Opportunity International is helping to end extreme poverty in our lifetime. We believe that empowering individuals to work their way out of poverty and give their children a quality education is the most sustainable way to transform their lives, their families, and their communities.
Opportunity International was founded in 1971 by two visionary leaders who were inspired to take action by their experiences with people living in extreme poverty.
Al Whittaker, former president of Bristol Myers International Corporation in the U.S., and Australian entrepreneur David Bussau sought a solution that would help people transform their lives. They entered uncharted territory when they launched what we know now as Opportunity International, which was one of the first non-profit organizations to recognize the benefits of offering financial services for people living in poverty in developing countries.
Today, Opportunity International serves 10 million hardworking families in 23 countries around the world. We have big plans for the world: a place without poverty where people can live with dignity and purpose. Our clients have ambitious dreams for their futures, but lack the opportunities needed to make those dreams a reality.
We go where others won’t to give these inspiring people access to business loans, savings accounts, financial training, and community support—all which empower these entrepreneurs to work their way out of poverty and build a new sustainable future for themselves and their families.
To date, we have created or sustained more than 20 million jobs by giving entrepreneurs the tools they need to thrive. With your support, we will reach millions more clients—and those clients will change the world.
Our vision is a world in which all people have the opportunity to achieve a life free from poverty, with dignity and purpose.
By providing financial solutions and training, we empower people living in poverty to transform their lives, their children’s futures and their communities.
We respond to Jesus Christ’s call to love and serve the poor. We seek to emulate the Good Samaritan, whose compassion crossed ethnic groups and religions. We serve all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.
- Commitment: to our clients and their transformation
- Humility: a spirit of serving in all we do
- Respect: consideration shown to all people and commitment to teamwork
- Integrity: living our values with transparency and consistency
- Stewardship: accountability, innovation, and urgency
- Transformation: our ultimate goal in ourselves and others.
- We support local microfinance organisations that provide innovative financial solutions to empower people, create jobs and build vibrant communities.
- We create innovative partnerships to provide complementary services to our clients.
- We seek to positively impact the lives of our clients, staff and supporters.
- Our products, services and training enable clients to develop businesses, to save and to insure against an uncertain future.
- We strengthen and influence value chains to benefit our clients, connect them to viable markets and drive economic progress.
- Our programs provide opportunities for families living in poverty to transform their lives by giving them a hand up, not a hand-out. We seek to help people living in extreme poverty. While we aim to ensure the sustainability of our program partners, our primary focus is not economic return – our return is seeing people’s lives transformed. Read more.
- We deeply value relationships. How we go about our work is fundamentally important to us. We strive to have our values reflected in all we do.
- We are a long-term, strategic partner. We support our program partners with funding as well as much-needed technical and operational assistance, enabling them to reach out to people in poverty in their area.
- We don’t stop with microfinance. On top of small business loans and savings accounts, we provide people in poverty with non-financial services and training to strengthen their businesses and develop their communities.
- Because loans are repaid and lent out again, each donation can go on to help more and more families out of poverty over time.