Sunday, December 30, 2007


I recently finished reading Bill Clinton’s new book entitled Giving. In summary, the book is a 212 page “list” of ways to give of your time, money, and resources, with brief (and sometimes not-so-brief) accounts of specific individuals and organizations that the former Prez finds most noteworthy. Ok, so, Bill’s a great guy and all, his wife I could do without. But that's beside the point. The book- honestly, I wasn’t so impressed. As my uncle said, “The only good thing about the book is the list in the back of all organizations he talks about. Certainly not Rhodes material.” And that about sums it up. It’s written at about a 5th grade reading level, which definitely has its place and is definitely an understandable choice given that it’s clearly meant to appeal to a broad audience (i.e., how EACH person can give... that means everyone). The other problem I have with the book is it’s 212 pages of a Rah-Rah fest of BillBillBill and all his great endeavors. Also fine, as he has done loads of giving… clearly enough to write a book about it. But really, enough is enough. Just give me the info, I don’t need all these self-references of awesomeness. Thanks.

Ok, so I’m done criticizing the book, because really I did learn of a few good organizations from it, and it sparked a few ideas of ways in which I could use my time/money/energy/talents to give back to both my local community and the world at large. So, as any good blogger, I wanted to share them with others. Granted, some of these I knew about prior to his book, but this is a nice way to sum them all up. If, like me, you are interested in giving money to help others less fortunate than yourself, but you are unable to donate large chunks of moolah (maybe say, $100 rather than $10,000), and/or you like to know precisely where your money is going, and/or you like to impact individuals rather than some elusive idea (poverty, hunger, healthcare etc), then this is a good place to start.
In general, if you haven’t heard about microfinance or any of the work done by the Grameen Bank and Muhammad Yunus, you need to get on that. Not only did he win the Nobel Prize for his work, but he believes (and I would agree) that microfinance will be one of the chief means towards the end of eradicating poverty. As someone who has never taken an econ class in her life and really has no interest in banking/finance/economics, I truly enjoyed his book, Banker to the Poor- more like a memoir than anything else. Check it out. Why give someone food when you can give them a llama? The idea behind this site is you contribute money towards some type of animal that an individual/family can then use, for say, a long time. Maybe a cow maybe a camel maybe a chicken. Whatever works. Because ya know, some dude in the dessert in Morocco probably needs a different type of animal than a chicky in Guatemala. How about a water buffalo? Yep, someone needs those too. Pretty sweet.

There are many ways to give, and those are just two. You can give of your time, money, resources, and skills. Anywhere. Everywhere. All the time. Seriously people, if you're reading this blog, you probably have something (maybe say, time?) to spare. If you haven't seen it, this is what the world would look like if it were reduced to 100 people. Check it out. Good stuff. Give a little. You'll probably get more back than you ever could have imagined.

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