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97. Teaching People to Fish & Putting Investment Over Charitable Dissonance with Jessica Jackley
Episode 9720th December 2021 • Gravity • Brett Kaufman
00:00:00 01:00:03

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Jessica Jackley is the Co-founder of Kiva and a leader in the groundbreaking microloan movement that’s now helping people everywhere lift themselves out of poverty on a constant basis. Kiva alone is responsible for over $1.5 billion in loans facilitated to date – and that number doesn’t even account for all the work done by the many similar organizations it has inspired since its launch. 

Growing up in Pittsburgh as a key member of her family’s church, Jessica always sought to help others wherever and however she could. She volunteered a lot, but none of the charity work she could take part in was scratching the itch she felt to make the world a better place. She found that most charity was focused on giving money, and is often done with an angle on cognitive dissonance so that you don’t even realize that you’re giving something up. 

That didn’t sit right with Jessica, who believes charity should be something we embrace, both in terms of helping, but also by mentally engaging with it. Crashing a lecture that taught her the concept of crowdsourcing combined with her first-hand experiences of helping people while interning in Uganda ultimately led to the founding of Kiva.

Armed with the understanding that all parents want their kids to grow up as kind people, she’s now leading a new project, Alltruists, which develops and sells DTC volunteer kits that empower kids to get involved in their communities. It’s never too early to start giving back.

She joins the Gravity podcast today for a discussion of her path in life: how did she become such a powerful force for positive change within the world of charity? We talk about her amazing work, then and now, and what people can learn from her incredible experiences. We also explore the importance of family, how and when to push ourselves to take risks, and much more. 

What Brett asks:

  • [02:15] Tell me about your childhood.
  • [13:00] What was it like having a purpose going into school life?
  • [16:30] Tell me about trying to figure out your urge to give?
  • [22:30] Tell us about what it was like to become part of the business world?
  • [30:00] What was it like, leaving to go to Africa?
  • [34:00] How did Kiva come together?
  • [47:30] Where are you now?

To learn more about intentional living, and for the complete show notes, visit:


Gravity is a production of Crate Media.