July 16, 2008 09:00 ET

Even in Tough Economic Times, Enables Individuals to Make a Difference This Holiday Season

$25 Kiva Gift Certificates Are Affordable, Impactful and Reusable

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - July 16, 2008) - Gift givers can still afford a "gift that keeps on giving" this holiday season, without blowing the budget when times are tight.

While rising gas prices and a credit crisis will force many people to spend carefully this holiday season, Kiva Gift Certificates prove that you can still achieve the "double bottom line" in your gift inventory this year -- giving a unique and fun gift that helps those in need, and providing the recipient with the opportunity to "recycle" his/her loan.

Kiva Gift Certificates enable your gift recipient to make a loan to a developing world entrepreneur, to work their way out of poverty. When the loan is repaid, the funds can be recycled and loaned to another entrepreneur, or withdrawn from the system to be spent any way they like.

What makes this gift unique? is the only microfinance organization in the Americas that allows participants to choose the individual person to whom they would like to make a loan. Each loan request includes a photo of the entrepreneur, a description of their business and the loan terms.

This personal lending model affects participants in ways which reach farther than a simple loan transaction. In a recent survey of more than 3,300 Kiva lenders:

--  69.6% of respondents are more enthusiastic about philanthropy
--  42.2% of respondents feel, for the first time, that they are making a
    real difference in the world
--  37.7% of respondents indicate that being a Kiva lender has changed the
    way they think about people outside of their home country
--  18.6% of respondents indicate that being a Kiva lender has changed the
    way they perceive the poor in their community

Lending to the poor is affordable even now made a conscious decision to keep the minimum loan contribution low, so that almost anyone can be a banker to the poor.

Recent data confirms that the $25 minimum is affordable, even during tough economic times. Despite recent economic downturns, has experienced continued growth, contrary to the experience of many non-profit organizations:

--  In the second half of 2007, $1 million  was loaned through
    every 19 days.   Currently, despite the economic downturn, $1 million  is
    loaned through every 10.3 days.
--  Over the past year has grown, on average, 8% each month in
    loan volume.
--  In the past year's monthly loan volume has increased by 92%.

How it works

More information can be found on Kiva's Online Press Center:

--  Gift certificates are easily purchased on in multiples of
--  Gift recipients redeem their gift online and then choose an
    entrepreneur they would like to lend the gift to.
--  Throughout the course of the loan (typically 12 months) lenders
    receive email updates on repayments made and the progress of the business.
--  When the loan is repaid, the funds are returned to the gift recipient,
    who can lend to another entrepreneur, or withdraw their funds from the

About ( is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to an entrepreneur in the developing world. Founded in 2005,'s mission is to connect people, through lending, to alleviate poverty. currently connects lenders in more than 100 countries with entrepreneurs in 43 developing countries, through 90 microfinance partners. is headquartered in San Francisco.

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