Thursday, November 8, 2007

Natalie Portman Produces Compilation Album in Support of FINCA

People often criticize celebrities for not speaking out on issues without lending any other support, personal or financial. That cannot be said for actress, Natalie Portman, FINCA's Ambassador of Hope and co-chair of the Village Banking Campaign.

If you are here for the music, skip to the bottom, but if you would like to know how you can make a difference in the lives of the neediest of people around the globe, read on.

Many are probably unfamiliar with FINCA, but have heard about its mission. The Foundation for International Community Assistance was established in 1984, and has gained notoriety for their international efforts to provide financial services to the world's lowest-income entrepreneurs, or "Microfinancing." Part of this idea is a concept known as "Village Banking." These two concepts work together to provide impoverished entrepreneurs with small loans, insurance, and savings in small amounts they can afford. This allows them to create jobs as well as raise income and build assets in their communities. The idea of "Village Banking," is based on neighbors coming together to form am economic democracy. That is, as those who can unite to provide their community with small low interest loans. Working together, "Microfinancing" can lead to the ability for "Village Banking." Both concepts, however, are contingent on donations from industrialized countries and the philanthropy of citizens in these countries. Even a mere $50 donation can make an incredible difference in the life of a single person or family, which they then are able to pass on to their community, with the ultimate goal of making these poverty stricken communities self sufficient.

MySpace has joined in by donating the services of MySpace Impact Channel. allowing FINCA and other non-profit charities to raise money in conjunction with PayPal

Natalie Portman has devoted much of her time to traveling around the globe, seeing these concepts in action, while also delivering speeches at university's and groups to promote the FINCA mission. Apple invited Ms. Portman to produce a compilation with all proceeds to benefit FINCA's Village Banking Campaign. The 16-song DRM-free album, Big Change, Songs for FINCA, is available only on iTunes for $7.99 and includes songs from Beirut, Devendra Banhart, M. Ward, Rogue Wave, The Shins, as well as Tokyo Police Club.

Beirut - My Night with the Prostitute from Marseille (mp3)
Brett Dennen - Ain't No Reason (mp3)
Devendra Banhart - There's Always Something Happening (mp3)
Tokyo Police Club - Be Good (mp3)

Feel free to download and sample the songs above, but please support the cause and purchase the album.

Brett Dennen - Big Change: Songs for FINCA