From Tweets to Eats: Social Media Feeds Social Justice

A few weeks ago I joined Twitter. It's like a gigantic backyard barbeque where you can meet people who are interested in things you care about; the things that match your values. For years now, I've been interested in microcredit, the extension of very small loans (microloans) to those in poverty designed to spur entrepreneurship. But I've never taken the time to do a deep dive into the subject, until recently.

Last Thursday morning, I was browsing my Twitter timeline when I spotted this tweet from @E_Stimpert:

Any Money Minded Moms going to the premiere of To Catch a Dollar tonight? #TCAD

Money Minded Moms is a social networking website set up by Suze Orman foryou guessed itmoney-minded moms. That last little bit of the tweet, the "#TCAD", is called a "hash tag" and this one refers to the discussion thread for "To Catch a Dollar", a movie about microcredit, and the work of Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi economist and founder of the Grameen Bank who pioneered the microcredit movement over 30 years ago.

This movie is special. It came with what I'll call a Twitter Twist: It was only showing that one day, in one theater in Oregon at one time, and it had already sold out in three major cities around the US, so I went.

The film moved me. It got me fired up about microlending, and I learned about Kiva.org, a Silicon Valley NGO that facilitates microloans worldwide. With the encouragement of this tweet by @LStephens47, I went to Kiva, signed up, and I helped a group of five other lenders finish funding a loan to a married mother of three who sells rice to support her family in her village in the Philippines.

I felt good about extending the microloan because it resonated with my values.

  • I believe in giving people a hand up.
  • I'm an antrepreneur, so I know it can be a struggle.
  • I like the thought of empowering women who are raising children.
  • I'm totally into financial self-sufficiency.
  • I get a charge out of helping families.
  • The word "stewardship" makes me feel good.
  • And last but not least: I love to eat, so supporting a food-based initiative feeds my soul.

Many thanks to all those on Twitter who helped me help others. Check out Kiva Card. It's one of Oprah's "Favorite Things."