A loan, not a donation.

Kiva is an online lending platform that offers an innovative approach to raising small business capital. As its founders remind us, where opportunity is not universal, “we envision a world where all people hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others.”

Kiva first approves its small-scale (up to $10K) direct loan applications through “social underwriting,” where friends and family each lend $25 or more toward the loan request to determine the borrower’s trustworthiness. Only then is the loan is posted for public support. It’s an innovation in social entrepreneurship over the conventional barrier-ridden and faceless lending marketplace. Scott’s persuasive cooler project at Fox Farm was funded through a Kiva Zip loan, and a local networking campaign.

Now the Riverside Food Co-op has a Kiva Lending Group to create a more effective bloc of individual micro-loans toward a project of common interest to its group members. In this way we can deploy social power to help build small businesses. The group may concentrate on strictly local applications. Perhaps the borrower is a new farmer with a specific need. Perhaps the borrower is a potential RFC vendor. We grow together.

To be a part of it, go to and sign up. Then join the Riverside Food Co-op Lending Group. As a group member you may suggest a loan, or connect with your fellow group members to decide on the criteria for group support.