Charity of the week
Nearly 60 percent of Guatemalans live on less than $3.50 a day. Friendship Bridge (friendshipbridge.org) is empowering poor women in the Central American nation through microfinance loans and education. Based in Lakewood, Colo., the charity makes small loans—typically of about $318—to women in primarily indigenous areas so that they can start a small business, such as selling woven goods, or growing vegetables. Recognizing that money alone won’t transform lives, Friendship Bridge also teaches clients about money management, women’s rights, and other issues. Each year, some 30,000 women receive loans from the charity and maintain a repayment rate of nearly 99 percent. More than 90 percent of borrowers say their income has increased or stabilized since becoming a client.
Each charity we feature has earned a four-star overall rating from Charity Navigator, which rates not-for-profit organizations on the strength of their finances, their governance practices, and the transparency of their operations. Four stars is the group’s highest rating.