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Celebrating 40 Years of Microfinance with the “Holiday Fête” in Scottsdale, Arizona

By Opportunity International

On Tuesday evening, Dec. 6, 2011, the members of Opportunity International’s Arizona Board of Governors hosted the “Holiday Fête: Commemorating 40 Years of Client Impact and Transformation,” a 40th-anniversary celebration at the Gainey Ranch Golf Club in Scottsdale. “Opportunity International is proud to celebrate our 40th year of working alongside our clients, staff and supporters to fight global poverty,” Jon Yasuda, Opportunity’s SVP of resource development and interim CEO, said about the event. “[...] [Our 40th anniversary] is an important milestone in the history of our organization and we look forward to celebrating it with the Greater Phoenix community.”

AZ Rhythm Connection performs. (All photos: SJA Studios – Steven Aquilino)Despite the unseasonably cold weather, the evening drew over 100 attendees from the local business and philanthropic communities. The evening opened with traditional African rhythm grooves with Baliphone, Djembe, Shakere and other traditional hand percussion provided by Frank Thompson and Keith Johnson of the AZ Rhythm Connection. Pastor Woody Garvin of Valley Presbyterian Church in nearby Paradise Valley, Ariz. offered a Thanksgiving devotional before dinner.

Pastor Woody Garvin.Special guests included Kadita “A.T.” Tshibaka, a member of Opportunity’s Board of Directors and a native of the DR Congo who has extensive experience in international finance. Another distinguished speaker at the event was David Simms, board chair of Opportunity International’s Global Microfinance Operations, an experienced financial professional and a White House Fellow.

Kadita "A.T." Tshibaka.During the event, Opportunity International recognized local philanthropists who have been key champions for Opportunity’s work in the developing world. As Jon Yasuda noted in his introduction, “The people you’re about to meet have distinguished themselves for their foundational support of Opportunity, the longevity of their involvement, and their tireless commitment to educate others about our work and bring in new Governors.” Honorees included Don Ebinger; Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold; Terry and Anne Guerrant/The Guerrant Foundation; The John and Jacque Weberg Foundation; Eugene and Mary-Lynn Kaulius; and, Timothy and Rhonda Snider.

Kelly Flanagan (center) with Board of Governors members Diane Ruebling & Jeanne Lewis.During the evening’s festivities, Kelly Flanagan, a multimedia production artist and recent graduate of Arizona State University, debuted a short film from her travels to Tanzania last August with Young Ambassadors for Opportunity (YAO) as the winner of Opportunity’s 2011 Tanzania Correspondent Contest (part of Opportunity’s spring 2011 Banking on Women campaign). She shared with the audience a bit about the clients and staff she met in Tanzania, encouraging the audience to experience their own cultural immersion on an Opportunity Insight Trip. Click here to watch Kelly’s film below entitled, “Working Women-My Journey to Tanzania with Opportunity International.”

David Simms (left) with attendee Marco Silver.David Simms closed the night calling on attendees to come alongside Opportunity to help us end poverty. “Our vision is a world in which all people have the opportunity to provide for their families and build a fulfilling life. Opportunity is uniquely equipped to realize that vision. We have solutions of scale, a global presence, the support of leading foundations and organizations, and the generous support of people like you. We have a sustainable model that multiplies all of our efforts.”

A sincere thank you to the evening’s sponsors: Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Harris Bank, Mekosh Financial, and the Morrison School of Agribusiness and Resource Development at Arizona State University.

All photos courtesy of SJA Studios – Steven Aquilino (www.arizonaweddingphotographer.biz)

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