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Jessica Jackley, founder of Kiva
Jessica Jackley

The Activists

The Activists

Jessica Jackley


"It's a powerful thing to know that you are empowering someone to lift themselves out of poverty," says Jessica Jackley. Since 2004, the Kiva founder has spread that feel-good buzz to thousands of people around the world, channeling millions of dollars to more than 185 countries on the first peer-to-peer online microlending site. "With Kiva, you can choose who you lend to, whether it's a farmer in Peru or a tailor in Iraq," she says.

Next up, Jackley is helping budding entrepreneurs closer to home: ProFounder is a new crowdfunding platform, aimed at helping American small-biz entrepreneurs raise capital from their communities. "The broken loan system in the U.S. is due to a lack of accessibility and funding," says ProFounder partner Dana Mauriello. With Jackley on the case, that may not be true for long. —Emilia Benton