SOURCE: Kiva.org

Kiva.org

October 23, 2012 11:00 ET

Kiva Celebrates Seven Years of Online Microlending and a Growing Global Movement

Lenders Around the World Celebrate With Events in Twelve Cities and Kiva's First "Loan-A-Thon"

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - Oct 23, 2012) -  In October 2005, Kiva launched an online experiment to crowd fund microloans for the world's working poor. In their first year, Kiva lenders raised almost $500,000. Just seven years later, Kiva raises $1.5 million per week and attracts 17,500 new lenders per month, proof of a sustainable model and a compelling mission. Their vision was to raise awareness and make it possible for anyone with an Internet connection and $25 to take action against global poverty. This incredibly low bar for participation has helped Kiva become a pioneer in the crowd funding space and brought microlending into the mainstream.

Today, Kiva has become the world's largest microlending platform with a global community of 840,000 lenders in 221 countries. The collective actions of Kiva's lending community have crowd funded over $365 million to support the dreams and efforts of 892,000 individuals in 66 countries.

"When we are surrounded by problems bigger than any one of us, it can be easy to forget the power each of us have," said Matt Flannery, co-founder and CEO of Kiva. "Every day, Kiva lenders prove that people are by nature generous and, if given the means to do so, will lend their support and engage as global citizens. Together they are making a big difference in the world and in the lives and communities of every single person they have supported."

To celebrate Kiva's growing microlending movement, Kiva lending teams are holding events in twelve cities from Seattle to Sydney. Twenty-three teams are participating in Kiva's first loan-a-thon with a goal of making $425,000 in loans from October 20 through 26. Since Kiva's founding, more than 24,000 lending teams have sprung up all over the world. The teams come together around common interests, geographies, types of loans... you name it and someone may have already formed a Kiva lending team around it. You can join these efforts and help reach the October birthday goal by visiting www.kiva.org/loanathon and you can host your own event by visiting http://www.kiva.org/events.

"What I love about Kiva is that I can choose who I want to support and I get to actually see the difference my loan has made in someone's life," said Miku Sakamoto, one of 640 members of the Austin, TX lending team. "I can honestly say my first $25 Kiva loan was the best and most rewarding decision I've ever made."

"My first loan went to a man who needed a cow to help pay for his daughters' education, I can't think of anything better," said Margaret Sherwin, who became a Kiva lender after her sister gave her a Kiva Card as a gift three years ago and who has since lent to 57 people in 17 countries. "When I look at the faces of those I have helped, in countries whose names are hard for me to pronounce, I see new 'neighbors.' I can't thank Kiva enough for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the health and growth of the world, one person at a time."

Kiva's mission is to support the working poor as they create opportunity for themselves and their families. Kiva continues to leverage the power of new technologies and collective good to push the boundaries of opportunity. Kiva is bringing clean energy to some of the world's most remote villages, providing student loans in regions where education is out of reach, and supporting small farmers and fair trade cooperatives.

Kiva's lenders are supporting students like Mamello in South Africa, farmers like Abu Bakaar in Sierra Leone, and hundreds-of-thousands of people like them.

Visitors to www.kiva.org can browse through individual profiles and stories to choose people they want to support with a loan of $25 or more. Loans funded through Kiva have a 98% repayment rate, so the money you lend is truly a loan, not a donation. When the loan is paid back, you can relend the money over and over again setting in motion a ripple effect of change.

Join the movement by going to www.kiva.org today to learn more.

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