In the past month, I’ve been traveling — it is summer, after all — and reading a great deal, both on paper and online. I’ve stumbled across some dedicated environmental groups and thought I’d share my findings. If you’re looking for inspiration to start your own neighborhood project or just want to throw a few dollars at someone with a great idea, visit a link or two below.
Maybe you’ve heard of Kiva.org already. The idea is that Kiva allows members to directly loan money to entrepreneurs in developing countries through a local bank. Anyone can browse the applications, complete with a photo, and decide whether to send money to nearly any country for nearly every type of business imaginable. I’ve been a lender on Kiva for almost two years now and can honestly attest to its functionality with six fully repaid loans, plus more lending underway. Loans are a minimum of $25 and lenders receive statements regularly. When the money is repaid, you can lend it to someone else or have it returned to you. I don’t have much money to spare, but I’m empowering someone — with $25! — jumpstart a career that will build them a life. It’s an incredibly ambitious yet functional nonprofit that fills an important niche.
Project H Designs funds a variety of international design projects that dynamically impact recipients’ lives. For example, their Hippo Roller system efficiently transports 22 gallons of water in a rotating barrel, making the lives of 75 families in Kgautswane, South Africa, a bit easier.
The California-based GRID Alternatives provides hands-on training in harnessing solar electricity and shares energy-efficient solutions to low-income neighborhoods, saving energy costs for developing communities, one family at a time.