One of the first institutionalized examples of impact investing was microfinance. Pioneered by Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, microfinance brings financial services to unbanked and underserved populations. Since its inception in the 1970s, the industry has experienced rapid growth and is estimated to currently serve over 100 million customers.
The promise of microfinance is one of empowerment – empowering low-income women and men through access to financial services to save, invest, and grow their businesses and to build assets.
Former FWA President Lenore Albom understood the power of microfinance in regards to how it can transform women’s lives, and her legacy continues through The Lenore Albom Microfinance Giving Program. In Lenore’s honor, the FWA has raised close to $100,000 for microfinance organizations – a fitting tribute to a visionary leader who initiated the FWA’s involvement in the industry.
With the funds raised in Lenore’s memory, the FWA has:
- Helped Women’s World Banking fund the purchase of a bank in the Dominican Republic
- Contributed to scholarships received by women leaders of overseas MFIs to attend executive leadership training seminars organized by Women’s World Banking and ACCION
- Supported the rebuilding of Haiti through Fonkoze, USA.
For 2015, the Financial Women’s Association is pleased to announce that the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women’s Enterprise Development Programme has been selected as the recipient of the Lenore Albom Microfinance Giving Program.
The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women was established in 2008 with the aim of empowering women entrepreneurs in developing and emerging economies. The organization supports these women to access the skills, technology, networks and access to finance they need to grow their businesses for the benefit of their families and communities. To date the Foundation has reached over 118,000 women in more than 80 countries.
The Foundation’s Enterprise Development Programme focuses on supporting the expansion of women’s micro, small and growing enterprises. The potential of women entrepreneurs remain largely untapped in developing countries, where only 30% of small businesses and 17% of medium sized businesses are owned by women. To ensure long term progress for women entrepreneurs, the Enterprise Development Programme’s activities include delivering tailored business training, enhancing women’s access to finance and facilitating business registration. The aim of the programme is to empower women entrepreneurs to become successful small and growing business owners, so that they can contribute to their economies and have a stronger voice in their societies.
To date, the Enterprise Development Programme has supported almost 3,500 women, including women like Jovita from Tanzania, who has gone from selling cakes in an unprofitable microbusiness to operating a successful enterprise that supplies government and international buyers with top quality cleaning products. By improving the financial autonomy of women entrepreneurs, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women is working to ensure better health, education and security for them, their families and their communities.
For information about this exciting program, contact Nelun deS. Wijeyeratne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three ways to donate to the FWA’s Lenore C. Albom Microfinance Giving Program:
Donate Online: Please click here to go to a secure donation form.
Donate by Check: Please make checks payable to the “FWA of New York Educational Fund”* and note “FWA Lenore C. Albom Microfinance Fund” in the memo field. Mail checks to:
FWA of New York, Inc.
Attn: Lenore Albom Fund
25 East 21st Street – Floor 6
New York, NY 10010
Matching Gifts: Also, many companies match employee donations. Please check with your personnel department to see whether your firm has a corporate gift matching policy that will enable your gift to go further.
*Contributions to the FWA of New York, Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, may be considered as a tax deductible donation.
For questions on donations please contact Ria Davis, Executive Director at email@example.com.