This treehugger's father was involved in a charity that made micro-loans to immigrants trying to start businesses and in all of their years, they never lost their investment. Then, they had a panel of volunteers meeting every supplicant and it was necessarily local. Now, through Kiva, you can do micro-investments in businesses in the third world (raising pigs? selling tools?) that need capital to get started and you can do it for 25 bucks on PayPal. It is not a donation, it is an investment- a great idea and a great gift. ::Kiva via ::Alternet more gift ideas below the fold.
We can't say enough about what Cameron Sinclair and his associates are doing. The old movie line "Is there a doctor in the house?" is still heard but nobody thinks of calling out for Architects. This organization does great work but also raises the tone and image of an entire profession, and all of our associations should have required check-offs. ::Donate here
We loved the Grist Indulgence offer- what an idea for the season- give your Hummer-loving neigbour a gift of an indulgence of a week without guilt. Unfortunately they seem to have pulled the program-
We know, this is silly, but it is fun and it is cheap. ::Canadian Offset Challenge
Our absolute favourite- buy a sword and beat it into a plowshare. Buy retirement for an old dog. Adopt a vegetable- The choices are endless and remarkable. ::Good Gifts Worldchanging points out a similar site at Alternative Gifts International.