Trickle Up Program Celebrates 25 Years of Microenterprise Development Among the Poorest

Financial Times, UK
June 04, 2004

Business Wire

-- Trickle Up Proves Visionary as Microfinance Sector Debates Success with Poorest People; Call for Papers to Forward the Effective Alleviation of Poverty

-- International Nonprofit Fetes New York Business Elite

-- Patricof, Katen, and Gold at 25th Anniversary Gala

The Trickle Up Program, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to alleviating poverty through microenterprise development, is celebrating 25 years of empowering the poorest of the poor to take their first steps out of poverty through entrepreneurship. Founded in 1979, the organization has worked with nearly 1,700 coordinating partner agencies, primarily grassroots development agencies, to help build more than 120,000 microbusinesses benefiting greater than a half a million of the poorest people around the world. The organization serves the poorest people by providing seed capital grants, business training and other related services through its partner agencies.

Wendy Rockefeller, Trickle Up's board president said, "Trickle Up's 25th anniversary comes at a time when the microfinance community and the media are taking a serious look at the challenges microcredit practitioners face in reaching the poorest people. With its pioneering model, Trickle Up continues to provide an invaluable service to the ultra poor, especially those affected by HIV/AIDS, victims of armed conflict and natural disaster, refugees, women, the disabled, and youth at risk, among many others. We are proud of the valuable work we do and look forward to continued growth and effectiveness during the next 25 years."

Trickle Up will celebrate this milestone at a gala event on June 7 at the landmark building, Capitale. The organization will honor successful business entrepreneurs Alan Patricof, founder of Apax Partners and Trickle Up board member; Christina Gold, president, Western Union Financial Services; Karen Katen, president of Pfizer Global Pharmaceuticals; and Sonia Trotman Frederick, one of the original entrepreneurs assisted by Glen and Mildred Robbins Leet in 1979, who is still in business 25 years later. In recognition of Trickle Up's 25th anniversary, Eileen Fisher, a clothing company, will outfit Frederick during her New York stay.

Alan Patricof said, "Trickle Up was founded on the belief that funding does not find its way to the very poorest. And still today, there is a critical need for a microenterprise development organization that focuses its efforts on assisting those individuals at the bottom of the world's economic ladder. After Trickle Up intervention, once the enterprise has grown sufficiently, the entrepreneur may then be in a position to take advantage of various types of loan products from microfinance institutions. In this role, Trickle Up is truly able to provide the first steps out poverty for many of the world's most vulnerable people."

During its 25th anniversary, Trickle Up also issued a call for papers in the microenterprise field for publication and presentation at a symposium on Innovative Microenterprise Solutions Targeted at the Poorest. The papers will focus on innovative programs and pilot projects that have shown positive impact in reducing poverty among the poorest, or have the potential to do so, in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Abstracts are due by June 30, 2004. The finalists will be chosen on July 31 and presented during a symposium at Metropolitan College in New York City on December 8. More information is available at

Trickle Up executive director Richenda Van Leeuwen, said, "Trickle Up, a pioneer in the microfinance field, today occupies a niche market that many other organizations still struggle to enter because of the risk involved in supporting start-up enterprises among the very poor. Even with the tremendous surge of microcredit extended to poor people, the poorest too often are left out of programs that focus on recouping their investment. Our pre-credit assistance, combining microgrants with business training, is a very deliberate approach that has been proven to work again and again over 25 years.

About the Trickle Up Program

The New York City-based Trickle Up Program was founded in 1979 to help alleviate poverty and empower the poor. The organization, celebrating its 25th anniversary, has helped build more than 120,000 businesses in 120 countries, benefiting more than a half-million of the world's poorest people. Trickle Up provides seed equity grants, business training, and other related services to the most vulnerable people, who are unable to access credit, including refugees, displaced people, disadvantaged minorities, single mothers, women- and child-headed households, youth at risk, HIV/AIDS-affected families, and persons with disabilities, among others. Trickle Up currently works with nearly 180 local coordinating partner agencies in the U.S. and in 24 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Americas to help implement its microenterprise program. Nearly 70 percent of all Trickle Up entrepreneurs are women. Visit

Trickle Up Program
Dana Galin, 212-255-9980, x218

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