Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Giving for the Web-Bound

We've let you know about Free Rice as an easy and entertaining way to fight world hunger. But sometimes 5 minutes of Free Rice has a way of turning into 10, 20, or many more minutes. Or sometimes you feel you know all the vocabulary there is, and other times your brain just can't think of what an amyloid means. Then there's the whole ethical quandary about the colleague who plays Free Rice with a dictionary at his side...

Fortunately, for those of us who like to give back to the world, there are a couple of other options to do so online. We do a lot of searching here at the Library, and GoodSearch is a great way to contribute to favorite charities while finding answers to all your questions. Fifty percent of GoodSearch's revenue goes to charity, and you can select the charity of your choice as well. If your charity is not on their list, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern New Mexico, you can Add a New Charity on their website.

There are also many sites that have Click to Give buttons, such as The Breast Cancer Site. For example, just by a simple mouse click at this site each day, you are contributing to free mammograms. Just type "Click to Give" in GoodSearch, and you'll find other programs for animal rights, saving the rain forest, and promoting literacy.

If Free Rice and GoodSearch are a little passive for you, you might want to check out Kiva. Despite it's familiar name, it's not a sacred ritual center in the Pueblos, an auditorium, gallery, or real estate office, but a microlending program for small entrepreneurs in developing countries. You can read through the entrepreneurs' profiles, limit by region, economic sector, or gender, and lend small sums of money to assist them with their business. The minimum investment is $25, and 100% of your investment goes to the entrepreneur. Kiva also gives you the opportunity to contribute a small amount to their operating expenses.

Banker to the Poor book coverFor my first loan, I selected the Corazones de Oro association, a group of women who prepare and sell food in El Alto, Bolivia. In 6-12 months, my loan will be paid back to me, credited directly back to my bank account, so I can select a new entrepreneur to invest in. However, I'm sure I'll invest in other entrepreneurs in the meantime. It's amazing how a fraction of a restaurant tab in Santa Fe, or less than a tank of gas, can make such a difference in someone else's life. This may get as addictive as Free Rice!

No comments: