What We’re Reading: Dynamic Duos Champion Our Microfinance Work from St. Louis
Every Wednesday, we highlight an article, book or a blog in our “What We’re Reading” series. We feature works that are noteworthy, inspiring, educational or relevant to the work we do at Opportunity. We welcome your comments in the comment field below–-tell us what you’re reading, or respond to the piece we’ve highlighted. The following post is from our winter Impact newsletter, which you can find here. The piece is full of examples of how and why our supporters work so tirelessly to support our efforts to fight poverty through microfinance.
Rich McClure and Sharon Buchanan-McClure of St. Louis smile as they recall their then college-age daughter’s challenge to them after returning from a mission trip in West Africa. “You all have wonderful domestic causes you support,” she said, “but the way you think about giving is way too narrow–you need to broaden your perspective.”
Richard and Sharon took the challenge to heart, and through a combination of “chance” meetings and due diligence were led to Opportunity International.
For another St. Louis couple, Tom and Jill Moller, the Opportunity relationship began with talks with their regional director and participation in a 2008 conference. Says Jill, “That event affirmed what we thought about Opportunity and had a lot of impact on my spiritual journey. As we saw how Opportunity could interface with the mission work we do in western Kenya, our passion just grew.”
Both couples made Insight Tripsto Kenya, where they were deeply affected by the clients they met.Richard and Sharon will never forget Faith Njuguna, who has built and operated a two-story Christian school with loans from Opportunity. “Faith’s commitment, love and integrity permeate the entire school,” says Sharon. “She is impacting the future of a new generation of Kenyans.”
Tom and Jill visited a client who operates a small produce stand. “Despite our protests, she insisted on giving us a bunch of bananas,” Jill recalls. “She told us, ‘This is my gift. Bless you.’” Jill says that going to Africa and helping through Opportunity significantly changed her and Tom’s worldview, and showed them that individuals can make a difference.
“The Lord led us to Opportunity,” says Jill. “We had never had a heart for the poor before. Once you do, Opportunity gives you a vehicle to express your compassion.” In addition to their annual gifts, the Mollers and McClures support Opportunity by hosting international visitors and attending Opportunity conferences. Rich has introduced Opportunity to several prospective corporate partners and has been instrumental in advancing our agricultural finance programin Africa. This fall, the couples jointly hosted an Opportunity event in the McClures’ home, speaking to guests about different aspects of our programs.
“Thanks to model [members of the Board of] Governors such as the Mollers and McClures,” says John Kamperschroer, vice president, resource development, “Opportunity’s work is being championed in St. Louis and beyond.”