Microfinance and Micro-entrepreneurs

By: Julia
Julia is a participant in Allowance for Good's Fall 2015 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy class in the Elmhurst location.
"I am a Catalyst for Good because...
I can be the change I want to see in the world."
Micro finance is a form of philanthropy, that is also a bit like charity. Micro finance has to do with giving money to someone in need. That person is called a micro-entrepreneur. They may want to start a business or keep theirs running. Giving them this money will help boost them up. But, the interesting part about micro finance is that the entrepreneur pays you back. This creates a connection between you and this other person all the way across the world. You communicate to keep checking up on them, and once they pay you back, you can use that same amount of money to loan to someone else. It's a very self sustaining system. I really like micro finance for that reason.

I think this is a very good idea. It's self sustaining, and easy to give too. You don't need to give a large amount of money to make a huge impact. It also creates a connection between two people from different parts of the world. This helps create awareness and a sense of oneness. It impacts not only the person receiving the money, but the giver as well.

Since the money is paid back after the entrepreneur is able too, you can keep on giving that same donation. It also helps make it seem like the entrepreneur is a business partner, rather than a helpless victim. I believe this will help people not be so scared or feel so disconnected from people in need of financial aid. 

Making an Impact for Human Rights

By: Anika
Anika is a participant in Allowance for Good's Spring Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Explorers class. 

This week in ELP, we talked about human rights. We learned about the different plans and steps for fixing the problems that come with the lack of human rights. There is a declaration issued by the United Nations about human rights. We tend to take many of these basic rights for granted.

 In this class, I learned a lot about human rights and I was able to appreciate how fortunate I am. Less developed countries do not provide adequate protection of human rights, which is a problem that needs to be fixed. Some people don’t have freedom of thought, or the right to privacy. I cannot imagine not having the right to privacy and freedom of thought and speech.

 One of these rights was the right to education. Malala’s speech about the right to education was very inspiring for many reasons.  She is a young girl living in a Taliban dominated and controlled country. She is a girl and a child and the Taliban believed that the children of Pakistan, especially girls and women, had no right to education.  She still stood out, regardless of everything against her and spoke out for both girls and boys. Taliban continued to threaten her but she could not be stopped because she believed in the right to education for everyone. She was shot in the head by the Taliban but that made her even more determined to fight for access and equality of education.

 Another right is the right to food and shelter. There are so many people who don’t have 3 meals a day. Hunger and shelter is a problem all over the world, including the most developed countries. Even a country as developed as the United States has over 5,000 homeless and hungry people in just a 50 mile radius. All of my life I have grown up listening to how my classmates and I were so lucky to have food on our plates and a roof over my head.

 I have heard statistics that 1 out of 5 children go hungry. We have not discussed ways in which we could solve this problem. I would like to try and make a dent in the issue of homelessness and hunger.

One of the ways to doing that is to build awareness of this problem at a younger age. It could be as simple as teaching kids to not waste food and water, volunteering at a food bank, richer class discussions etc.

Hungry for Human Rights

By: Kate
Kate is a participant in Allowance for Good's Winter 2015 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Explorers class. 

In this week’s ELP class we talked about many different human rights and what we have to do to protect those rights. We talked about our roles in helping protect these human rights and how we can help create a better nation. We also talked about our nation’s agenda for the future and how so many things that we planned to be done by 2015 aren’t done and seem to be going nowhere. We made agenda’s for the UN on more logical and attainable goals for the future and how they can make those succeed, while also trying to see how we can attain the goals already set.

One human right that I specifically am very passionate about is hunger in America today. I have been involved with this cause deeply because my mother works for the non-profit organization Feeding America so I get a lot of facts spit out at me about hunger in the US. From this information from my mother and personally seeing what is going on, it saddens me but also makes me inspired to do more to help this cause.

This cause is very important to me and inspires me because we spend so much time thinking about other places and people when our own people are suffering. We give money to others when they are in need yet we don’t see what is going within our own borders. I feel that everyone should have the basic knowledge of what is going on in our country and that people we can see on a daily basis are suffering.

I have done many bake sales and food drives to help support this cause but I would like to do more hands-on work in the future. I feel like donating money is such an easy way to help and that it can go such a long way, but even then you don’t truly see where your money is going and who it is going to help. I plan to work in more food pantries, packing meals, so I can truly see who these people are and where my help is going to.

Kate writes, "I am a Catalyst for Good because everybody deserves to have their basic human rights."

Inspiration and Fresh Perspective at Google Chicago

By: Riley
Riley participated in Allowance for Good's summer 2014 Global Philanthropy Summit program. 

I was lucky enough to take part in the Global Philanthropy Summit last week.  It was a riveting and insightful experience, and I now feel like a more engaged citizen!

Thursday was definitely the most exciting day of our week, with several important activities in downtown Chicago.  After taking the train in from Evanston, we trekked downtown and settled in our destination.  Soon after we arrived, so did our presenters: representatives from A Better Chicago, a venture philanthropy group, and one of its funded programs.  They told us all about the great projects they were involved in currently, and where they hope their programs will be in the future.  The impact that these programs had made on the community of Chicago and its young people was obvious.  It was inspiring for us to be presented with some of the greatest philanthropic work going on in Chicago!

After the presentation, we walked to Google's Chicago headquarters, probably the highlight of our week at the GPS.  This was definitely my personal favorite place we visited in our two days downtown.  Besides taking a tour of Google's progressively-designed workplace and its fascinating employees, we participated in a Google+ Hangout with an AFG affiliate at Liger Learning Centre.  We also learned about all of Google's philanthropic work, which was simply amazing.  Google already has a reputation as a very socially responsible business, and its philanthropy was no exception to this principle.  The company has helped get thousands of people out of slavery, donated technology, and otherwise helped people in ways big and small.

I cannot describe how personally inspiring the visit to Google was for me.  The trip taught me that philanthropy can truly be on any scale and that even helping a few people is great philanthropic work.  Google's work with spreading technology and knowledge about it showed great promise for the future of the world and technological progress in it.  Google has encouraged me to be more aware of the world around me and to use my skills to help the people that I can.

I'd like to thank everyone who worked to make the GPS happen and my classmates for making the entire week a great experience for us all!