Release Date:
Release ID: 637

UPS Marks 100th Birthday with $1 Million for Micro-Lending

In honor of its 100th birthday, UPS (NYSE:UPS) has created a Centennial Grants Fund and awarded $1 million to three global micro-lending organizations. The funds will be used to support programs for entrepreneurs on three continents, including loans to grow small businesses.

Press Release

"In this year of UPS's Centennial, there could be no better way to celebrate founder Jim Casey's entrepreneurial spirit than to award grants to foster opportunities for entrepreneurs around the world," said Lisa Hamilton, president of The UPS Foundation. "UPS was founded in 1907 by a 19-year-old Casey, who borrowed $100 to start a bicycle messenger business. Today, his company is the largest package delivery firm in the world."

Grant recipients include:

Opportunity International: $390,000

With the UPS Foundation grant, Opportunity International will make loans to new clients in 15 countries, including China, India, Indonesia, The Philippines, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru. The initial grant will help nearly 5,000 poor entrepreneurs and will impact more than 37,000 lives, including family members, employees and their families. Because of Opportunity International's high loan repayment rate of 98 percent, the money will be loaned again and again to help tens of thousands of poor people over the next decade.

ACCION International: $400,000

The UPS Foundation's grant of $400,000 to ACCION will be used to give people the tools they need to work their way out of poverty. Working with partners in 25 countries, ACCION will help to extend innovative, efficient and commercially viable financial services to more of the world's poor, especially in high-population countries such as Mexico and Brazil; to expand microfinance in regions new to ACCION, such as China and India, and to extend ACCION USA's loan programs by offering credit to low- to moderate-income individuals throughout Florida, Massachusetts and Georgia. By the end of this year, the ACCION network expects to reach more than 3 million active clients with financial services.

FINCA International: $210,000

The UPS Foundation's $210,000 grant to FINCA International will support its Village Banking Campaign, a call-to-action designed to harness social momentum and mobilize the people and resources needed to alleviate poverty on a global scale. The UPS grant will ensure that an estimated 1,400 micro entrepreneurs - mostly women - in the 21 countries that make up FINCA International's global network of microfinance service providers receive their first loans. With their new-found access to credit, these working women will create jobs, build assets and improve the standard of living for themselves and thousands of their children and family members. Because FINCA's loans recycle through the system at least three times each year, the UPS Foundation's grant will multiply into millions of dollars over the years to come.

According to Hamilton, creation of the Centennial Grants Fund marks the first time UPS has concentrated such a large portion of its giving on micro-lending.

"Throughout our history at UPS, we've found that we grow by investing not only in our business but also in the communities we serve," she added. "Micro-lending organizations are our direct link to new entrepreneurs as they seek to strengthen their families' financial well-being and contribute more robustly to their communities. We definitely recognize the value of entrepreneurship, particularly because of UPS's humble beginnings."

UPS chose FINCA, Opportunity International and ACCION because of their proven success record as micro-lenders, their ability to measure the impact of their programs and their presence in global markets. The organizations also are well-recognized for the financial literacy and business training that goes along with their loans, ensuring that the businesses they fund are successful.


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