Kiva & 101 Cookbooks Recipe

A way for 101 Cookbooks readers to work together - I've set up and seeded a Kiva group with $1000 in loans (in addition to the dozen or so loans that I previously had in the Kiva system). If you have $25 to loan you can participate...

Kiva & 101 Cookbooks

I've set up 101 Cookbooks as a Kiva Lending Team. There were nearly a million visits to 101 Cookbooks last month - a statistic that continues to amaze me. As the site has grown over the years, I kept thinking to myself that it would be great to figure out a way for us to affect change as a group - me + you.

I've long been a fan of Kiva. For those of you who aren't familiar with Kiva, it's a grassroots project that allows someone like me to make (real-time) micro-loans directly to entrepreneurs in the developing world via the internet. We are talking about small loans, not donations, to people (who in many cases) wouldn't qualify for loans otherwise. I'm convinced of the power of small amounts of capital to make a big difference, and I believe in the power of individuals - both on the lending and receiving ends. My loan of $25, combined with loans of $25 from other individuals can significantly impact lives and prospects. I've been making loans over the past year as an individual, but in the back of my mind I kept imagining it would be even more exciting for us to be able to loan as a group or team.

Flash forward a few months, Kiva just enabled team lending on their site. I've set up 101 Cookbooks as a Kiva Lending Team and seeded our group with $1000 in loans (in addition to the dozen or so loans that I previously had in the Kiva system). If you have $25 to loan you can participate - most of the loans I make are in the $25 to $100 range. As the micro-loans are being paid back to me, I can turn around and re-allocate funds to other entrepreneurs. It's great. If you do end up making a loan (or loans) be sure to add yourself to the 101 Cookbooks Team. I'll be able to message people there and I'm excited to keep track of the individuals we are loaning to through that page. I tend to focus on loans to farmers, cooks, and individuals doing food production, but you can support anyone you like. Perhaps as our lending power grows down the line, we might cherry-pick certain entrepreneurs to support en mass. I'll highlight our progress here over the coming months as well. Let's see what we can do - I don't think $100,000 in loans from us as a group is an impossible first goal. To participate:

1. Sign up for a Kiva account. If you already have a Kiva account, log in.

2. Join the 101 Cookbooks Lending Team

3. Lend.

The lead photo is of Risikat Tijani - Lagos State, Nigeria. At the time of this post her loan of $700 is 63% repaid - you can see the group of thirteen individual lenders listed below her profile.

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I read a great article today in South magazine today called “Adventures in Altruism.” Check out this non-profit:


i love kiva, too, and have made a few loans, but this is a good reminder to revisit the site and lend again!
thanks —


I know of two other sites that do a similar vetting process like Kiva, but are donation based, not micro-finance, but are still project focused, with sustainability in mind. They focus more on grassroots community-based organizations in developing countries.
Check out
They’re nicer than the Red Cross type of charities because similarly to Kiva, you can see the impact you are making! Plus they help with a lot of small NGOs who are still starting up and need that initial capital, encourage youth social entrepeaneurs, and having met some of the globalgiving team myself, they really do care about the type of impact your money makes in the community!
The only drawback is that globalgiving does take 10% of your donation for administrative costs, whilst universalgiving has acquired enough funding through their business plan in other ways that 100% of your money goes to your charity. But both are legitimate, and I really recommend that you check those sites out too!

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I come here often for great recipe ideas but this by far is my favorite post! As much as I enjoy preparing your recipes, this one provides nourishment for the soul…


this is fantastic! I’ve read about these kinds of microloans before, but was unaware of Kiva. going to check it out right now!


Love this idea, a little help goes a long way.
I have adopted three kids in Guatemala with the Fotokids program ( i love fotography) and it takes families out of the dump and sends them to school…and then fotography school too!!!
a small donation .. a big change in someones life!

Judy witts

What a great partnership! I love Kiva. I’d particularly love to see the 101 Cookbooks group supporting local, sustainable agricultural projects.

Sally Parrott Ashbrook

Amazing! I read about this several months ago and was just thinking about it the other day and trying to remember the name of the organization. Group lending is brilliant–I’m signing up right now.
P.S. Love your recipes and photos!


Heidi – you are nothing short of a genius and I love you all the more for it. x


I’ve been ready your blog on and off for about a year and love the recipes but this waould have to be far and away my favourite blog entry so far. Thank for the great info I had heard vaguely about micro loans over the internet but had no idea what it was about. I’ve also put the word out on a sustainable living forum I’m a member of hear in Australia


Thank you so much for lending your high profile support to such an amazing cause

Ahmed Sweliem

Thank you so much Heidi! First I’ll search Kiva’s site, again and if I can’t find the page with their logos, then I’ll take you up on your offer. Much appreciation, thanks again and I’ll do my best to spread the word.


Thank you so much for lending your high profile support to such an amazing cause. As someone who has worked in West Africa on and off for the last eight years, I have seen first hand the power of a small loan. Particularly when the generosity of strangers means that loan can be made at a reasonable rate of interest, and save small business people from otherwise predatory rates of interest for small capital.
You are doing a wonderful thing.

Erin @ The Skinny Gourmet

what a beautiful idea, Heidi. I have loved the work of Kiva for some time and pitched my small amount into helping a greater cause. I’d be happy to be part of the 101 Cookbooks team!


Heidi, has anyone ever told you that you are an amazing person? I was pretty sure about it the first time I saw your site when my husband sent me your mesquite chocolate chip cookie recipe and you continue to impress. This is a wonderful idea. You deserve all the many good things that will come your way.
HS: Thanks Josi!


Sounds like a great idea, and I would like to join the group, but I have a concern after having studied their website. I don’t feel too comfortable with the (relatively high) interest rate borrowers are still asked to pay. It was cumbersome trying to find field partners with low interest. Does anyone have any thoughts on that?
HS: That was one of my initial concerns as well, and I suspect there is room for improvement over time. That being said, it is my understanding that the lending rates are typically a fraction of local lending rates. This page on Kiva is helpful in regards to understanding hows/why of interest rates.


PS: If anyone is looking for a gift for someone Kiva also lets you buy “gift cards” and the recipient can then lend the money to whom they choose. It’s wonderful and it will keep on giving because they can re-lend it again and again!


Awesome Heidi. I love Kiva too! When I turned 30 last year, I took $30 from each family member who gave me money (How lucky and I to still have family members giving me birthday checks at 30?!?) and I lent the money. It was repaid and I am 3/4 of the way through my second loan. On my birthday this year, I am going to write a letter to those family members and share with them what I did and the stories of those their gift helped. I love it! I also have chosen people in the food industry as well as focusing on countries where my friends come from, so far Mexico and Ghana. Micro-loans are so amazing and I give you props for harnessing your power for good. 🙂


Hi Heidi,
I am embarrassed to say that I hadn’t heard of Kiva, nor of such a concept before. I recently received an email with horrendous photos of people (mostly children) starving to death in Sudan, and felt sickened and saddened that people continue to experience such atrocities in a supposedly enlightened age. I’ve been searching for a way to help, and thought that I’d organise a fund raising dinner for my birthday this year: invite friends (and friends of friends etc), cook lots of different dishes, and ask everyone to ‘donate for a plate’- a similar dinner I went to raised ~$1,000 (40 people @ $25/plate). Thanks to your website, I now have access to great recipes, and a fantastic place to send the money. Corny as it may sound, you’ve helped reinstill some of my faith in people’s want and ability to do good and effect change in a meaningful and respectible way- thank you, sincerely, and thanks, too, to everyone who has written on this site with similar sentiments!


Hi Heidi, I was pointed to this blog today by a friend. I work at Kiva and have spent the last couple months designing, testing and promoting lending teams. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to see users run with the concept in creative ways. Kiva has an amazing group of passionate supporters and I wanted to thank you for using your influence to make an impact. The 101 Cookbooks team is already one of the largest on the site!
HS: Thanks for the note Nick, you all did a great job with the team lending. For months I’ve been trying to imagine how you were going to tackle this, and I’m happy to say the functionality (and flexibility) exceeded my expectations. Thanks for taking the time to leave a note. I think I can speak for the rest of my “team”…we look forward to making a big impact through Kiva (in a way that wouldn’t have been possible even ten years ago)…Again, many thanks.


I would like to concur with everything that Shila has said. However what I would add is that what I really love about you and your site is that it is genuinely inclusive and is really an ever widening community which benefits everybody, no matter in which manner the individual contribution is made. I intend to become a member of this wonderful enterprise too.
HS: Thanks Lynette. Being inclusive is important to me, and it’s nice to know that some of that sentiment comes through on the site.


This is great idea but the thing with Kiva (and according to their founder at on the record talk to motivated crowd of young professionals at the Brookings Institution) is that sometimes the number of people who want to make loans exceeds the number of people for which Kiva has the capacity to administer/monitor the loans. There is only a limited number of microcredit agencies that are able to interview potential recipients, visit them on a regular basis, give sound business advice and routine support. Kiva vets these intermediaries carefully since you can imagine there are a lot of dishonest people who try to take advantage of poor people and Kiva wants both to protect borrowers and to maintain a high repayment rate. All this to say, I think Kiva is great but it is not a magic bullet. Like a balanced diet, variety is the way to go.
HS: Yes, Kiva has had some very high-profile press recently – the kind that could overwhelm any organization. If I don’t find someone I’m interested in funding, I just come back a week or so later and look again.


I’ve never met you, but I think you are one of my favorite people ever. I enjoy your cooking philosophy and your tips have truly enriched my life and, I imagine, millions of others as well.
Today, you’ve inspired me in another but even more meaningful way by reminding your readers of power of small gifts and actions–something I strongly believe in but can not always act upon. Thank you!
HS: Thanks for the nice note Shila 🙂


The million + hits aren’t nearly as amazing as the author. Thanks for doing what mankind was meant to do: help each other.
Your Kiva team idea is fabulous and hopefully will spur many folks to reach out a hand to people less fortunate.


This sounds incredibly cool!


That is a great idea! I enjoy your site and the recipes you send us. I don’t have a lot of capitol, so I could understand the joy of getting a loan to start or help their business. Blessings to you as you bless others! Hopefully one day I will be able to bless someone, but right now, we need help ourselves!
HS: No worries Brenda, you can certainly join/register anytime and then participate when you feel as if you have the means.


What a great idea, Heidi, this was SO easy! I must have been living under a rock because I haven’t heard of Kiva before today – have loved the idea of microcredit but love being able to pick the recipient. Things may be tight, but who can’t afford $25? Thanks!
HS: Glad you like it Lisa!


I’m in! Thanks for writing about this.

Liz C

This is such a great initiative!


Count me in Heidi!

vic baker

Hi Heidi,
Team lending sounds a great idea. Thanks for doing the groundwork and setting up the team. You are really a person with amazing talents and a great heart.
HS: Thanks for the nice note Debs!


I congratulate you for the initiative. That is great! I am in!


I joined Kiva many months ago because I read about in your profile. I have proudly sponsored and have encouraged others to do so by placing a Kiva label on my blog. When my 16 year old daughter won a community service award of $250, she knew exactly what the money would go towards – Kiva! Thank you for doing so much to promote such a great organization.
HS: Thats GREAT Kristy – congratulations to your daughter on her award. It is great that she is reinvesting the money to help others.


Hi Heidi, I promptly went to sign up and found I already had an account. Evidently I signed up earlier this year – thanks to the logo I spotted in your “links” section – and got swept away with life and forgot I did so. Thank you for this post and reminding me about this great organization to help other achieve their goals.
BTW – how can I get a logo on my site?
HS: Hi Ingrid, there is a page on the Kiva site that hosts all their logos. OR you can drag my little button from the browser onto your desktop and then do whatever you like with it.


Good for you! This is such an amazing project. I think it is so great that it instills pride and confidence in people which will do so much more for people than a hand out.


Great idea! I currently have some money invested at Kiva, when it’s available to reinvest, I’ll definitely do so as part of this lending team.
HS: Fantastic Koren. Looking forward to welcoming you to the 101 group.


Wonderful idea – I’ll sign up for the team today! I also like Jon’s idea of collecting recipes and/or other interesting information from the loan recipients, I think would create a greater connection between the people lending and those receiving.


What a great idea. I also contribute to As Green As it Gets. They support small independent producers and promote environmentally sustainable agriculture in Guatemala. As interest you receive a bag of coffee.
HS: I’ll have a look at them as well.


What if you – in addition to getting project feedback, what if you asked for a family recipe from each (relevant) beneficiary — you could compile an amazing global home cooking cookbook and use the proceeds to fund more loans!
HS: Great idea Jon.


I like being told exactly HOW to help so thanks for the explicit instructions. Love the idea of people starting out in the kitchen. I’m in.


This is such a good idea. Kiva is an amazingly simple yet life-changing concept (for both givers and receivers!).

Fit Bottomed Girl

I knew about Kiva but I like the team lending idea even more! Great idea to put together a team. I’ll take a look at some of your projects you want to sponsor.

Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy

I had heard about this organization some time ago and am happy to be reminded of it’s existence. Even in these lean/mean economic times it’s always possible to help someone less fortunate than ourselves. Imagine the possibilities if even half of Heidi fans contributed as little as $25.00!
HS: I know! I think it might take some time, but I think in the coming months we can really pack a punch as a group.


Brilliant idea Heidi. I’ve loaned money to Kiva and love the way that that money gets put to work empowering small business owners in countries where capital is scarce.
HS: You said it Elise, I love reading the profiles and stories – not just the entrepreneurs, but of the Kiva Fellows too!

Elise Bauer

I just saw a story about this a few months ago on Current TV. They said that most loans of as small as $25.00 can help someone buy the tools necessary to start their own business. They profiled this man who repaired bicycles, but needed a few tools to do the job. He got a loan for $50.00 which helped him get more business. They said something like 95% of the loans get repaid within 6 months. Its amazing what a little money to us, means so much for these people. Great idea Heidi!

Jennifer von Ebers

You have one million hits a month because your recipes are amazing: simple, fresh, innovative and so DO-able… Thanks for your inspiration (culinary and social!!!!)


Yeah! Kiva is such a great organization! It is a really easy way to help people help themselves. Great idea to have a 101 Cookbooks lending team! Thanks Heidi!
HS: Thank you Amy 🙂


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