Want to be an international financier, but don't have deep pockets? Kiva.org, founded by ex-PayPal product manager Premal Shah and others, enables you to lend as little as $25 to individual entrepreneurs around the world.
Enter the world of online microfinance. You log in, you choose a loan recipient, you lend $25 or more with your credit card or PayPal account, you get your loan back later. According to the Stanford alumni mag's write-up, 99.67 percent of these small loans are repaid in full. Recipients are small-time business owners--like cobblers, painters, or mobile phone sellers--in developing nations. For them, a few loans of 25 U.S. dollars could mean the difference between a carpenter in Ecuador renting or owning the equipment necessary for his trade.
For more on technologists turned philanthropists, read these stories on CNET News.com:
The end of philanthropy by Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff
Engineering change by CNET Editor Jessica Dolcourt
Read the story at Stanford Magazine: Small change, big payoff