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Kiva Zip Program | Fall 2013
Dave Smith, Garden Spot Middle School
In January of 2009 with $125 given to me from the school board at the time, I launched “The One Million Dollar Team” on Kiva.org, a website that connects entrepreneurs around the world who are trying to work their way out of poverty with those people in the world who want to help them with $25 loans. I have presented lessons to all 7th grade students at Garden Spot Middle School since 2009 and they have worked towards raising money to help others that we loan out to the people the kids choose from the Kiva website. When the money gets repaid, we re-loan it to someone else and this cycle continues perpetually. The program has grown leaps and bounds over the last 6 years and now that we are in the 7th year we are on pace to do over $50,000 in loans just in 2015 alone.

Our goal is $1,000,000 in loans before I retire and we are on track to accomplish that goal. Every year more money is donated and therefore our “Loaning Pot” grows bigger and bigger allowing us to currently re-loan about $1,500 every month that is paid back and to help more and more people exponentially. We’ve currently helped over 5,000 families in 77 different countries around the world with over $135,000 in loans. So the impact our kids are having in truly life changing and world changing. In 2013 I asked the Spartan Foundation to help me launch a new component of the program called “Kiva Zip”. This program operates similarly to the Kiva program, but it has two main differences. One is that it focuses only on loans to people in the United States and its territories as well as Kenya, Africa.

In this program, you also can loan as little as $5 and you have the opportunity to email communicate with the entrepreneurs that you loan to. So in the past year and a half students have loaned over $2,250 to 270 different entrepreneurs in 37 different states as well as Guam, Puerto Rico, and Kenya. They have therefore had the opportunity to ask questions of some of the entrepreneurs and receive responses. Overall, what I want our kids to see is that even at 12 and 13 years old they have the ability to make an eternal impact on the lives of others all over the world so that they can see world with a better future – a world without poverty.

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