Service: IRCares

IRCares, the service branch of the IR club, was founded back in 2007 in an effort to expand the outreach of the club. Each year we choose a different NGO (non-government organization) to raise money and awareness for, both at our conferences and throughout the William & Mary community. Our most popular fundraising event is the Developing World Gallery, which showcases photographs taken by students during their travels and seeks to provoke discussion about the way we represent the developing world. This year we will also be hosting our second annual Friend Auction, during which club members auction off their skills and time. Past entries have included a personal training session, a piece of artwork, or a private piano concert. Additionally, we raise money at all 3 of our conferences, while spreading the world about our cause to delegates from different schools. No matter the fundraiser, 100% of our profits go towards the organizations we support. Click on the links below to learn about the groups we’ve partnered with over the years and see how you can help!

Volunteering with Housing Partnerships, Fall 2011

This year, we will be sponsoring microloans in the developing world through Kiva. Unlike more traditional models, microfinance puts aid directly in the hands of individuals in developing nations based on needs they have identified themselves, rather than ones that have been identified for them. Ideally, these loans help boost capacity and allow communities to invest in their own economic future. Kiva works with vetted Field Partners, which include microfinance organizations, businesses, schools, and non-profit organizations making responsible and fair loans in the developing world. Kiva helps connect these loans to prospective funders- including, as of this Fall, us!

Since its founding in 2005, Kiva lenders have made $573,425,700 in loans to borrowers in 75 different countries. The borrowers often live in communities without access to traditional lending institutions. Many are also a part of vulnerable groups (such as ethnic minorities, women, or youth) or live in countries of conflict. Loans can be used to help farmers invest in new technology, entrepreneurs start their business, and students fund their education and each, in their own way, can truly make the difference in the life of an individual. On average, 98% of loans are paid back in full, which allows us to continue to reinvest to support sustainable, community-driven change around the globe.

As we continue to grow, we are hoping to continue to engage more within our immediate community. To that aim, IRCares provides opportunities for the club to volunteer together in the Williamsburg area in collaboration with local non-profits and other student organizations. Our aim is to host at least one of these events each semester.

If you have any questions or would like to collaborate with us in the future, please feel free to email Meghan Foley, the Service Chair, at service@wmirc.org.

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