TripAdvisor, Kiva Team Up to Give Back

A new project helps people fund businesses around the globe—rather than just posting a negative review.

trip advisorScreenshot via TripAdvisor

If you’ve ever returned to the U.S. from abroad feeling like you want to do more to help the people you’ve left behind, TripAdvisor now has you covered. Instead of just complaining about the thread count of your sheets or your hotel’s paper-thin walls, the Newton-based travel review site has teamed up with the microlending organization Kiva to help travelers fund projects from the places they’ve just visited. TripAdvisor is seeding the project with $250,000 and encouraging 10,000 of its users to choose projects they’d like to support. The hope, says Kiva’s President Premal Shah, is to:

“… combine the power of TripAdvisor’s crowdsourcing and Kiva’s crowd funding to make meaningful change in the world. Through this partnership, the affinity you develop for the people and places you visit can continue when you return home. In most places in the world, often only a relatively small amount of money stands between a person and their dream to start or expand their shop, send their children to school, or bring solar light and clean water into their homes.”

Together, the two organizations also hope to get users used to the idea of giving back after returning from a trip—and they’re making a statement about how charitable funds should be distributed. It would have been easy, for example, for TripAdvisor to just cut a check for Kiva, but by putting it in the hands of TripAdvisor users, it enables them to start to think about giving as well. The same tactic was used earlier this year by LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, who handed over $1 million dollars to Kiva users to allocate out to small businesses of their choice. According to TechCrunch, Reid “drove 47,840 new signups to Kiva, and since then, those people have lent an addition $417,000 of their own money.” Clever thinking.