With the year-end charitable giving season just around the corner, Opportunity International and the Caterpillar Foundation, the charitable arm of global equipment manufacturer, Caterpillar Inc., have launched an aggressive $1 million challenge grant that will enable corporations and small businesses to double the impact of their donations to Opportunity International.
From now through Dec. 31, 2010, Caterpillar Foundation will match new donations from corporations and small businesses to Opportunity dollar-for-dollar, up to $1 million total. Any business contributing to Opportunity for the first time or making a donation above its previous year's gift is eligible for the matching funds.
The year-end, $1 million giving challenge was introduced earlier this month to a packed house of more than 350 donors, supporters and employees at Opportunity's Fall Microfinance Conference held near Washington, D.C.
"Businesses have come to realize that they have an important, and even critical, roll to play in addressing many of the challenges that our world faces," said Will Ball, Caterpillar Foundation vice president. "We are proud to be able to partner with businesses that are committed to solving complex and difficult issues, such as poverty, in supporting Opportunity International's efforts to provide savings-based microfinance services to the world's most marginalized citizens."
Donations from corporations and small businesses, made through the Caterpillar Foundation's $1 million giving challenge, will be used to fund Opportunity International's cutting-edge initiatives, including educational finance, and the rural and agricultural finance programs that are helping the working poor in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in countries around the world including Mexico, India, Indonesia and China, achieve financial freedom, gain self-sufficiency and feed their communities.
"We are grateful for the Caterpillar Foundation's $1 million giving challenge, and the corporations and small businesses who will support us in our efforts to continue to deliver an economic empowerment model that is replicable, scalable and sustainable," said Bill Morgenstern, CEO, Opportunity International. "Opportunity International provides access to savings, loans, insurance and training to mitigate risk and stimulate cash flow, which in turn enables our clients to build businesses that support their families and fuel economic growth."
Opportunity International's savings-based microfinance programs are currently helping more than two million clients in the developing world work their way out of poverty. According to the organization's 2009 annual report:
|-- Opportunity International provided more than 500,000 savings account|
|clients with a secure place to save and grow earnings.|
|-- More than 1.3 million active loans helped clients to develop|
|businesses, increase incomes, provide for families and create jobs for|
|-- More than 1 million microinsurance policyholders protected their|
|families with life, health and crop insurance.|
|-- 1.1 million clients received transformative training to develop|
|business skills and enhance personal growth.|
Over the past decade, the Caterpillar Foundation has contributed more than $5 million to Opportunity International. New business donations of any size received between Oct. 9, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2010 are eligible for the Caterpillar Foundation's year-end $1 million giving challenge. Corporations and small businesses that are interested in participating in this program can find more information at www.opportunity.org.
About Opportunity International Opportunity International provides small business loans, savings, insurance and training to over two million people working their way out of poverty in the developing world. Clients in more than 20 countries use these financial services to start or expand a business, provide for their families, create jobs for their neighbors and build a safety net for the future. For more information, visit www.opportunity.org.