Here are a couple of great nonprofit ideas I recently came across.
Kiva (www.kiva.org) is a web site that connects people in the U.S. wanting to make no-interest microloans with entrepreneurs from poor countries. The average loan is a few hundred bucks and the default rate is well below one quarter of one percent, so it’s a very efficient way to move capital around the globe, and get it back.
Kiva has put 19.5M in the hands of people who have been able to use it to start or grow a small business. So far more than 220,000 “lenders” have participated.
Here is one you just have to love.
A state prison in Nevada was dealing with the usual prison problems of gangs and violence. At the same time, the local Humane Society had a growing list of “unadoptable dogs” who, for a variety of temperament-oriented offenses, were themselves placed on Doggie Death Row. So the prison warden and the Humane Society director got together and identified eight inmates, all lifers, who would each adopt a doomed dog for a period of rehabilitation.
Inmates have nothing if not time on their hands, and wayward dogs can take lot of retraining, so it turned out to be a great arrangement.
The dogs became highly socialized and adoptable, when their time was up one inmate said they had gotten “puppy parole”, and a second set of dogs replaced them in the slammer. The unanticipated benefit of this program was a 40% drop off in violence at the prison. Even the vast majority of the 700 inmates who did not personally receive a pet benefitted, as everyone softened up and cuddled with the dogs.
Now there is prison reform.