Friday, July 18, 2008

Modest Help for Modest Needs

Much has been written about organizations that float microloans to people in developing countries, even websites where individuals can donate loans to entrepreneurs in those countries. But people can apply for--and donate to--the small financial needs of people in the United States.

Modest Needs began as a website by Dr. Keith Taylor, a Middle Tennessee State University professor to provide small financial gifts to people who had a minor financial needs, like a car battery or a utility payment, in 2002. It began with a tithe (10%) of Taylor's own salary, but people soon contacted him with offers of their own money.

Now, applicants can apply, and after their legitimacy is checked out, their need is posted on the website. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and legal residents of the United States or Canada. Their income must be between 130% and 200% of the official poverty level. More information for applicants is here. Be sure to have all your necessary documentation--it will help speed up the application process. Generally, applicants that have been vetted will have their request posted for 45 days before it is either fully funded or removed from the site.

For their part, donors can peruse a list of applicants, and decide who they will give a share of their donations to.

Modest Needs was created for small requests that can make a difference in the recipient's life. If you have such a need--or would like to help someone else's get filled--check out the Modest Needs website.

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