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Several micro-credit agencies -- most of whose
people are out meeting with the poor, getting them
loans, and helping them succeed in their businesses --
have already been nominated on this board.

I have clicked the "Recommend it" button for
several of them and have posted favorable replies
which may encourage people to make direct
individual contributions to some of those agencies.

But I believe that as Foolanthropists we should
again make the Grameen Foundation USA one of
our chosen Foolanthropies and send our
contributions to it.

You may well ask, "John, why have you been
encouraging us to contribute to a variety micro-
credit agencies when you are going to state a case
for choosing only one?"

Because I know that the choices we make as
individuals are not always the same choices we make
as Foolanthropists.

Many people are more likely to contribute when
they feel a connection to the communities where
they live or where they grew up and their families
and friends still live.

An American working for Apple in Chicago might
go to the Grameen Foundation USA web page - LIST
and look for agencies in Illinois. After looking
further into those agencies he might contribute to
one of them.

An expatriate from Kyrghyzstan working for Intel in
Singapore might go to the Foundation's page
where she might find a micro-lender to contribute to
in Kyrghyzstan.

An expatriate form Bangladesh working for
Advanced Micro Devices in Germany may already
be contributing to the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.

All of their contributions will help people lift
themselves out of poverty.

So I applaud all of those contributions even though I
have no relatives in Kyrghyzstan or Bangladesh nor
have I ever lived in Illinois.

But, you ask, "if those contributions are so good
why then urge us to make just that one micro-credit
agency, the Grameen Foundation USA, a choice of

Because by supporting the Grameen Foundation
USA (GF-USA) as individuals we do more for
micro-credit overall than by giving the same amount
of money to any other micro-credit agency.

(Let me put this another way. It's better to give
something to a micro-credit agency where you feel a
local connection than to give nothing at all. And it's
better to give, say, $100 to a local agency rather
than $25 to GF-USA and nothing to a local agency.

But if we consider only the amount of good we are
most likely to do for each dollar we contribute, it's
best to give all the money we are going to give to
micro-credit to GF-USA.)**

Also, by supporting GF-USA as Foolanthropists, we
are doing the most Foolish Foolanthropy.

Most micro-credit agencies are designed to
concentrate directly on helping the poor people in
the communities they serve. GF-USA is set up to
increase and improve micro-credit anywhere there
are poor people. Anywhere in the United States.
Anywhere in the world.

Its mission includes educating multitudes of people
in the value of micro-credit and getting them to
support it.

This makes GF-USA more Foolanthropic in two

First, it makes them more involved in education,
because a central part of their mission is to train
people to run micro-credit agencies and to help them
educate their staffs and -- where necessary -- to
educate their borrowers in how to succeed.

Second, it makes them more involved in spreading
the word. As David Gardner says, "The most
Foolish charities" are "broad ranging" and "they
have a strong capacity to involve the public at large
in their mission." And David Gardner says, "the
Foolish charity can lay legitimate claim toward being
epic in its grandeur, in the grandeur of its idea and of
its mission." In its international scope, GF-USA
most definitely is and does just that.

GF-USA also fits Foolanthropy well with the
standard Motley Fool financial method of Long
Term Buy and Hold. Last year during the drive
Foolanthropy raised $762,750 in total. GF-USA
received $185,000 -- the second highest amount.

But after the drive closed, a Foolanthropist offered
to donate $500,000 for micro-credit in India if GF-
USA could raise matching funds. They raised
$700,000 in matching funds, so $1.2 million went to
micro-credit in India. Recently another
Foolanthropist has offered to match $500,000 for
micro-credit in Mexico. It is less likely that this
would have happened for any local micro-credit
agency. ***

By featuring GF-USA, Foolanthropy has already
given support for a longer term than the drive itself.
I believe we will do our best by extending that long-
term support.

Then there is this practical reason. Any unrestricted
money GF-USA raises (from any source, Foolish or
otherwise) beyond what it uses for training and
involving the world at large, it sends to those micro-
credit agencies which can make the most rapid
improvements or where a crisis needs to be averted.

-- To the agency just starting up.

-- To the agency that has just proven itself in the
field but has yet to document that proof and
convince potential financial supporters.

-- To agencies in countries that have just been hit
with a flood, an earthquake, a hurricane, or a war
and need credit immediately to restart businesses
and rebuild lives.

This post is too long already. So I will conclude it by
saying, as I intend to make more clear soon: "by
every rule of Foolanthropy, by many tuggings on the
heart, by every reason of practicality, GF-USA is my
choice for Foolanthropy 2000. I hope it will be
yours as well."


*Please understand I am not saying my wife and I
are making only one contribution this year. Far from
it. It's just that GF-USA will be our most
Foolanthropic contribution.

**This is particularly true for people paying income
taxes to the United States Government.
Contributions to most of the micro-credit agencies
based outside the U.S. are not tax deductible under
the U.S. Code. Contributions to GF-USA are as
deductible as 501(c)3 allows. They are deductible
no matter where in the world GF-USA does the
training or sends your money.

***These figures come from Alex Counts report on
the results for GF-USA of Foolanthropy 1999 as
posted by TMFSelena
see also (if the link gets repaired);
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