Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Raising money and inspiring hope

<n idea that was to revolutionize the world of microfinance was born. As Matt and Jessica Flannery joined hands in holy matrimony, they also became the gate keepers of a powerful new force in the fight to lift the people of this world out of abject despair and poverty. Kiva, the brainchild of Matt and Jessica, was born out of a desire to realize the power that each and every one of us held in their hands to make a difference, and to become agents for social change in the world.

The idea was to institutionalize an information exchange system that connected an entrepreneur in Africa or Mexico with the people who held the power to change their lives. The idea was to connect the people with the money and the people who needed it. The idea was to change the world, “one loan at a time”, one dollar at a time. It was made possible through the power of the internet to facilitate communication and interaction at a micro level previously found to be prohibitively expensive. Today when you wish to find out how your chosen entrepreneur is doing, you power up and two clicks later, you’re informed of how we are putting your money to use. There is no need to post a letter and wait a month and a half for a reply.

Word caught on, and soon Kiva was the star on the block, having distribute close to 6 million dollars in loans, all raised from ordinary people like you and me. From college students, from small towns, businesses, individuals, investment bankers, curators, the net had been cast far and wide.

Put that power together with the powerful phenomenon that microfinance has become today and you get the ability to take an idea to a whole new level, to the entire world, away from the traditional credit institutions and banks that controlled the money. 6 billion people working to fight poverty, working to help themselves. That’s the power of the foundation that Kiva is built upon. You know what, with your help, poverty doesn’t stand a chance.

he Carleton Microfinance Club started as a way of investing the profits that the International Festival generated into the social well-being of the world. Of course, we decided to take the club beyond that and aim a little higher.

We now hope to solicit donations from the entire campus community and put Carleton’s name on the world map as an agent of change.

The message that Kiva sends us is that today, we can affect a life half a world away through the generosity of our hearts and purse strings. The money that you loan to Kiva or to the club gets invested in entrepreneurs based on your choice or a rigorous selection process that evaluates for risk and return assessments. As and when the loan is repaid, the money cycles back into Kiva, and consequently the club, which then gets put up for reinvestment. As a result, those 5 dollars you’re possibly thinking of giving to the club have the potential of touching several lives. Its one less hoagie for you, but a whole new world of possibilities for some one else. Perhaps a sewing machine, perhaps a grinding machine. Perhaps a chance to learn a new skill, perhaps a chance to make a profit for once.

It is estimated that there is close to 15 billion dollars worth of loose change in American households, lying around in drawers and beneath mattresses, on couches and in tight jean pockets. So look around for those 50 bucks that’s just accumulating dust in your room, and put it to use. Make your money work for you; make it earn a social return for you. Give it to Kiva, or give it to the CMC. We’ll manage it for you, shuffle it around, reinvest it. If you have a preference, geographic or perhaps gender-specific or perhaps enterprise based (someone in the arts perhaps?) let us know when you make the donation. Or email us immediately afterwards and we’ll make sure your input is reflected in the allocation process. And if you want it back, let us know. We’ll be there to make sure it happens.

If you want to keep track of your money, visit our website. It is up and running now, and should be fully functional shortly. It will keep you updated of where your money is being spent and how much has been recovered till date.

Other than that, if you ever have any questions, email us. Or call us. Or Facebook us. Or hound us in front of our rooms. We’d love to answer any questions you might be having, and Sadaf and I are available 24 X 7. And we’d more than love to welcome you aboard to the club. We’re always in search of more talents. Whatever you can bring to the table is always welcome.

Today, I appeal to you to do your bit to change the world. To give a little back to the world that has given you so much. And its even easier than it sounds. We will be tabling in Sayles all of today, Friday, April the 24th, from 9 in the morning to 6 in the evening. We will also be selling crepes, thanks to the CSA. Stop by, talk to us and help us help the world. Put your stamp on this world. Do your bit for it. Or visit our website at We have a link to a schillers donation page up and running, so that any time you wish to bring a smile to a child’s face, feel free to hit it up and demonstrate your largesse. Together, we can make this happen. “Go now and change the world. For the world is your oyster. And you its pearl”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *