Commitment will help provide financial services to 16.7 million impoverished people through 2017
Oak Brook, Ill., June 6, 2013 – Opportunity International today announced that the Caterpillar Foundation made two recent commitments to help provide financial products and services to 16.7 million people in countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America through 2017. When combined, these Caterpillar Foundation investments represent the second largest commitment Opportunity has received since it was founded in 1971.
Opportunity International is a global nonprofit organization providing financial services and training to people working their way out of poverty in 22 countries across the developing world. The organization will leverage the Caterpillar Foundation commitments to scale its offering of savings accounts, loans, insurance and training in impoverished communities. Through loan repayments and the multiplier effect of microfinance, this contribution will continue to impact lives long after the initial investment.
One of the Caterpillar Foundation commitments is focused on growth in Africa. The three-year, $10 million investment, of which $2.5 million was paid out in 2012, will help Opportunity International give millions access to small business loans, savings and financial training across nine countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The second commitment is a three-year, approximately $9.2 million dollar investment. Nearly $3.8 million of that grant was paid in 2012. This investment will help Opportunity International develop new strategies for Indonesia and Brazil, and grow its outreach in India, China and the Philippines. When both commitments are fully realized in 2014, they total about $19.2 million.
“Caterpillar is proud to support this initiative to help move the needle on poverty,” said Michele Sullivan, President of the Caterpillar Foundation. “I know our ongoing partnership with Opportunity International is making a difference. During my recent trip to Uganda with Opportunity, I clearly saw the transformation of many lives. Sustainable impact could be seen from the tailor getting a small business loan to purchase more textiles to expand her business and educate her children, to the farmer who used the loan to dramatically increase his income and better provide for his family. I also talked to people who have peace of mind for the future because they are taking advantage of other Opportunity financial offerings such as savings accounts and insurance. Our partnership with this organization is improving lives and giving opportunities to those who need them most.”
The Caterpillar Foundation has a long-standing history of contributing to the quality of life, prosperity, and sustainability in the communities they serve. Since 1994, it has supported Opportunity International in transforming millions of lives through microfinance services around the world. This support has allowed Opportunity to create jobs, equip farmers to feed more people, provide vulnerable children with a hopeful future and help low-income communities thrive. Opportunity estimates that nearly 18.3 million lives will be improved as a result of grants received from the Caterpillar Foundation from 1994 to 2014, which total nearly $30 million.
“With nearly 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day, the Caterpillar Foundation’s support is vital to helping Opportunity bring life-sustaining empowerment through financial services to the poor, including educating children, and offering agri-finance, business and financial literacy training; all of which contribute to the long-term growth of families, communities and nations,” said Vicki Escarra, CEO of Opportunity International and Global Microfinance Organization (GMO). “We are deeply grateful for the Caterpillar Foundation’s generosity and commitment to reducing extreme poverty. This commitment confirms we’re continuing to build positive momentum and expand our reach around the world.”
About Caterpillar Foundation
Caterpillar supports the philanthropic efforts of the Caterpillar Foundation. Founded in 1952, the Caterpillar Foundation has contributed more than $500 million to help make sustainable progress possible around the world by providing program support in the areas of environmental sustainability, access to education and basic human needs. To learn more about the global impact of the Caterpillar Foundation, please visit www.caterpillar.com/foundation.
About Opportunity International
Opportunity International provides access to savings, small business loans, insurance and training to over five million people working their way out of poverty in the developing world. Clients in over 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 http://opportunity.org or join the conversation at http://facebook.com/opportunityintl and http://twitter.com/opportunityintl.
VP of Communications