nonprofit org funds entrepreneurial projects in china

Our musician friend Dave Liang passes along some information about a really cool nonprofit orgnization, Wokai ("I start" in Mandarin), which focuses on micro-financing in China. Essentially, donors from all over the world can finance individual entrepreneurial projects in rural regions and help economically disadvantaged individuals lift themselves out of poverty.

Unlike some nonprofit orgs, where it's difficult to track where your money goes, with Wokai you can actually finance individual projects and receive updates along the way. After you get repaid, you can redistribute the money to fund other projects. There are organizations that do this all around the world, but until now there apparently hasn't been a way to do it in China.

This is how it was explained to me by Dave, who came across the organization as a result of his latest China-centric music project, Afterquake. As you can imagine, there are a lot of bureaucratic and regulatory hurdles to clear (both in the U.S. and China), but they've found a way to make it work, remaining legal as a 501(c)(3) and raising over $75,000 in microloan capital.

Wokai has been featured on CNBC, MSNBC and Newsweek, and has garnered the support of organizations like Google and the Salesforce.com Foundation. The exposure has been great, but they're hoping to reach audiences that might be more naturally drawn to Wokai's cause. Maybe that's you! To learn more about Wokai's mission and work, visit the website here.

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