Repost from Twitter! For your consideration, two worthy charities that I support and you may not have heard of .

In “Democracy in America”, Alexis deTocqueville called out what he felt was a trait more robust in the US than anywhere else; the passion to help your fellow man, separate from govt assistance.

The desire to build community and aid those in need is strong, and I believe in helping people help themselves. On here are two charities I support. I humbly ask you to consider them.

helps people build & grow small businesses and offers support, technical assistance and access to capital sources to fund these enterprises. I’ve met some of these ppl & they are terrific!

allows you to donate small amts towards loans to help people improve their condition, & like Technoserve, they operate worldwide and you can also pick who to help! Loan is repaid, and you can use the money again. =)

To expound a little here… a used to work full time at a big tech company, and part of the benefits package for full-time employees was credit towards their (hugely) discounted software. They had a giving campaign every year, and that’s where I first heard about Technoserve and I over several years I became a regular donor of software and money to them, got to meet some of the top influencers in the organisation, and hear stories of their successes.

In one case, they helped a bunch of small coffee growers create a co-op which gave them more power, and introduced them to distributors that were interested in being partners. So they took some small businesses, helped them organize, helped train them with accounting and other business practices, then acted as a go-between to find a distributor for their wares, it significantly increased their revenue, and they expanded. The scattered farms became a larger concern, people were hired, and some of the businesses owners gave back to their own local towns by helping to finance clinics, new wells and the like.

Sometimes it’s a matter of going in and adapting to make a product more valuable or viable in a market. In another instance, they helped secure loans from the micro-loan organisation Grameen Bank to purchase equipment to make surplus milk into hard cheeses, which don’t spoil as quickly and as a finished product, is more valuable. Again they helped organize a group of producers, sent in experts to offer assistance on more sustainable husbandry practices, co-ordinated the loans, and shepherded them through the process until they became a sustaining concern. I love that people can take control of their lives this way, learn, and produce for themselves and become independent. I think it is the best and most natural state for people to be self-reliant, and it offers hope, opportunity and the chance to develop new skills and a sense of accomplishment.

Kiva is cool because you can go to their site, read stories about people and what they are trying to do and choose who specifically to help. With my Ukrainian heritage, I tend to look for opportunities in the former Soviet Republics when I can (like Georgia), and help someone with a loan to expand their farm, buy new equipment or the like. It puts a name and a face to your giving and it gives me a sense of reflected pride as they pay back their loans and I can use the money again to help someone else.

If you have a favourite charity, I would love to hear about them in the comments! =)