Hey, Kiva.org is the big microfinance group in the US, helping out a lot of people throughout the world.
They're the folks I connected to CHF International for to help small businesses in the West Bank, which is in addition to LendForPeace.org
Check out A Letter from Kiva About Pilot Partnerships in the U.S.
Kiva's mission is to "connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty." We of course recognize that poverty is relative, and the poverty experienced by some of the entrepreneurs in Uganda or El Salvador is not at all shared by some entrepreneurs in the United States. It is usually the case, however, that they lack access to financial services from the formal financial sector in their country. Whether, due to lack of collateral, illiteracy, ethnic or gender discrimination, or due to lack of credit history, or an economic downturn, our Field Partners target entrepreneurs that are denied access to credit elsewhere.
The Field Partners we are working with in the U.S. target low-income entrepreneurs who are often marginalized from the formal credit markets in the U.S. That said, the U.S. entrepreneurs posted to the site represent a spectrum in terms of income level and degree of marginalization. We realize that while some may appear to need the loan, others may not appear to need the loan as much. From the Internet, it is impossible to make perfect judgments. This introduces a degree of controversy as our users debate on the site who really needs the loan and who doesn't. These are debates we are following closely.
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