Gates, MasterCard Foundations Give $16M for Microfinancing in Africa

Feb 2010
, February, 24 2010 - The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is partnering with the MasterCard Foundation to award a joint grant of $16 million to Oak Brook, Ill.-based Opportunity International.

The grant will allow the international nonprofit to expand its microfinance services in Africa. Based in the southeastern nation of Malawi, the program has served 250,000 people. The new five-year grant will allow Opportunity International to expand into a total of five countries and serve an estimated 1.4 million more people, most of whom live in rural areas.

Each of the foundations is contributing $8 million to the program. The Gates Foundation posted its portion of the pledge to its website in September.

The MasterCard Foundation is based in Toronto, Ontario, and funds microfinance and youth education programs. The foundation was established with a donation of corporate shares from MasterCard Worldwide (NYSE: MA) at the time of its initial public offering in 2006. The foundation is separate from the New York City-based credit card company.

The MasterCard Foundation has assets of more than $2 billion.

Based in Seattle, the Gates Foundation is the world’s largest philanthropic foundation, with more than $33.5 billion in assets. In 2009, the Gates Foundation made 21 grants worth about $112 million to programs providing financial services for the world’s poor.

Source : Business Journal

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