We invest
in education

Providing schools with financing to increase capacity and offering parents loans to keep their children in school.

Read about how Betty is educating her three children

We support

Developing innovative agricultural finance tools and technical know-how that allow farmers to improve crop yields and generate profits.

Read about how Betty has moved from subsistence to commercial farming

We believe
in women

Empowering women to build
their businesses, because they reinvest 90 percent of their earnings into their families, deepening the impact of our investment.

Read about Betty’s impact in her community

We harness

Building innovative tools that extend our reach to the most remote communities, secure our clients’ hard-earned capital and increase operational efficiency.

Read about how Betty is using technology on her farm

We develop

Supporting and cultivating our local staff with professional development and training to help them better serve our clients.

Read about Betty’s relationship with her loan officer Nicholas

A Message from Vicki Escarra

Inspiring Success and Transformation

Dear Friends,

This has been an incredibly inspiring first year for me since joining the Opportunity International team in September 2012. I have come to know a caring and generous community of partners who faithfully serve the world’s most vulnerable people. I have also seen the incredible global reach of Opportunity International that provides services to people in 23 countries and employs more than 17,000 people. With your partnership, our clients are working their way out of poverty, strengthening their families and building vibrant communities.

It was a privilege to travel to 10 countries this year to meet and talk with many clients, employees and partners. I'll share highlights from three visits that illuminate the great value of our partnerships.

I first traveled to Uganda with Michele Sullivan, President of the Caterpillar Foundation (CAT), to see the work they generously support. In addition to receiving Opportunity loans for their farms, our Ugandan farmers are now able to improve their crop yields thanks to a tailored set of agriculture services, including precise guidance on the most effective use of fertilizer, seeds and other best practices, including a cell phone application we use to GPS-map their farmland.

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The Opportunity Loan Cycle

Opportunity International helps clients break free of the cycle of poverty and move into a sustainable cycle of success.

We provide more than loans. From a foundation of faith-based values, we provide holistic, transformative products and services that empower our clients to create lasting change for their families and their communities. Supported by partners like you, this model brings us closer to our vision of a world in which all people have the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families.

Our Network

Opportunity International is a global leader in providing a full spectrum of financial services and training to individuals and communities in some of the most hard-to-reach areas of the developing world. Established 42 years ago, Opportunity now operates financial institutions in urban and rural areas of 23 developing countries.




Democratic Republic of
the Congo

South Africa


United States
United Kingdom

Financial Highlights

2012 by the numbers

Active Loan
Loan Repayment
Average Savings
Average First
Trust Group

Opportunity International raises funds from many sources, some traditional and some unique for nonprofits. From traditional sources, Opportunity International receives charitable gifts and government grants, which it sends to its Implementing Members in the form of grants, loans and equity investments. A portion of these funds is also used for fundraising and G&A activities. In addition to these sources of funds, Opportunity raises equity and debt from third parties for its Implementing Members that are directly invested in these organizations, shown in third-party investments above.

Igniting Transformational Change

Entrepreneurs have the Power to
Change Everything.

As an Opportunity International partner, you are giving hardworking people the chance to realize their dreams. You are helping to connect loan officers to entrepreneurs with plans for the future. When Opportunity clients see the possibilities laid out before them, their creativity and drive are unleashed. They begin to transform their communities. They are changing the rules, habits and expectations and building sustainable, flourishing businesses. Their neighbors are taking notice, admiring their progress and getting involved.

Thanks to your support of clients like Betty, she becomes unstoppable. By providing capital, services and training to clients around the world, Opportunity empowers people to work their way out of poverty and improve their lives.


A world in which all people have the opportunity to provide for their families and build a fulfilling life.


To empower people to work their way out of chronic poverty, transforming their lives, their children’s futures and their communities.


To respond to Jesus Christ’s call to love and serve the poor.

Meet our Clients

Jolly Naima
& Faluwa Nakayiza

Jolly Naima always dreamed of owning a salon. A few months after she decided to start a business...

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Federico Rodriguez Bastos

A guerilla war in rural Colombia drove Federico Rodriguez Bastos out of his hometown, forcing him to leave behind his only asset – his land.

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Before receiving a small loan from Opportunity India, Saleha and her husband Mujib struggled to make ends meet.

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Justine Nassali

Mother to 11 children, Justine Nassali lives on the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda, where more than one meal a day is a luxury and education is a mere dream.

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Evans Ssenabulya

Everyone who knows Evans Ssenabulya knows about his passion to help children in his community.

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Beatha Iribagiza

We often think of courage as the will to take action, but for one Opportunity International client, her greatest act of courage came in the moment she chose to stay still.

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As a child, Myrna dreamed of becoming a teacher, but at 16 she was forced to leave school to work as a maid to help support her family.

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Deepa and Valamarthi

After transforming her life with the help of Opportunity India, former loan client Valamarthi became a loan officer.

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Jairo Garcia Cardenas

Having learned the art of working with leather, passed from father to son, generation after generation, Jairo Garcia Cardenas is a talented craftsman...

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Patrick Pande

Just nine months after leaving a low-paying job in politics, Patrick Pande is operating a thriving sugarcane farm.

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Danny and Duver

Duver Sua grew up in a Bogota neighborhood riddled with rampant drug activity. Wanting a brighter future, he became the first of his family to finish high school...

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Maria Fanny Martinez

Desperate for income, Maria Fanny Martinez left her native Colombia in search of work in Venezuela.

Read more

Our Leadership

Board of Directors

  • Katéy Assem
    Executive Director, Chicago
    State University Foundation
  • Steven D. Cosler
    Operating Partner, Water
    Street Healthcare Partners
  • Sandra Davis
    CEO, MDA Leadership
  • Vicki Escarra
    CEO, Opportunity International
  • Peter King AO
    Former CEO,
    John Fairfax Group
  • Mark Linsz
    CFO Risk Executive,
    Bank of America
  • Barbara Lupient
    Chairman of the Board,
    Lupient Companies
  • Ted Moser
    Senior Manager,
  • Jane Nelson
    Former Vice President,
    Bank of America
  • Elizabeth S. Perdue
    Partner, Morgan, Lewis
    & Bockius
  • Karen Robinson Cope
    Executive Vice President,
  • Herve L. Sarteau
    Former Senior Partner,
    CarVal Investors/Cargill Inc.
  • David L. Simms
    Board Chair, Opportunity
    International Network
  • Beth Johnston Stephenson
    Founding Partner, Willis Stein
    & Partners
  • Mark A. Thompson
    Chief Manager, Riverbridge
    Partners, LLC
  • Peter Thorrington
    Former President & COO,
    Uti Worldwide Inc.
  • David M. Tolmie
    Senior Partner, The Edgewater
  • Kadita "A.T." Tshibaka
    Former International Banker,
    Citigroup and Lloyds Banking

Executive Team

  • Vicki Escarra
    Chief Executive Officer
  • Sheila Schwartz
    Chief Philanthropic Officer
  • Dennis Ripley
    Chief Business Development
  • Harry Turner
    Chief Operations Officer
  • Connie Stryjak
    Chief Human Resources Officer
  • Steve Lavey
    Chief Financial Officer
  • Deborah Bowker
    SVP, Marketing
    & Communications
  • Jim Pedersen
    SVP & General Counsel
  • David Simms
    Head of Strategy & Network
  • Steve Williams
    Head of Audit

Strategic Partners

  • AfriCap
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Blue Orchard Finance
  • Caterpillar Foundation
  • Citi Foundation
  • Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
  • Credit Suisse
  • Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc.
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Habitat for Humanity International
  • IDP Foundation, Inc.
  • Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
  • Internation Finance Corporation (IFC)
  • Internation Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
  • Internation Justice Mission (IJM)
  • John Deere Foundation
  • The MasterCard Foundation
  • Millenium Villages
  • Monsanto Company
  • Omidyar Network
  • Oracle
  • UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)
  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • UPS
  • Western Union
  • The World Bank

Our Partners

John Deere

Thousands of farmers now have the chance to move beyond subsistence farming into commercially active agri-business across Africa thanks to support from the John Deere Foundation. Our partnership helped Opportunity reach smallholder farmers who also received training in modern farming techniques and gained access to new markets for their crops.

Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse helped Opportunity banks in underserved regions reach millions by funding expanded professional development opportunities for bank staff and the deployment of innovative banking technologies such as the electronic wallet. This support helps us build staff skills and use cutting-edge technology to reach more clients at a lower cost.


A valued partner for 20 years, the Caterpillar Foundation has helped millions of Opportunity clients around the world open savings accounts and small business loans and receive vital financial training. By 2017, our partnership will impact more than 18.3 million lives.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Opportunity continued our partnership with The MasterCard Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to extend financial services to rural areas in five sub-Saharan African countries. Since 2009, the project has disbursed 125,000 agricultural loans totaling $29 million.

A Message from the U.S. Chairman of the Board

Dear Friends,

2012 was a pivotal year for Opportunity International. Our new CEO Vicki Escarra joined us and immediately instilled a sense of boldness, urgency and focus. Together, by the grace of God, we are renewed. As Chairman of our U.S. Board, I feel gratified each day with the camaraderie and courage of our deliberations and decisions.

We are building on the strength and faith of a committed community of donors. We are confident in our mission and in dynamic growth by 2020 from the vantage point of a 42-year legacy. We are grateful for the lessons learned from our clients. We may unlock opportunity, but they fulfill their God given potential, lift themselves, their families and their communities from chronic poverty and are unstoppable in the face of incredible challenges.

Likewise, I believe Opportunity is unstoppable as our Board and our management team partner and move forward with a bold set of strategic initiatives. We will strengthen our global reach and impact for decades to come. We see a path forward with a unified vision, coordinated and dynamic fundraising, increased visibility for our cause and—most important—measurably increasing impact for our clients.

We are truly blessed in this mission and in the full richness of our partnerships.