The weather in Calgary has been positively frigid this week (like you need me to tell you that) and the coldest day was probably Tuesday – the day of Third Tuesday Calgary’s (#TTyyc) World Kiva Day Meetup. As a result, the turnout was lower than anticipated (what with the fact that most people’s cars were frozen and AMA wait times were at 8 hours….). But I’m hardcore and don’t own a car, so I took a cab, the C-Train, walked and then took a bus to get to Melrose so that I could offer you this recap of the event.
It’s a small world after all. And thanks to technology and social media it keeps getting smaller. So small that it might be time to change the song lyrics to, “it’s really just a bunch of little communities after all.” Or at least it seemed that way at Tuesday’s #TTyyc Meetup event at Melrose. The event was in support of World Kiva Day and the sense of community was so strong it was like viewing the world through a microscope. Seriously, it was inspiring to see how many different communities were brought together by this event.
What is Kiva?
Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the Internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.
You can learn more about how it works in this video:
Tuesday, January 17th marked World Kiva Day and Meetups in 63 countries worldwide celebrated it. The members of #TTyyc were proud to be a part of this global event. People from all the Meetups used the global hashtag #kivameetup on Twitter. This is community one.
How Calgary’s social media community brought World Kiva Day to Calgary
Without a doubt Kiva is cool – it’s allowing regular people to help those in need make real and lasting improvements in their lives. But it took an equally cool chain of events to make it a #TTyyc Meetup.
It started when Gary Ellis, a long-time Kiva lender and personal friend of Kiva’s co-founders Matt Flannery and Jessica Jackley, set out to find a location to host a Meetup in Calgary to participate in World Kiva Day. Gary approached Donna McTaggart, a woman who truly has her hand on Calgary’s pulse, and a loyal #TTyyc member. When Donna realized that World Kiva Day was Tuesday, January 17th she approached #TTyyc’s fearless organizer, Doug Lacombe and the date and usual #TTyyc Melrose venue were set. A match made in social media heaven! This is community two.
Jan & John – self-proclaimed Kiva addicts
Meet Jan and John Bacon, self-proclaimed Kiva addicts since 2007 when Jan saw Kiva featured on Oprah. The pair were guest speakers at Tuesday’s event and provided an inspiring picture of the power of Kiva.
Jan, 64, is retired after years of working in the banking industry, and John, 67, is a school bus driver in Calgary. To date, the pair has made 2,184 Kiva loans. Check out their Kiva Lender Profile here.
Jan is the driving force behind their prolific Kiva contributions, and she admits she’s a bit of an Internet addict as well. To feed this addiction, she (along with John) is a member of 28 Kiva Lending Teams. These teams consist of people around the world making loans toward specific causes as a team. The teams track things like the total number of loans made and the total amount loaned. Through these teams, Jan has formed many relationships with like-minded people all over the globe. This is community three.
Jan also described the powerful relationships she’s formed with some of the borrowers she’s loaned to through Kiva. She communicates with many of them via email. This is community four.
Join Calgary Pixel Pool Capital
Here’s the community that I invite you to join now: Calgary Pixel Pool Capital: a Kiva lending team for digital types – social media aficionados, web developers, pixel pushers, bloggers, Tweetheads, interactive creators and app developers.
Sign up here (it’s super easy), make a $25 loan and let’s see how many lives we can change together!
And, in case you lost count – this is community five.