In 2010 FINCA celebrated 25 years of creating pathways out of poverty for people – mostly women – struggling to survive on less than $2 per day. Through its network of 21 programs in Africa, Eurasia, the Middle East and South Asia and Latin America, more than 800,000 lowest-income entrepreneurs – 70 percent women – can access small loans and other services to create better lives for their families.
Nearly 500 supporters and staff from across FINCA’s global network convened in New York on November 18th to celebrate a quarter century of providing small loans and financial services to the world’s poor. FINCA Ambassador of Hope Natalie Portman and long-time FINCA supporter Soledad Hurst were honored for their tireless efforts to raise funds and generate awareness about village banking and the power of microfinance.
The celebration, held at historic Capitale, was co-chaired by Veronique and Bob Pittman, and Rosalie Swedlin and Robert Cort, and was sponsored by Deltek, Dior Beauty, First Data and Sapient Nitro. Other corporate contributors included Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLC, Fox Searchlight and Moody’s.
The honorees were joined on the Red Carpet by Mistress of Ceremonies Ali Wentworth, comedienne, actress and author, as well as Academy Award-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal, acclaimed choreographer Benjamin Millepied, Peter Facinelli of “Twilight Saga” fame, Jill Flint, star of “Royal Pains”, fashion designer Jason Wu, film directors Derek Cianfrance and Tom Hooper, Florence Welch of internationally-acclaimed music group Florence + The Machine, film and television actress Margarita Levieva, stylist Kate Young, and world-renowned chef and co-host of “Top Chef” Tom Colicchio.
Guests were treated to testimonials from two FINCA clients – Ms. Margarette Nivose from Haiti and Ms. Tamara Shekimbaeva from Kyrgyzstan – who moved the crowd to a standing ovation with their stories of how FINCA loans have changed their lives and improved life for their children. Also in attendance was FINCA Ecuador client Lidia Gonzalez.
In addition, supporters were surprised and thrilled to view a specially-recorded video message from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, congratulating FINCA for its quarter-century of success, and acknowledging the honorees for their dedication to creating a world without poverty.
Four touch screen video monitors made it possible for guests to explore FINCA’s four regions through client stories and maps, and learn about FINCA’s mission and history, and the microfinance industry’s growth over the past three decades.
Guests were entertained by musicians playing music from the four regions of the world where FINCA operates – Latin America, the Middle East and South Asia, Africa and Eurasia.
More than 40 US and UK media outlets featured stories about FINCA’s 25th Anniversary Celebration, including NBC New York, the Wall Street Journal online, OK! Magazine, InStyle (US and UK), MTV, Look To The Stars, Access Hollywood, Variety, Examiner, Us Magazine, The Huffington Post and Newsday.com.