We did it!

Thanks to your signups, your retweets, your Facebooking, and your general awesomeness, the “Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious” Kiva group has hit 25,000 members! This means that our group will get $10,000 in loan matching from a big-money donor to Kiva, allowing us to do twice the amount of loaning to a partner of our choice. The team captains will make the decision about where the loans will go, but I’ll keep you updated.

That’s not all, though. Since I put out the call a week ago, more than 200 people signed up through my referral link. Because each sign-up gets a $25 gift loan for themselves and another $25 gift loan for me, we have raised $10,000 of our own in gift loans! Because they expire relatively quickly if unused, I have been loaning them almost as quickly as they’ve come in, meaning that in the past week we’ve been able to help fund projects in housing, education, transport, and a wide variety of personal and professional projects in places where they can do a lot of good.

Thanks to everyone who signed up and helped promote this campaign. We needed about 270 people when this first came to my attention, and for 200 (probably more, since a few people who were already Kiva donors joined the team) of that total to come from here is a major achievement. Those of you who are members already can help by giving your input on how the money should be loaned on the message boards, or (if you are able to) by donating once a partner is chosen.

Congratulations everyone!

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Kiva update: only a few days remain!

Hey all,

You’ve definitely noticed me flogging the latest push to get people signed up to the “Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious” Kiva lending group. This group is the all-time #1 lender on Kiva, and is just shy of 25,000 members. I received an e-mail from Kiva.org saying that if we get to that 25,000 milestone by Sunday, March 31st, we will be given $10,000 in loan matching. $10,000 is a lot of money, especially given that many of these microloans are only for a few hundred dollars.

The response from you has been overwhelming. Since Friday, more than 90 of you have signed up through the link I provided, meaning that the Crommunist Manifesto Kiva account has been given $2350 in gift loans, matched by large-money donors. We’ve been able to fund 23 projects at the $100 level. Additionally, everyone who joins Kiva for the first time gets a $25 gift loan of their own, meaning that our actual contribution has been something like $5000.

We’re not done yet, though. As of writing, we are still 170 members short of that 25,000 milestone. I’m going to need your help to push us over the edge here. Here’s how you can pitch in:

  1. If you haven’t already, follow this link and sign up. It is free to join, and your first $25 loan is free, so even if you’re tapped out at the moment you will be able to participate.
  2. If you have Facebook, share this post on your wall, and ask your friends to share it.
  3. If you’re on Twitter, throw out a link to this post and ask people to re-tweet.
  4. If you have a blog, put up a post about the campaign (hell, you can even copy this one verbatim).
  5. If you’re not on social media, consider sending an e-mail to a couple of friends and ask them to join up.

It only takes a couple of seconds, it’s free, and you can make a big difference to the lives of the borrowers. Also, it will be a profound statement in support of the fact that you don’t need to believe in a god to do good things.

Please join in the campaign. It would be a real shame if we fell short of something this helpful and easily achievable.

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Never a better time to join up with Kiva

Hey all,

Many of you will remember that, thanks to the traffic you’ve brought to this site, we’ve been able to fund a number of microloans through Kiva.org. Today I got an e-mail from Kiva, with an exciting announcement:

A lending team you’re a member of, “Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious” is super close to hitting a big milestone: 25,000 members. You’re less than 500 people away from hitting that goal, and we’d love to help you get there.

Kiva has $10,000 for matching loans of your team’s choice–but only if you can reach the goal of 25,000 team members by midnight on March 31st, 2013

The atheist group is the #1 largest loaner on the site, and is about to push over 25,000 members. $10,000 in loans is a LOT of opportunity to help people in the same way we’ve been able to through this site. If you’ve ever thought of participating in this program, there really is no better time than now to join up.

As a bonus, if you sign up through this link, I will receive a $25 gift loan, meaning that even more loans can be given. It’s a great opportunity, and costs you nothing more than you’re willing to loan. Please consider signing up and helping to move this project along.

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Kiva Project Update: January 2013

Hey all,

Beginning of the month means Kiva time. Given the total lack of commentary in December about my proposal to change the way these loans operate, I’ve gone ahead and allowed the $546.23 that this blog has loaned in the past year (that’s $716.23 in total revenue minus $170 donated to charity instead of loaned) to continue to circulate among existing loans. I plan on using the income from the blog to defray some travel cost, to allow me to attend some conferences if possible.

That doesn’t mean our project is ending, however. We still get periodic repayments as the loans are repaid to Kiva’s financial partners. This month we received about $50 in repayments, plus an additional $25 bonus that I got for buying Kiva loan cards as gifts. As a result, we were able to make the following loans: [Read more...]

Kiva project update: November 2012

Hey all,

So we got paid this week. In light of the fact that there’s an urgent need for donations in the American Eastern Seaboard and the Caribbean (particularly Haiti), I was thinking of foregoing our usual Kiva donation this round and splitting the funds between those two Red Cross projects. Keep in mind that Kiva is a microloan project, so that money is still circulating around various projects and we can re-loan once things start getting repaid. Essentially we would just be skipping a month.

If I don’t hear any stringent objections in the next 24 hours, I’ll just go ahead. [Read more...]

Kiva project update: August/September 2012

Hey cromrades,

I was unforgivably (but somewhat characteristically) lazy this past period with handling the Kiva project. As a result, the donation to the Sioux expired before I got my act together to donate. Mea culpa. What I have done instead is donated $50 of your money to the Canadian Red Cross’ Aboriginal Outreach program, and matched that donation with $50 of my own. Additionally, we had a windfall of Kiva repayments in the past couple of months, so I was able to direct a number of new loans. There were two pay periods since our last update, so there’s quite a bit of activity summarized below.

Here are the loans we made this month: [Read more...]

Kiva Project: Doing something different with our money

It’s the beginning of the month, which means I have a blog paycheque burning a hole in my online pocket. I thought, in light of this morning’s story, that it might be worthwhile to do something a little different this month:

Pe’ Sla is an area in the Black Hills of South Dakota (just west of Rapid City) that is considered by the Lakota people to be the Center and heart of everything that is. It is part of our creation story. It is a sacred place. We perform certain ceremonies at Pe’ Sla which sustain the Lakota way of life and keep the universe in harmony. This area is partly owned by the Reynolds family. They plan to auction off almost 2,000 acres on August 25, 2012 to the highest bidder. It is likely that the state of South Dakota will put a road directly through Pe’ Sla and open up this sacred place for development.

(snip)

We are hoping to buy as much of the sacred sites as possible. Currently for sale is 1,942.66 acres which is in 5 tracts (300 – 440 acres each).  It is diffcult to say how much this land would be sold for as developers may increase the true western “value”.

As much as the idea of ‘sacred land’ irks me, I think the goal of reclaiming ancestrally-held lands is a good one. The more economic power these communities have, the harder it is to ignore their needs and ‘otherize’ them. This campaign is closing in 5 days, so I thought it might be cool to kick this month’s pay to this cause. I will wait to see if there are any major complaints or concerns. Unlike Kiva, this is a donation and not a loan, meaning that when this money is gone, it’s gone for good.

We also got a bunch of repayments in our Kiva account, so go check out any campaigns there that you might like and I’ll pick a couple of those as well.

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Kiva Project Update: July 2012

It’s that time of the month again, Cromrades – where we sink our hard-earned money into Kiva loans! Here are this month’s recipients:

Mary – Kenya

Mary is age 36 and married with one child who is age 12 years and in school. Mary has been in farming for 14 years running and currently produces milk, maize, beans, vegetables, and poultry birds. She runs a retail business in the local market dealing with grocery items. Mary has made a loan request of 31,200 Kenya shillings (KES) from Juhudi Kilimo to buy and insure a dairy cow. She believes this will improve her farming income, which she will then use to expand her retail business and purchase more land. Mary says the major challenges in farming include substandard input materials and high cost of feeds. She is happy with her Juhudi Kilimo partnership and believes she will be able to meet her family’s needs adequately.

Julius – Kenya

Julius is 48 years old and married to Emily. The couple is blessed with six children between the ages of five and 19 and they jointly provide for their family. For the past 14 years, Julius has been selling cereals and earns a monthly income of 5,000 KES. Julius is requesting a 25,000 KES loan through KADET LTD to pay university fees for his child. This is his second loan and he successfully repaid his previous loan. His dreams and hopes are that his children are educated well for a brighter future.

Canaana Group – DR Congo

This client, Kabugho, is the leader of the Canaane loan group. She is a young entrepreneur, bravely dealing with her situation, and is 30 years old. She is married and has three young children. Her husband is a broker for a transportation carrier. This featured client sells beignets and cakes that she makes using local technology. She began this business with her own funds, given to her by her husband. However, she just received her first loan with the microfinance institution Hekima. This group recently joined Hekima’s microfinance program. This client is full of hope for her business. This new loan should allow her to supply herself with one bag of flour, 10 kg of sugar, yeast, etc. She is grateful to Hekima for this first loan she is receiving without the need for a material guarantee, because thanks to this loan, she is going to improve her capital and provide for her family’s various needs.

This is our 7th round of loans, and brings us to a total of 21 loans since we started this project back in January. Traffic took a little drop in May (because of my vacation) and has been up for the past two months, so depending on how the numbers shake out, we may end up with a fair chunk more to loan going into the fall.

For the month of October, we made $46.38, and loaned $50.
For the month of November, we made $65.81, and loaned $50.
For the month of December, we made $44.76, and loaned $50.
For the month of January, we made $58.59.
For the month of February, we made $57.33 and loaned $125.
For the month of March, we made $78.68 and loaned $125.
For the month of April, we made $64.62, and loaned $57.50
For the month of May, we made $58.45, and loaned $75.00

Total amount loaned so far: $525.00
Total loan funds repaid: $93.78
Fund balance: $19.70

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Kiva project update: July 2012

Hey Cromrades,

I just sent out our 6th Kiva loan. Because of the speed of turnaround of many of the projects listed on the website, crowdsourcing the selection is very cumbersome. I’m sorry to preclude you from the discussion of which loans we select. I don’t see a way around this, but maybe you do. Maybe if I pre-schedule the day of the loan, y’all can submit your input in a flurry?

Anyway, here’s where our money went: [Read more...]