While the Christmas holidays seem to generate the biggest "push" for donating your time/money/stuff, over the past few weeks I've noticed a resurgence of "here is how you can change the world" articles and tv spots and emails. Spring is a time of rebirth and fresh starts and the feeling of renewal - so here are two ways (and I know there are a BAJILLION more) to make a change in the world this spring!
Earth Day - this year the Earth Day Network hopes to gather 1 billion pledges as part of its Billion Acts of Green initiative. Best of all - they aren't asking for money, they are asking for you to make one small change in your life (even if it is only for one day) to support the cause. This would be a great project to take on as a family - ask your kids to come up with some ideas!
kiva.org - My father was a banker who for many years worked to provide loans to cooperatives in developing countries, so this program has always been near and dear to my heart. Kiva is a non-profit agency that uses microloans to create opportunity for those who do not have access (or the means) to use traditional banking institutions. There are so many things that separate Kiva from other "charities" - the first being that your money is not donated, it is loaned. Kiva has an over 98% repayment rate, and the lender (you) can loan your repaid dollars to someone else or withdraw it. The second is that you choose exactly who and where you want the money to go. Want to empower a single mother? Do you come from a farming family and want to reach out to a similar family on the opposite side of the world? Looking to support someone in the arts? All of these choices are available to you through their Choose a Borrower search engine. You can receive updates on your borrower, and I can tell you from experience it is a thrill to receive your loan back and know that you have been even a small part of empowering someone else to create a better life for themselves.
We can ALL make a change in the world. Let's start today!