Opportunity International has announced two grants totaling $19.2 million from the Caterpillar Foundation to scale its microfinance offerings and training programs and provide financial products and services to approximately 16.7 million people.
A three-year, $10 million commitment, of which $2.5 million was paid out by the foundation in 2012, will help the organization expand access to small business loans, savings accounts, and financial training in nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa. A second three-year investment of $9.2 million, including nearly $3.8 million paid out in 2012, will help Opportunity develop new strategies for Indonesia and Brazil and expand its outreach in India, China, and the Philippines. Since 1994, the Caterpillar Foundation has committed nearly $30 million to the organization, enabling it to help some 18 million people.
"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," said Caterpillar Foundation president Michele Sullivan. "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."
"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 Opportunity International CEO Vicki Escarra.