August 12, 2010, REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Omidyar Network today announced it has committed $5 million over three years to microlending pioneer Kiva.org. During the first two years of the grant, Omidyar Network will match up to $2 million of online donations from individual Kiva lenders. Amy Klement, Vice President, Investments at Omidyar Network, will join Kiva’s board of directors.
Kiva will use the funding to further develop its technology platform, expand its network of field partners, and continue to invest in due diligence and monitoring capabilities across its growing portfolio. The commitment, which marks the largest grant in Kiva’s history, reflects Omidyar Network’s focus on bringing microfinance to underserved markets as well as catalyzing social impact through technology.
“At Omidyar Network, we believe that technology can enable greater awareness, participation and efficiency for the microfinance sector,” said Klement. “No one has demonstrated this promise as effectively as Kiva. We look forward to supporting them as they scale their impact to reach millions of individuals in emerging markets.”
Kiva encourages the flow of capital to high-quality microfinance institutions (MFIs) in its 53 countries of operation. Kiva works with many smaller MFIs that might otherwise struggle to attract commercial capital. The validation these MFIs receive by partnering with a trusted industry source can help these organizations to both grow and attract additional investment. Kiva also supports larger and more established MFIs, incenting them when possible to lower interest rates, reach out to underserved markets, and develop new loan products to better serve borrowers.
"We are honored by Omidyar Network’s recognition of Kiva’s role as a catalyst for change and growth in the microfinance industry," commented Premal Shah, Kiva’s President. “Omidyar Network’s heritage and approach make it a natural partner for Kiva; their funding helps position us to further our work and amplify our social impact."
Kiva is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty. Founded in October 2005, Kiva has raised over $150mm to fund loans for over 390,000 entrepreneurs across its 119 field partners. To learn more about Kiva, please visit www.kiva.org.
About Omidyar Network
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. To date, Omidyar Network has committed more than $353 million to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple investment areas, including microfinance, property rights, consumer internet, mobile and government transparency. To learn more about Omidyar Network, please visit www.omidyar.com.