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Artists Helping Artists: Kiva

Melissa Borrell Artists Helping Artists Kiva.org Kiva non-profit

Helping other artists is an essential part of my own practice. Art is a community endeavor and it brings me so much joy to see and interact with other artists' works. I am always searching for ways to give back to my larger artist community and this year I found a non-profit organization called Kiva that helps me lift up other artists near and far. 

Here's how Kiva describes their work: 

"More than 1.7 billion people around the world are unbanked and can’t access the financial services they need. Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 in San Francisco, with a mission to expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive.

We do this by crowdfunding loans and unlocking capital for the underserved, improving the quality and cost of financial services, and addressing the underlying barriers to financial access around the world. Through Kiva's work, students can pay for tuition, women can start businesses, farmers are able to invest in equipment and families can afford needed emergency care."

Basically, I get contribute to loans, which get paid back so that I can contribute to new loans and empower more makers and artisans to build successful businesses. Of course, Kiva doesn't only focus on the arts and I'm excited to learn more about their lending in agriculture, since community farming is a big part of my life in Austin. 

Since I've focused my gifts on individuals in the arts and this year I've already been able to lend to Silia in Tonga to buy pandanus leaves for her weaving business, the Saquilla Group in Guatemala who make incredible, traditional huipil blouses, and several more inspiring artists and their communities. 

With my own background in craft and the functional arts it feels deeply centering to help women artists and craftspeople around the globe by making it possible for them to create beautiful work while making a living and supporting their families. 

If you want to get involved, you can learn more about Kiva here

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