LitLiberation is a fundraising contest my friend Tim Ferriss has been running in the month of October to help fund literacy projects thru two terrific organizations: DonorsChoose & Room To Read. Tim has already contributed over ten thousand dollars personally to this cause, and over a hundred thousand dollars has been raised / contribute by bloggers & other folks like you.
Today is the last day to make a contribution -- please click on my fundraising page belowto support one of several literacy projects on DonorsChoose. Both Tim & I thank you, and kids around the country & around the world do too :)
Learn more about the Invisible Children, the Global Night Commute, and a little-known war in Northern Uganda that is causing massive child abduction, forcing kids to become child soldiers & sex slaves.
Make a contribution to microfinance lending, and make a BIG difference. Tiny.
Micro.Really, really small... you know, the kind of entrepreneur
that makes even Randy Newman or David Hornik feel tall. Who am I talking
Microfinance entrepreneurs of course. The working poor all
over the world who live on $1-2 a day. Pound for pound, rupee for rupee, they're
the world's tiniest yet most powerful entrepreneurs. But they're not in
Silicon Valley; the hotbeds of microfinance are in India, Latin and South
America, and Africa.
These folks need your support -- to be more specific: they need your money.
Unitus, a nonprofit based in Seattle and India. Unitus is
doing some incredibly innovative work applying venture capital concepts in the
field of microfinance. Please take a few minutes to learn why i'm so passionate
and motivated about Unitus. Their approach WORKS, and the results show it.
Please give to Unitus NOW. Your money will be used to make microloans to poor,
hardworking entrepreneurs around the world. Even if you can only give a
small amount, please do it now... I guarantee it will make you feel
10 feet tall.
READ about Unitus: The Microfinance VC
Here's how Unitus applies a venture capital approach to microfinance. Like a VC choosing
a startup investment, Unitus reviews hundreds of microfinance institutions
(MFIs) around the world, and selects only those with the greatest
potential. Next they invest ~$1-3M in these MFIs via grants, equity, and debt to
help them grow. MFIs in turn lend money to thousands of working poor to invest
in family businesses. In a few years, MFIs can reach self-sustaining levels of
operation and capital, after which no outside funding is needed.
As of December 2005, Unitus works with 7 MFI partners and serves over 500,000 microentrepreneurs and their families in 3 countries around the world. By the end of 2009, Unitus intends to grow their reach to over 3 million working poor. Help reach this goal by contributing to Unitus.
WATCH and LISTEN to the Unitus Story
Watch this video clip about Unitus to learn how microfinance is steadily
eliminating global poverty. Hear about SKS, a Unitus MFI partner in India
that in 3 years has grown from lending to 10,000 people to now more than 150,000
people. Hear personal testimonials from folks such as Muhammad
Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, Stewart Alsop of NEA, a leading Silicon
Valley VC, and Unitus Chair & co-founder Mike Murray, a former exec at
Microsoft and Apple.
TINY Entrepreneurs? Not Really... Just BIG Hearts.
although the innovative approach and numbers above tell an amazing tale, the
real story is told by the people touched by Unitus and Unitus MFI partners.
People like Govindammal pictured here at left; with just two small loans
of $67 and $89 her life changed dramatically... and permanently. Access to
microfinance allowed her to expand her bamboo-weaving business, transform her
life, and give her two children a brighter future. And there are many, many more
wonderful Unitus success stories like Govindammal's to appreciate.
But millions more like her still don’t have access to microfinance lending.
Unitus is changing that story, but we need your help to get there. Give to Unitus now, and make a difference that will last a
(ps - please do your best to give BIG, not tiny ;)
We held our first Silicon Valley Microfinance Network meeting on Monday night @ the Omidyar Network. Our guest speaker was Mike Murray, Unitus Chairman. Also thanks to Tracey Pettengill, Premal Shah, Elizabeth Funk, and Maya Chorengel who helped organize, as well as to the Omidyar Network for hosting the event.
@ the Web 2.0 conference Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, explains his philosophy behind Omidyar.net, a for-profit "foundation" that operates like a venture capital firm investing in for-profit (and sometimes not-always-for-profit) ventures to help make the world a better place.... like the work in microfinance that Unitus is doing.
Pierre also talks about how the 'Invisible Hand of Adam Smith' can be a force for good, and suggest that the existence of a profit-making commercial venture is -- by definition -- a metric for good.