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Opportunity International CEO Atul Tandon receives prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from NonProfit PRO

CHICAGO, January 5, 2022  – Atul Tandon, Chief Executive Officer of  Opportunity International, a 50-year-old global organization that provides financial services to lift people out of poverty, has been selected for a lifetime achievement award by a panel of judges at NonProfit PRO, a well-regarded source for nonprofit management and strategy.

Each year, NonProfit PRO recognizes nonprofit leaders who have dedicated their careers to fulfilling their organization’s mission. Regarding their decision to choose Tandon among the hundreds of other nominees, the judges said, “Atul Tandon may have started his career in the for-profit world, but his decision to serve the world’s extreme poor has led to NonProfit PRO recognizing him with 2021’s Lifetime Achievement award.”

Prior to his two decades of service in the non-profit sector, Tandon had a successful career in financial services where he contributed to the launch of Citibank’s consumer banking franchise in India, introducing services such as ATMs, credit cards, mortgages, consumer loans, and remote banking for the first time in the region. Citibank brought him to the U.S. in 1992, where Tandon oversaw the turnaround of its operations in California, then pioneered a customer-centered banking relationship before going on to manage the bank’s global branch distribution network.

In 2000, Tandon made the switch to the nonprofit sector, first with World Vision, where he led the organization through a period of unprecedented expansion and tripled revenues over his nine-year tenure, then with United Way, where he helped build the world’s largest network of community-based charities. Tandon’s success in the nonprofit sector combined with his financial expertise paved the road to his current role as CEO of Opportunity International.

Tandon has played an integral role in expanding Opportunity International’s Education Finance program, which partners with financial institutions to support non-governmental schools that provide affordable, quality education for millions of students. 

Since joining Opportunity in 2016, Tandon has expanded the Education Finance program from 1,200 schools to 15,000 schools, impacting an additional 4.7 million children. 

Similarly, under Tandon’s leadership, Opportunity’s Agriculture Finance program hit the milestone of delivering $200 million in loans for farmers and reaching nearly 3 million lives in rural Africa—a feat that will ensure farmers can harvest their crops, get their produce to market and feed their families and communities, all while earning a sustainable livelihood.

In 2020, at the height of the global pandemic, Tandon led the expansion of Opportunity’s programs to 104 total partners across 30 countries, currently serving an estimated 19 million people—an increase from the 9 million people served when he started. 

Tandon attributes his leadership success not just to Opportunity’s clients, but also to his organization’s staff and Board of Directors who have supported his visionary leadership.

“On behalf of Opportunity International’s Board of Directors, we want to express our gratitude to NonProfit PRO for acknowledging Atul’s lifetime legacy in working to eliminate extreme poverty,” said LeAnn Pedersen Pope, Board Chair, Opportunity International. “Many of the economic advances made in recent years have been severely impeded by the pandemic, but our organization remains committed to improving the lives and livelihoods of those who continue to struggle with extreme poverty around the world.”


Opportunity International is a global non-profit celebrating more than 50 years of equipping people to work their way out of poverty. Opportunity provides 19.4 million families with innovative financial resources, training, and support to grow their small businesses and send their children to school. In 2020, Opportunity International and its partners released $2.3 billion in capital across 30 countries and helped fund 8,800 schools that reached 2.8 million children.                        

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