Levi Strauss Foundation Awards $75,000 Grant to Opportunity International
Will offer microinsurance programs to more poor people in the developing world
OAK BROOK, Ill., (October 11, 2006) – Opportunity International, a leading global provider of microfinance services, today announced a $75,000 grant from the Levi Strauss Foundation to support the expansion of Opportunity International’s microinsurance initiatives in the Philippines. Opportunity International offers small business loans, insurance, savings services and training to poor people around the world.
Since 2002, Opportunity International has developed insurance products and currently has 600,000 active insurance policies covering more than three million people in 10 countries, including Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, Mexico, Philippines, Ghana, Montenegro, Mozambique, Serbia and Zimbabwe.
The goal of Opportunity International’s Micro Insurance Agency is to create products that assist families affected by unexpected losses such as a death in the family, illness or natural disaster that can wipe out their limited assets. Opportunity International’s model for microinsurance has been recognized as a best practice by the World Bank and the International Labor Organization, an agency of the United Nations. The organization hopes to insure more than six million lives by 2016.
“We are delighted to partner with the Levi Strauss Foundation on this very important initiative,” said Christopher Crane, chief executive officer of Opportunity International. “This grant will aid us in developing insurance options for the poorest of the world’s poor, which will protect the meager assets these people have worked so hard to realize. As we’ve seen during disasters in Asia and elsewhere, it only takes a minute for a life to change. Microinsurance can protect what little resources people may have.”
“While everyone needs an income to get by, we believe that it is the long-term development of assets that will effectively lift families from cycles of intergenerational poverty. Such precious assets also need to be protected, and this is where microinsurance fills a critical need,” said Sharon Tan, program director, Levi Strauss Foundation. “We are delighted to partner with Opportunity International as it is a global leader in microfinance and a pioneer in microinsurance.”
About the Levi Strauss Foundation
Established in 1952, the Levi Strauss Foundation has an annual global grant budget of about $10 million. It has three global giving areas where it seeks to have the most significant impact to alleviate poverty among women and youth. These are: building assets; preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS by addressing stigma and discrimination and funding education and harm-reduction programs such as syringe access; and improving the working and living standards of garment workers through a global workers' rights initiative. For more information, visit www.levistrauss.com.
About Opportunity International
Opportunity International provides access to savings, small business loans, insurance and training to over five million people working their way out of poverty in the developing world. Clients in over 20 countries use these financial services to start or expand a business, provide for their families, create jobs for their neighbors and build a safety net for the future. For more information, visit http://www.opportunity.org or join the conversation at http://facebook.com/opportunityintl and http://twitter.com/opportunityintl.