Oikocredit USA Names Sharlene Brown National Director

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Microfinance investment vehicle Oikocredit names social investment and microfinance expert Sharlene Brown as the National Director of its USA headquarters.

Sharlene Brown, Oikocredit USA National Director

Oikocredit’s unwavering interest in evaluating the social side of the investment coin is undeniable. Oikocredit invests in people and that commitment permeates our investment decisions in the development space.

As Oikocredit USA seeks to expand its mission in this country, it has named Sharlene Brown as the new National Director. Brown, a social investor and microfinance expert, will help position Oikocredit USA for growth as the organization prepares for the retirement of its current Executive Director, Terry Provance, in September 2012. Brown and Provance will work closely together over the next year of Oikocredit's transition of leadership.

Brown comes to Oikocredit USA with more than ten years of experience in the social investing and microfinance sectors. She has worked with major industry players including Domini Social Investments, the US Social Investment Forum, and Grameen Foundation managing strategic deployments of products, sales of institutional products, and research on the US social investing market.

Brown brings to Oikocredit unique knowledge of the organization. For the past three years with Grameen Foundation, she has collaborated with members of the organization’s staff in the Netherlands, Mali, Senegal, Peru, and the Philippines. She also served as a member of Oikocredit USA’s Advisory Board during the last year, familiarizing her with the organization’s internal workings, challenges, and opportunities.

"Having worked with Sharlene on the Board the past year, I have seen her enthusiasm for Oikocredit's mission up close,” said Cathy Rowan, Chair of the Oikocredit USA Advisory Board and Director of Socially Responsible Investments for Trinity Health. “Sharlene’s experience in socially responsible investment, understanding of the importance of documenting the social impact of microfinance, organizational skills and the ability to communicate and connect with investors about the difference their investments make in people's lives will serve Oikocredit very well.”

“I am thrilled to be taking the helm of the US office of an organization that I have long respected and admired for its active commitment to poverty alleviation and the original mission of microfinance--to focus on the poor and underserved,” said Brown. “Oikocredit’s unwavering interest in evaluating the social side of the investment coin is undeniable. Oikocredit invests in people and that commitment permeates our investment decisions in the development space.”

Brown and Provance are working closely together during this transitional period, given the 11-year legacy Provance will leave behind. Provance has grown the US investor portion of Oikocredit’s $680 million portfolio to $30 million today, from $9 million in 2001.

About Oikocredit
Founded in 1975, Oikocredit is an international cooperative microfinance investment vehicle that seeks to empower the poor with credit. Today, Oikocredit is one of the world’s largest sources of private funding to the microfinance sector and a provider of credit to trade cooperatives, fair trade organizations and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in the developing world. Oikocredit promotes global justice by empowering disadvantaged people with credit. It reaches more than 28 million people through 875 partners in 71 countries.

As a responsible investor, Oikocredit supports the adoption of client protection and transparent pricing principles, and encourages poverty assessment by its investees and project partners. In recognition of its strong commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards, Oikocredit was awarded CGAP’s inaugural ESG award in October 2010. In 2011, Oikocredit joined the United Nations Principles for Investors in Inclusive Finance as an inaugural signatory, reaffirming its commitment to expanding access to affordable and responsible financial products and services for poor and vulnerable populations.

For more information contact:
Leah Gage
Oikocredit USA
lgage(at)oikocredit(dot)org
+1 202.728.4143

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Leah Gage
lgage@oikocredit.org
202.728.4143
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