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© 2022 Opportunity Internationala 501(c)3 nonprofit. EIN: 540907624.

50 for 50: Partnering for Impact

By Allison Kooser

Throughout our history, Opportunity International has relied on incredible partners to help us launch initiatives, grow programs, develop new strategies, and better serve our clients and their families. With the support of remarkable individuals, foundations, government partners, and corporations, we have built a robust global community that works together to help families break the cycle of poverty.

Join us as we look back at some of our pivotal moments of collaboration over the last 50 years, and be sure to learn more about many of our incredible partners on the Opportunity website.

With a multi-year commitment beginning in 2017, Cisco provided Opportunity International with a mix of grants, technology, and expertise with the goal of improving the lives of 20 million people and creating 3 million jobs.

“At Cisco, we believe digitization can accelerate global problem solving and transform lives. We are excited to deepen our partnership with Opportunity International to harness the power of digitization and to advance our mutual goals of empowering women to transform their lives, improve their children’s futures, and contribute to economic development in their communities," Tae Yoo, Senior Vice President of Cisco Corporate Affairs (2017)


Launched in 2015, The Heart of cabi Foundation (part of the cabi clothing brand) has created and supported thousands of jobs by partnering with Opportunity International and implementing its one-for-one microlending program.

Opportunity CEO, Atul Tandon, attending a cabi Scoop event
Opportunity CEO, Atul Tandon, attending a cabi Scoop event

"Cabi has always provided consultants the opportunity to realize their dreams through starting a business to support a better financial future for their families and communities. We are so proud to now extend the gift of that transformational opportunity to women around the world. W.E. are CAbi is a symbol of the incredible power that women entrepreneurs have to positively impact the lives of others and we look forward to expanding our partnership with Opportunity International to empower more women than ever before."Lynne Coté, former Chief Executive Officer of cabi (2015)


In 2015, the MetLife Foundation embarked on a multi-year partnership with Opportunity International to promote knowledge and access to financial services in rural China.

“We’re excited by this partnership with Opportunity International because of their broad slate of financial products and long record of successfully reaching people in some of the most impoverished areas of the world. Their comprehensive approach to financial inclusion—involving both access to much needed financial services and improved knowledge and understanding of the power of these services—will provide rural entrepreneurs with the resources they need to thrive, create jobs and increase incomes and assets in their communities.”A. Dennis White, president and CEO of the MetLife Foundation (2015)


Through the three-year program called “Empowering Generational Change through Education,” Credit Suisse partnered with Opportunity International in 2014 to educate 530,000 children in 10 countries across Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Laura Hemrika of Credit Suisse, Richard Chongo, translator, and Rob Meloche, Opportunity’s former Head of Communications, visit client Ellen Patrick at her bakery at Mathambi Village, Malawi
Laura Hemrika of Credit Suisse, Richard Chongo, translator, and Rob Meloche, Opportunity’s former Head of Communications, visit client Ellen Patrick at her bakery at Mathambi Village, Malawi

“More than 67 million children worldwide are not enrolled in schools, often because their family simply cannot afford the costs of school fees, tuition or supplies, or because quality education isn’t available where they live. Credit Suisse and Opportunity International understand that investing in education is an investment in the future. That’s why we’ve partnered— to ensure that children around the world have opportunities to learn and grow.” Manuel Rybach, former Global Head Corporate Citizenship and Foundations and current Global Head of Public Affairs and Policy for Credit Suisse (2014) 


A five-year program created by The Mastercard Foundation and Opportunity International began in 2014 and launched an Africa growth and innovations initiative. Expanding access to loans, savings pral financial services, the inograms, and other criticitiative helped 7 million people in poor rural communities.

Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The Mastercard Foundation, accepts an award at an Opportunity event.
Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The Mastercard Foundation, accepts an award at an Opportunity event.

“Opportunity International has done pioneering work in helping the rural poor increase their incomes and achieve up to a 60 percent increase in certain crop yields. This has enabled smallholder farmers to improve their returns and invest more in their family's health, nutrition and education. Their proven, innovative approach will help improve the livelihoods of even more people living in poverty and we are excited to partner with them on this initiative."  —Reeta Roy, President and CEO, The Mastercard Foundation (2014)


In 2013, The Caterpillar Foundation made a commitment to help Opportunity International provide financial products and services in countries and reach 16.7 million people across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Opportunity CEO, Atul Tandon, and Senior Vice President, Institutional Advancement, Simona Haiduc, visiting Caterpillar headquarters.
Opportunity CEO, Atul Tandon, and Senior Vice President, Institutional Advancement, Simona Haiduc, visiting Caterpillar headquarters.

“Caterpillar is proud to support this initiative to help move the needle on poverty. 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.”Michele Sullivan, former President of the Caterpillar Foundation (2013)


When Opportunity International opened a bank in Colombia in 2012, it leveraged support from the Citi Foundation to reach 37,000 savings customers and mobilize deposits from 2012 to 2015.

“Opportunity Colombia’s bank will provide those outside the economic mainstream with greater access to financial resources they need to begin building a more stable future for themselves and their families. We are pleased that the support of the Citi Foundation will enable Opportunity International to expand financial inclusion in Bogotá.” Pamela Flaherty, former President and CEO of the Citi Foundation (2012)


In 2011, the John Deere Foundation supported Opportunity International’s “Banking on Africa” initiative through expanded access to financial services in sub-Saharan Africa. This investment reflected the Foundation’s deep commitment to food security.

“One of the John Deere Foundation’s goals is to help eliminate hunger through initiatives that help manual farmers move from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture, resulting in enhanced security for the farmers, increased and sustainable food supplies and measurable economic growth in developing nations. We are impressed with the progress that Opportunity International has made in increasing access to financial services for African farmers, food processors and retailers. Likewise, we are excited and optimistic about Opportunity’s ongoing efforts to create a sustainable framework for enhanced food security through increased food production, food availability at local markets and family income to purchase food.” John Bustle, former vice president, John Deere Foundation (2011)


In 2011, the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) supported safe and affordable access to financial services in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including savings accounts, business loans, and training. 

“Numerous studies have demonstrated that access to financial services such as savings, credit and insurance are critical to helping the poor build businesses to generate income, manage cash flow and protect against risk. “One of the difficulties in building financial sectors that are inclusive of the poor is the absence of institutions that can provide a broad range of financial services on a sustainable basis. We are very proud to partner with Opportunity International, which for 40 years has offered a broad range of financial services to the world’s poorest citizens. We are excited about the potential of this initiative to reduce poverty and accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals by bringing affordable financial programs and services to the DRC.”David Morrison, former Executive Secretary, UNCDF (2011)


In 2010, The UPS Foundation helped Opportunity International foster economic literacy and improve access to financial services in India.

“Opportunity International has a rich heritage of transforming the lives of the working poor in developing countries through its affordable financial products and services. For nearly 40 years, the organization has fostered entrepreneurship in the developing world through education, savings programs, insurance services and training. We are proud to continue our support of Opportunity International’s efforts to increase economic literacy in India.”Eduardo Martinez, former Vice President of Philanthropy and Corporate Relations and current President of The UPS Foundation (2010)


In 2010, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Mastercard Foundation announced a joint grant to provide agricultural loans and increase access to savings accounts for 1.4 million people, including 950,000 in rural areas.

Melinda French Gates observing clients using the Rural Mobile Banking Unit in Nkhoma, Malawi
Melinda French Gates observing clients using the Rural Mobile Banking Unit in Nkhoma, Malawi

“Access to savings accounts and other financial services help poor people manage life’s risks and take advantage of life’s opportunities. Opportunity International is creating new, sustainable business models and scaling up its programs, helping bring financial security to more people in Africa.”Tamara Cook, former program officer for the Financial Services for the Poor initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (2010)


Opportunity International joined Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative in 2009, helping to train hundreds of promising young African women for careers in management in financial institutions that serve the poor in Africa.

Buckingham Palace Dinner held on Tuesday 10th November 2015 with HRH The Princess Royal. The dinner celebrated the partnership between Goldman Sachs and Opportunity International.
Buckingham Palace Dinner held on Tuesday 10th November 2015 with HRH The Princess Royal. The dinner celebrated the partnership between Goldman Sachs and Opportunity International.

“10,000 Women is a global network of partners all focused on tapping the incredible economic and social potential of business and management education for women. We are proud to be working with Opportunity International, which has an impressive track record of increasing access to capital in underserved markets.”Dina Powell, former managing director and global head of corporate engagement, Goldman Sachs (2009)

 

 

These are just a few of the many exceptional partners who have made Opportunity’s work possible for the last 50 years. We continue to work alongside individual and institutional partners to help us develop and launch new programs, expand our existing initiatives, and continue to work toward a world free from extreme poverty. We are so grateful for their generosity, the confidence they have placed in our global team, and their steadfast commitment to our mission.

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