Kiva is an organization that matches lenders in rich countries (largely the U.S.) with borrowers in developing countries. At last check, $240 million worth of loans have been made, with much of the money going to farmers and other entrepreneurs who would have no other way of financing their businesses. The loans are very small and the lenders get repaid in a relatively short amount of time. From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
It works this way: Social investors, as they are called, go onto the nonprofit's website and read the stories of the businesses. They can choose to read all the stories or to drill down to only those from a certain region or industry or from only female or male business owners. Then, they can make a loan of as little as $25 and as much as $10,000 to the business owner of their choice. The lenders are repaid but do not collect a return on the investment.
It's an amazing story, as seen in this very cool video about how money flows back and forth, though the program is not without some controversy (mostly centered on how loans are processed through third parties). Anyway, Kiva has expanded its lending program to Detroit and New Orleans, which shows you that the thirst for microfinancing is not just a Third-World phenomenon (h/t James Fallows)