Heifer.org and Kiva.org rock

I am delighted with these two charities, because they give people a hand up, not a handout.

My grandparents were sharecroppers on my father’s side and homesteaders on my mother’s side. Kiva and Heifer allow other people to make something better for their families without sacrificing dignity; my grandparents would approve.

Kiva is a clearing-house for investors who want to micro-lend to entrepreneurs, usually in developing countries. Last spring I invested $100, and more than half of it has already been paid back (and reinvested). There haven’t been any defaults, either. Investments are in $25 increments, so you don’t need to jump in with both feet.

Heifer.org gives people livestock with the provision that at least one of the offspring of the original critter gets passed on to someone else. They also teach local communities how to care for their animals to maximize the food and income produced.

Spooky Man and I bought a Heifer.org llama for my brothers’ Christmas presents (because the last thing they need is more stuff, LOL). You don’t have to donate a whole animal, though; they have shares for as little as $10.

If you find yourself with some extra cash this year — after saving for a rainy day, retirement, and the kids’ college funds — I can recommend both of these organizations as a good place to put it.

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