I recently heard of a site called KIVA on the Stuff You Should Know podcast. Apparently Stephen Colbert has a team, so you may have heard of it already. KIVA sets up loans with people in need around the world, and one of the things that I find the coolest, is that it's not a donation. YOU are actually providing a no interest loan, and you receive the money back. One great thing about this is you can simply reinvest it with another group, keeping a cycle of money going throughout the world.
I loaned money to a furniture manufacturer in the Philippines named Mercedes Gabiran. There is only $50 left on her $175 loan request. She was the only artisan I found on the site, although I'm sure more phase in and out. I wish I could see some of the completed furniture, but in the background of the posted picture you can see some beautifully carved wooden slabs.
What an amazing idea, and a great way to engage with other artisans around the world!