two intermediaries - Vittana and a partner microfinance institution located in the student's own community. When the student repays the loan, the $25 comes back to you. For further details go here.
I blogged about one of Vittana's co-founders a while ago, here. Tonight I discovered that Vittana's Partnerships Manager, Nick Cane, is a former Kiva Fellow!
Kiva launched its own student loan program on Sept 20. Through the Student Microloans program, Kiva lenders can make a $25 loan to students in Bolivia, Paraguay and Ecuador.
The new program got off to a good start! Just saw this: "Today, Kiva.org posted profiles for 36 students, seeking a total of $19,250.00. We are currently on track to fund all of those loans in full, within 12 hours of being posted on the site," said Kiva president Premal Shah, in an email. "While this pilot is only a small step toward broadening access to student loan funding around the world, we plan to keep a close eye on the program's success in an effort to expand the organization's reach to a number of different countries and a larger group of students in need of funding."
I recently volunteered for one of Kiva's partner organizations located here in San Francisco - Opportunity Fund. Opportunity Fund serves as an intermediary between Kiva (and Kiva's lenders), and the clients. I called Opportunity Fund clients who had graduated from the savings program. Most of these clients had engaged in the savings program to finance higher education opportunities. Calling the clients to congratulate them on achieving their savings goals was a lot of fun!
In addition to Kiva, Opportunity Fund also works with another institution also offering higher education loans to students - Lumni. From the Lumni website: Individuals can invest in local students in a variety of ways including through a tax-deductible donation or by purchasing a low-interest note with a fixed return. In addition to the dual financial and social return of this investment, contributors are helping prove an efficient, sustainable new system for giving students access to college without the burden of a traditional student loan.
Lumni does not allow individuals to make small ($25) loans to students, but since I love what they are doing, I thought I'd mention them:) Also love that two members of the team are linked to Ashoka.
Here's how they work, and the story behind Lumni:
Lumni's business model reminded me of a thought-provoking discussion that took place at a March 3 event that I attended here in San Francisco, about Life Investments. Just something to think about! :)