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What is Kiva?

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“What is Kiva?” “What do you do in Kiva?” “Wait, what even is Kiva?” All of these are commonly asked questions about Baldwin’s Kiva club.

Kiva is a service club at Baldwin that partners with a nonprofit of the same name, Kiva. Ultimately, Kiva’s goal is to alleviate poverty and support projects that benefit families and communities around the globe. What sets Kiva apart from other nonprofit philanthropic organizations is the way in which Kiva helps others. It is not based on donations, but rather on microloans. These loans are small, as little as twenty-five dollars, and eventually the borrower repays the lender’s money. This system creates a circle of borrowing, lending, and repayment.

The lender gets to chose who the money is lent to from a pool of certified Kiva borrowers from all over the world whose profiles are displayed on Kiva’s website. Each profile includes the borrower’s name, their picture, their goal sum, and a description of what the borrowers intend to do with the money.

Though all transactions are conducted online, the profiles offer a more personal view into the lives of people all around the globe. Their stories range from a single mother from El Salvador raising money to buy bread to support her family to a man in Kenya borrowing money to fix his motorbike to sustain his transportation business. Reading stories like these and deciding to lend makes one feel that their contribution impacts on an individual level. One can select categories and look just at borrowers who are women, or those who live in the USA, depending on where they want their loan to go.

During almost every meeting of the club Kiva at Baldwin, money is lent to someone through Kiva’s website. The club raises money from Kiva’s homecoming table and other sales.

To learn more about the Kiva organization in general, go to If you are interested in joining the club here at Baldwin or attending a meeting, email the club heads, Haley Smith and Sydney Silberg. Meetings usually occur every few weeks on Thursdays during G-Block.

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What is Kiva?