I've been doing the 29-Day Giving Challenge all summer. Like any new attitude or behavior, most of the practice is learning how to come back when you fall off. Though I haven't written on our 29-Day Giving HumanKind blog much lately, I have been an active participant in Cami Walker's simple idea to give something away every day for 29 days. For many who began with Cami, the idea of quitting after 29 Days seems kind of ludicrous. If you read the stories on the site (you know how I like stories about possibilities) you can find reflections on the multi-layered experience of conscious giving every day, in addition to millions of fabulous ideas for gifts--ranging from patience to good causes, from flowers to time.
As part of my giving practice, every month I pick one non-profit to give a small donation to. Since my encounter with Ann Cotton and Mathis Wackernagel I am partial towards organizations that support women in developing countries. Way back in our early days, while we were writing about poverty, Liz did this great interview with Tracey Pettengill Turner, founder of MicroPlace.
Microfinance, once the realm of large institutions and philanthropists, is increasingly available to investors like me (read this WSJ article) through organizations like MicroPlace. I love the idea of sending my little extra to someone somewhere who could use that little extra to bring herself and her children out of poverty.
I've seen estimates ranging from $90 to $120 for the amount of loose change the average middle class family has lying around the house. Recently, MicroPlace has been putting that "little extra" into the context of their new campaign: Small Change = Big Change.
For my big project this weekend, I'm emptying my piggy (and encouraging the kids to share a fraction of theirs also) and the coin crannies around the house, rolling up $100, selecting a MicroPlace investment somewhere in the world that supports women (for obvious reasons if you read this post), and making my own small investment in changing the world.
Working with micro-lending institutions around the world, MicroPlace has made over 20,000 loans to over 100,000 people in 47 countries (including loans to the poor in the US). If you've got change and would like to participate, click here. Get your change, give the change, be the change. Cool.