Unitus 'Empowering Women' Campaign Fights Global Poverty through Microfinance

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Inventive tribute website honors inspiring, everyday women for Mother's Day.

When women in developing countries gain access to small loans, they are empowered to expand their businesses, increase their savings, send their children to school and lift themselves out of poverty

Just in time for Mother's Day, Unitus, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing global poverty by increasing access to microfinance, is kicking off an innovative "Empowering Women" campaign designed to celebrate inspiring women around the world and expand access to crucial microfinance loans. Starting today, visitors to http://www.unitus.com/empoweringwomen can build individualized tribute pages honoring the empowering women in their lives, and in their honoree's name, provide economic opportunity to hardworking women in developing countries.

For every $5 gift, Unitus and its global microfinance partners will empower one woman by connecting her to a life-changing $100 microcredit loan. Unitus does this by using its proven Acceleration Model, which leverages donor dollars with technology, consulting and financing to create a 20-to-1 impact for these "banks for the poor."

"When women in developing countries gain access to small loans, they are empowered to expand their businesses, increase their savings, send their children to school and lift themselves out of poverty," said Unitus President and CEO Geoff Davis. "We know that 94 percent of entrepreneurs the Unitus portfolio serves are women, and that empowering these women with small loans will have ripple effects on families, communities, and entire generations."

Microfinance loans - typically in amounts of $100 or less - enable entrepreneurs in developing countries to start or expand small businesses, such as weaving baskets, raising chickens, or running small retail shops and restaurants. Income from these businesses provides better food, housing, health care and education for entire families, and perhaps most importantly, hope for a better future. Unitus provides advisory services, mission-critical business solutions and financial support; including loans, grants and guarantees, to help microfinance institutions increase their capacity and enhance their ability to reach even more of the world's working poor.

Unitus's Empowering Women website makes it easy to create a tribute page to honor an inspiring woman, including the ability to upload photos and videos to help personalize the story. When the online tribute is complete, Unitus will send a paper card and/or an e-card with a link to the tribute page to the woman being honored, with the option of sending e-mail alerts out to her family and friends. A tracker on the top of the tribute page shows how many women around the world have been empowered by the donation made on the honoree's behalf; a master tracker on the campaign home page shows how many women in total have been positively impacted by the campaign to date.

"Great gifts come from the heart, and the best gifts help truly make a difference for someone. We hope people will consider skipping the flowers and candy this Mother's Day and instead honor their mothers by creating a tribute on our Empowering Women website," said Mary Balmaceda, Unitus director of marketing and communications. "Making a donation to help a mother in another corner of the world is a powerful, meaningful gift that recipients will remember for years to come."

Launching today, the Unitus Empowering Women website will run year round, and makes a great gift for Mother's Day or any other occasion. For more information, visit http://www.unitus.com/empoweringwomen

About Unitus
Unitus is a worldwide leader at scaling proven solutions to global poverty. Unitus accelerates access to life-changing financial services for those living at the bottom of the economic pyramid -- the three billion people who are living on less than $2 a day. We partner with the world's most promising microfinance institutions and provide them with breakthrough business strategies, technology and access to capital that empower them to serve thousands more hardworking micro-entrepreneurs around the world. Unitus partners are adding new loan recipients eight times fasted than the industry average. Our portfolio reaches more than 1.6 million families in Argentina, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico and the Philippines. Our goal is to reach more than 15 million of the world's working poor by 2015. Unitus has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and on National Public Radio, and received Fast Company magazine's Social Capitalist award in 2005 and 2006.

Unitus is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, with offices in Redmond, Wash. and Bangalore, India. For more information, please visit http://www.unitus.com.

Editors' Note: High-resolution Empowering Women campaign logo and website screen captures available upon request.

Media Contacts:
Amanda Foley, Duo Public Relations for Unitus, 206.957.1387
Robert Lowry, Public Relations Associate, Unitus, 425.881.2574

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ROBERT LOWRY
Unitus, Inc.
425-881-2574
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