Unitus Announces $2.7 Million Grant from Omidyar Network

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Funds will help Unitus enable economic self-empowerment for millions of poor people worldwide.

Unitus, an organization which increases access to microfinance for the world's poorest people, today announced that it has received a major grant of $2.7 million from Omidyar Network, an investment group fostering individual self-empowerment on a global scale.

The grant will enable Unitus to expand operations and hire key staff members in its Redmond, Wash., and Bangalore, India, offices. With the additional support in place, Unitus plans to form partnerships with at least four new microfinance institutions, and to reach an additional 1 million clients by the end of 2006. By 2015, Unitus expects to be helping 10 million clients in India alone work their way out of poverty.

"Omidyar Network's generous commitment is tremendous validation of our work and could not come at a better time," said Unitus President and CEO Geoff Davis. "We have ambitious plans to grow exponentially over the next few years. Our partnership with Omidyar Network gives us significantly greater resources to reach our goals and bring microfinance to more of the world's poor than ever before."

Doug Solomon, Omidyar Network's vice president of investments, said, "We share Unitus's belief that microfinance offers a sustainable and lasting solution for enabling the poor to lift themselves out of poverty through economic self-empowerment. With its focus on accelerating profitable growth and financial transparency among microfinance institutions, Unitus represents exactly the kind of organization Omidyar Network is eager to invest in."

About Unitus

Unitus is a global microfinance accelerator that acts as a social venture capital investor for the microfinance industry. Unitus identifies the highest-potential microfinance institutions (MFIs) in developing countries and helps accelerate their growth through capital investments and capacity-building consulting, thus empowering them to help exponentially more poor people worldwide. In doing so, Unitus aims to demonstrate that MFIs can be run as profitable, large-scale, poverty-focused businesses with links to local capital markets. As of August 2005, Unitus has seven MFI partners worldwide serving more than 449,000 poor clients. Based in Redmond, Washington, USA, and with an office in Bangalore, India, Unitus relies on innovative financial instruments, and the financial resources of like-minded individuals and foundations, to fulfill its mission. For more information about Unitus, please visit http://www.unitus.com

About Omidyar Network

Omidyar Network is a mission-based investment group committed to fostering individual self-empowerment on a global scale. Established in June 2004 by Pierre and Pam Omidyar, the Network is founded on the simple core belief that every individual has the power to make a difference. Because we believe issues are best addressed by the people who face them, we focus on the how, not the what. Therefore, we fund citizen-driven models that enable individuals to pursue what matters most to them. The Network seeks out scalable for-profits, nonprofits, and public policy efforts that promote: equal access to information, tools and opportunities; openness and transparency; collaboration around shared interests; and a sense of ownership for participants. To date, we've invested in areas such as microfinance, bottom-up media, open source projects, and transparency in government. Omidyar Network intends for its diverse portfolio to foster individual self-empowerment across the economic, political, and social realms, and to catalyze a new breed of business for which social impact directly drives profitability. We invite you to learn more about us and the organizations we've funded at http://www.omidyar.net

Media Contacts:

Robert Lowry

Public Relations Associate



Wendy Conway

Director of Communications

Omidyar Network


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