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8 Great Charities

$25
Kiva (Kiva.org)
The gift: Help for an entrepreneur of your choice—from a fisherwoman in Samoa to a grocer in Haiti. It's a microfinance loan, so once the borrower repays you (usually within a year), you can either withdraw your money or reinvest in another venture.

First Book (FirstBook.org)
The gift: Ten books to help a young reader from a low-income family learn her ABCs and 123s. More than 80 percent of preschool and after-school programs for children from low-income families have no age-appropriate books for the kids they serve. Recipients of First Book books participate in community-based mentoring, tutoring, and family literacy programs.