WORLD VISION MAKES ONE MILLIONTH MICROENTERPRISE LOAN TO ENTREPRENEURIAL POOR, LAUNCHES VISIONFUND INTERNATIONAL
Financial Times, UK
World Vision, an international relief and development organization, will make its one millionth loan to an impoverished client in August, 2004. Its new subsidiary, Vision Fund International, will enable World Vision to offer micro-loans to millions more by leveraging philanthropic donations with borrowed capital.
World Vision, which operates micro-lending programs in 45 developing countries, believes that making credit available to the poor is one of the best ways to alleviate poverty. World Vision has for ten years brought opportunity and training to the enterprising poor who lack access to credit through traditional means. These men and women, who typically take out loans ranging from $100 to $2,000, are street vendors, artisans, small farmers and others who use the loans to start or expand small businesses. These borrowers make on-time payments more than 97 percent of the time.
World Vision made its first loan to an impoverished client in 1993. Today, its micro-finance institutions serve more than 250,000 clients on five continents. Over the past decade, World Vision has loaned more than $360 million, and it anticipates serving more than half a billion clients within four years.
The World Bank estimates that 600 million people living in extreme poverty could effectively create jobs and increase their incomes if they had access to credit. Financial institutions serve less than 5 percent of this potential market. As of March 2004, World Vision's micro-credit clients created or sustained 410,758 living-wage jobs for themselves and their neighbors.
"The one million milestone is cause for celebration, and World Vision is working diligently to manage and sustain our rapid growth to reach many more eager entrepreneurs," said Richard Stearns, World Vision President. "We have launched a subsidiary corporation, VisionFund International, to manage our microfinance capital and access an estimated $21.5 million in additional capital through borrowing funds by 2007."
World Vision has created VisionFund International (VFI) to borrow money at attractive interest rates from public, private, and commercial sources. By borrowing capital to leverage donations, World Vision can drastically increase the funds available for micro-lending. In conjunction with its one-millionth loan, World Vision is officially launching VisionFund International and unveiling the Fund's logo. The blue and gray logo includes the single word "VisionFund" under a sunrise arc meant to represent the new light and new hope of a dawning day.
About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. For more information, visit www.worldvision.org. For more information on microenterprise development, visit www.worldvision.org/med.
World Vision Karen Kartes, 253-815-2163 firstname.lastname@example.org
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