Let’s Make Some (More) Microloans

The Weekender, June 4, 2021


Today’s Friday, so it’s another Now I Know Weekender. The truth is, this has been a pretty uneventful week for the newsletter — three newsletters, no major mistakes, a lot of nice (positive!) feedback, but again, nothing major. So I don’t have a lot to share, at least behind-the-scenes-wise. 

So, let’s make some microloans.

Back in December, I encouraged you to join me in making a risk-free microloan to an entrepreneur in Senegal through a site called Kiva. Many of you did so (or made a loan to another person) via Kiva and joined the Now I Know Kiva team. Well, a week or so ago, my donee repaid my loan. So here’s a quick look at our team status.

Of the $100 I loaned out, $99.95 came back — the 5-cent loss was a function of fluctuations in currency exchanges. I ended up re-loaning $75 of that to another entrepreneur and donated the remaining $25 to Kiva itself — Kiva asks that you donate 15% of your loans back to them to handle their operating costs, and I overshot that a bit to help fulfill a 1:1 donation match grant. 

Excluding that match and my employer’s match, on a total investment of $118.05, I’ve been able to loan $175.05 while donating $43.00. 

As of right now, 108 of you have joined the Now I Know Kiva team. (If you want to join, you can at https://www.kiva.org/invitedby/dandotlewis.) Collectively, we’ve made 210 loans totaling $7,225, and that doesn’t include my initial loan for some reason. In any event, if you’re on the team and have been repaid, please consider re-loaning what came back. if not, and you want to join, please do.

The Kiva campaign is my third non-profit fundraising campaign; in years past, we raised more than $10,000 for Sesame Workshop, the non-profit behind Sesame Street, and for charity:water, north of $11,500. I’d love to get the Kiva number over the $10k hump as well, so please support it if you’re so inclined.

The Now I Know Week in Review

Monday: Memorial Day — no newsletter.

Tuesday: How Evolution Makes Us Love Dogs — It’s the eyes. Well, the eyebrows.

Wednesday: The Tribe With the DIY Spies — YouTube, drones, and illegal logging all in one place.

Thursday: The Buses That Make a Bee Line — There’s a ton of great trivia out there about bees. One day, I’ll make a list of broad topics that have an astounding amount of trivia about them, and bees will definitely make that list. (To give a preview: escalators will also make that list.) 

And some other things you should check out:

Some long reads and a podcast episode for the weekend.

1) “How the First Black Female Jockey Rode Into Oblivion” (New York Times, 12 minutes, May 2021). The subhead: “Fifty years ago, Cheryl White became America’s first licensed Black female jockey when she was just 17 years old. So why doesn’t the world know her name?”

2) “18 minutes” (Crime Show on Spotify, 29 minutes, March 2021). This is a podcast episode. And I have to warn you, this isn’t for everyone. It’s not an uplifting story. It starts out awful and despite a change in the storyline, it remains awful. And then, it’s pretty not great even when it gets “better.” There’s a warning at the beginning of the episode and you shouldn’t listen if that warning resonates with you. 

3) “I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here’s How.” (Gizmodo, 12 minutes, May 2015). Thanks to Jordan B. for sharing this one.
Have a great weekend!