May 18, 2007

Microfinance: A Worthy Cause

I've been down on my favorite charity, the USO, since the middle of last year, when my online donation was processed twice and my credit card was double charged. I only pressed the submit button once, so I don't know what happened. I emailed the USO and didn't hear anything back. Since the money went to a cause that I believe in, I didn't pursue the matter further. But I haven't donated to them since, either.

Instead, we're transferring our charity donations to World Hope International's Microenterprise program. Through articles like this one, Marc and I have become big believers in microfinance, which is the practice of extending small amounts of credit to poor people. (I first learned about microfinance when the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Muhammad Yunus, who founded the microcredit Grameen Bank.) Microfinance can eliminate poverty by extending credit to those who can't obtain credit elsewhere. For more on the subject, check out World Hope's FAQ.

Why World Hope instead of Grameen Bank? World Hope has a four-star rating at Charity Navigator, compared to three stars for the Grameen Foundation. And I liked World Hope's comparatively low rate of administrative and fundraising costs, meaning more of its money goes toward the programs themselves.

If you'd like to donate to World Hope, click here.

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