Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Kiva Zip loan for CHOCOLATE

Another worthwhile story.
Love helping local people.

Personal Story
I grew up in the mean and beautiful streets of Los Angeles, California with my six other siblings, and boy it was an adventure! Being the eldest girl came with a lot of unwanted responsibility but unbeknownst to me this shaped who I am today. I take charge, risk and responsibility to do what I love.
I've been cooking, baking and creating sweet goods and chocolate confections for over thirty years. It's such second nature, I feel I can do it with my eyes closed. I've raised three wonderful children with my husband of 26 years, who passed away in 2006 due to complications with congestive heart failure. My husband was a great provider but needed to be cared for as well. Without questions, I put everything on hold to do so. Now it is my time to manifest my dreams.
My dream is to own and operate my own chocolate confection company. That would also include a thriving internet web site, a charming store front and the ability to successfully share my vision worldwide. I was able to display my talents recently at a friend's wedding. I took care of all her center pieces and thank you gifts. Her guest loved everything so much they started calling me to provide chocolate confections for other events. That's when I figured out I was sitting on an excellent business idea!
Business Description
My business provides delicious chocolate confections and gifts for any and all occasions. I saw there was a need for a business like mine when I would try to find unique and beautiful gifts, and could not find anything out of the ordinary. I would make chocolate and combined it with a customized gift or theme. Everybody who saw my gifts loved the idea so much they became my loyal customers.
In December, 2013, J Kirs Chocolates was re-launched. My biggest challenge is getting the exposure I need for this company to be highly successful. Thanks to word of mouth by my friends and family, I have a strong customer base. Hopefully, with a little help I can continue to knock out some goals. My goal is to operate on a much larger scale with staff, equipment, and a store front or commercial kitchen for my chocolate creations.
What is the purpose of this loan?
A loan from the Kiva Zip program would help to expedite the growth of J Kris Chocolates to the next level. Funding will help with payroll, kitchen rental expenses, marketing, and equipment, including chocolate melters, a popcorn popper, stackable racks, a labeling system for product ingredients, and bar coding system.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Helping make a dream

Local Kiva Zip loan. Lots more verbiage than the regular kiva loans. Brings out his personality. I'm going to try to find his store sometime.

I was born in Puebla, Mexico. My father was an electrician and my mother a stay at home mom. I had a humble upbringing; my father worked hard for us to have the essentials we needed and also provided the means to start my education. I was a good student and my parents pushed me to study. I was one of the highest in my class and with honors.
After high school, an opportunity presented itself to go work with my cousin in New York. He always to send me pictures of all the wonderful places he would visit and I had to come to see them for myself. I also knew coming to live and work in the United States there was opportunities that were not available in my home country.
I worked hard getting employment in grocery stores and minimarts where I quickly became a valued employee. I realized that here in the United States, saving my money, and working hard I could also own my own business. I eventually bought the minimart where I was an employee. I quickly realized that I needed to become an active participant in the health of my customers and my community, and began preparing a business plan with the help of the Harbor BusinessSource to offer healthy alternatives to my customers in the store. With the implementation of this new plan, I can provide education and healthier foods to my Hispanic community who have a high rate of obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Business Description
I was an employee of La Milagrosa market in Wilmington, CA for 4 years. It is a small minimart that sells Latino food products, snacks, beverages, fresh meat, and also produce. When the owner decided to sell, I saw my opportunity and jumped on it.
My dream was always to become a business owner in the United States, so I acquired it with my hard earned savings. I've gotten to know and care for my customers, who are predominantly Hispanic, and hope to continue providing excellent service while providing fresh, organic, and healthy alternatives that will make an impact in the health of my community.
We currently serve 100 customers a day, predominantly middle- and high-school students in the afternoons and the general community in the evenings. We strive to provide convenience and great prices, which makes a difference to our customers who often work full-time but want to avoid fast food for their families.
What is the purpose of this loan?
With this loan of $3,000, I will expand my inventory to include more (and healthier) choices. After investing all my savings toward the purchase of the store, I haven't been able to expand my product range. This loan will impact my business instantly by attracting more customers, who want and need a wider range of choices in their food and other convenience items.
My neighborhood has often been called a ‘food desert’ because there are few green, fresh, healthy options. I will first add more shelves where I can display my new inventory. I will then purchase an array of fresh and nutritious products such as wheat tortillas, low sodium canned goods, and organic produce just to name a few where in this community it is not so easy to access. This will allow me to introduce my community to products that are delicious and weight conscious, helping educate them on the importance of choosing healthier substitutes. I can then continue living my dream of being a productive business owner.
When my business grows the whole community also partakes in my success. I will hire more employees, creating economic opportunity in this small, tight-knit community.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Helping out close to home with Kiva's new Kiva zip program.

This program is for loans in developed countries - o% loans for people doing good things.

I like to support the local economy, I do most of my food shopping at the farmer's market (which is easier to do in Southern California, one can live off a fantastic diet of things grown within 100 miles).

This loan is for someone who lives very close to me.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Alley cat allies

I am proud to support Alley Cat Allies, a great group trying to make life better for our feral cats.

Their programs are working. Cats lives are improving.

 Love kitties. Wish they could all be healthy and happy.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Southern Poverty Law Center

With all the things going on in Fergusson right now, I'm making a contribution to the Southern Poverty Law Center to help with civil rights. And equality. And all the other great things they do.

Been a proud supporter for years.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Green America

Made my yearly contribution to Green America to help them organize and promote greening. I have used their catalog many times in the past - Natural Green pages..

The mission of Green America is to harness economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Kiva loan to a new country - Myanmar

Kiva loan.
Located in Central Myanmar’s Yaysagyo township, this community currently has 44 village customers, including 6 CBO (Community Based Organization) committee members who help to lead the loan program in the area. This village is located in Myanmar's dry zone, where insufficient rainfall is very common. Most villagers are Buddhist and struggle to find access to affordable credit, as the state-owned agricultural bank is not active in the area.

Most people in the village rely on traditional farming and cultivate various crops such as pigeon peas, sesame, chickpeas, cotton and groundnuts. The new loan would enable the community to pay for farming inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and compost, and lease equipment, such as tractors and bulls, for the planting and harvesting seasons.

Pictured above are the committee members from the Min Kan Village CBO: U San, U Win, U Tin, Daw Aye, Daw Myint and Daw Kyi. Included in the photo (farthest to the right) is 50-year-old U San, who has eight family members. He works not only as a farmer, but also as a construction worker in nearby villages. He used his past loan to invest in compost and fertilizer. He will invest his new loan in sesame and cotton seeds for the coming cropping season.

Additional Information

More information about this loan

This loan will be facilitated through Proximity Designs network of Community Based Organizations (CBOs) in order to support rural farmers in Myanmar’s Delta and Dry Zone regions.  Proximity worked closely with CBOs to provide relief services after Cyclone Nargis and to support village infrastructure projects.

CBOs also play a key role in providing access to microcredit.  In this model, CBO committee members support Proximity loan officers throughout the entire loan cycle. They assist in selecting village borrowers and also act as formal representatives during loan disbursement, collection of repayments and other communications. CBO committee members appear in Kiva profiles – often alongside village borrowers – as representatives of the community.

Since families rely heavily on income from farming to support their livelihoods, these loans are structured with a single bullet repayment at the end of the loan term. The timing aligns with expected harvest season when borrowers will be able to repay. All community members who receive financing through the CBO model must repay their portion of the loan before a village will be eligible to receive new funding. 

About Proximity Designs:

Proximity Designs is a non-profit social enterprise that offers loan products to help small, low income farmers increase their productivity and income. There are around 12 million farmers in Myanmar who make up more than a third of the labor force. The majority of these farmers have virtually no access to formal credit institutions.

In the absence of other financing opportunities, most small farmers in Myanmar are unable to afford the equipment, material, and labor necessary to grow their crops without the help of Proximity Designs. Kiva funding will be used to help Proximity Designs expand its agricultural microfinance operation and reach more low income, rural farmers.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Kiva in India

Kiva loan to India.  Rinalata is a married woman living with her husband and three children in a rental at Bhubaneswar town, Odisha, India. The member standing first on the left with a raised hand is Rinalata. She, along with her husband, is doing a grocery business in their locality and maintains their livelihood. Their monthly income is near about Rs. 13,000 per month, which was not sufficient to meet their monthly household expenses. 

One of her sons, named Anip, is continuing his ITI (Mechanic Trade) in Gop College, Puri. He is a good student and wants to do a diploma in Mechanics, but due to lack of money he is not in a position to continue his study. For continuation of his study, Rinalata wants a loan of Rs. 30,000. Your help will enable Anip to complete his diploma in Mechanical Trade and get a technical job at a handsome salary. 

The other five members of her group are Pramila, Meena, Sanjukta, Santilata and Jayanti.

Monday, August 11, 2014


Salome is 40 years old and married with seven children. She earns her income through the sale of crops and also earns small wages as a local community worker. She grows maize, coffee, beans, Irish potatoes and bananas. She also has cows, goats and chickens.

Salome looks forward to becoming a Community Knowledge Worker (CKW) supervisor. As a CKW supervisor, Salome will use the materials in her business-in-a-box (which include a smartphone and a solar-charging device) to support the other CKWs and disseminate vital agricultural information to the members of her village. In doing so, Salome will help them to improve their crop yields and increase their incomes. Salome will also personally offer CKW services to farmers. 

With the additional money that she will earn as a CKW, Salome will expand her farm and pay the school fees for her children. Her biggest dream in life is to become a model farmer supporting other small-holder farmers in her community.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Kiva loan to Rwanda

Laetty is one of a few dynamic women in Rwanda's male-dominated construction industry. Laetty began working in the construction industry three years ago when she first purchased her quarry. Since then, she has been supplying big and small construction companies with stones for building houses and roads. Rwanda's construction industry is booming, and Laetty has identified a new opportunity to grow her business.

Buy purchasing a stone crushing machine, Laetty will now be able to provide her clients with gravel and sand. These new products will enable her to add value to her existing business by processing her raw materials, while meeting the expanding needs of her customers.

Laetty has been an active member of African Entrepreneur Collective. She has attended several of our business training classes, meets with an AEC staff member once per week to discuss business strategies and opportunities, and has partnered with other AEC entrepreneurs to refer clients and other supports.

With a current base of 10 employees, Laetty anticipates adding three new permanent staff members to run this machine, as well as 20-30 part-time workers.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Doctors Without Borders

Filled out a survey today for Doctors without Borders to help them understand their supporters. I included a donation in the response. I think Doctors without Borders is doing a fantastic job responding to natural disasters and helping people. I support them over the Red Cross because more of their funding goes directly to help and not administrative costs.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014


Made a donation to the local SPCA to help with their summer funding drive.   Summer is hard on homeless animals, they get overheated and suffer from dehydration. Also more kittens and puppies around.

Love animals. Want them all to live good lives.

This donation was a general one, but I am contributing a lot to save cats.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Planned Parenthood

Made my yearly donation to Planned Parenthood.  I think they are an amazing organization that really helps women with health and birth control issues.  When I lived in New Hampshire my doctor was located in a Planned Parenthood clinic and I could see all the good they did.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Made a donation and joined the founding partners for the National Medal of Honor Museum.  

This museum will serve as a permanent home for the stories of the heros who received a National Medal of Honor.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Amazon smile

I set up Amazon smile today so that a percentage of what I purchase through amazon will go to a non-profit I select. I chose Team Rubicon; their facebook post turned me onto amazon smile.

I do tend to buy a lot of things from Amazon. I buy a lot of things online because I don't really like shopping and don't really need many things and when I do need something I want something particular.

I installed the extensions to my browser so I don't have to do anything to make my Amazon purchases donate.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Team Rubicon

Made a donation to day to support Team Rubicon's efforts in helping people in Washington state who were affected by the fires.

Team Rubicon empowers veterans with a new mission and community through disaster response and humanitarian crises.

This wonderful non-profit lets vets use their skills in helping Americans in the USA.