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For Immediate Release

DATE : 5/18/2009

Contact: Rachel Wolff 253.394.2214

Nonprofit’s new approach helps small business worldwide World Vision

launches new site - Micro Charity empowers entrepreneurs through

May 18, 2010, Seattle – World Vision, a global leader in microfinance and
poverty reduction, is launching a new microlending site ( which
connects online visitors to individual entrepreneurs in Mexico, Philippines, Rwanda and
Kenya, whom they can support with microloans.

“We know providing microloans to poor entrepreneurs is an effective way to reduce

poverty, particularly when combined with other kinds of support,” World Vision
president Richard Stearns said. “Americans can now learn the story of a hardworking
entrepreneur, donate to provide their loan, and then follow their progress.”

What makes Micro different? Loan is tax-deductible Donor gets updates on repayment
status, loan impact Entrepreneurs benefit from other World Vision projects in their

Unlike some other sites where visitors lend their money to people in need, allows visitors to underwrite a microloan for their chosen
entrepreneur as a tax-deductible donation. This means the donation recycles to provide
more microloans in the same community. In addition, the majority of Micro’s loans go to
entrepreneurs living in areas where World Vision is addressing other development
needs, such as clean water, health care, nutrition and education.

Tim Sawer, World Vision’s executive director of the new site, says, “Each donation
provides not only the microloan capital for an entrepreneur in need, but also builds on
several other critical projects already happening in that same community—maybe an
irrigation system, or vocational training for youth—that will help a family improve their
lives long term.”

World Vision currently provides small loans to some 620,000 borrowers in 41 countries
through its subsidiary, VisionFund International. Since 1993, the organization has
disbursed 3.5 million microloans totaling more than $1.8 billion. was alpha tested last fall and launched in beta phase this spring.
Visitors can search for entrepreneurs by country, business type, gender, or loan size, and
then view photos and information on the entrepreneur’s business before making their
donation. To ensure timely disbursement of capital to its qualifying entrepreneurs,
World Vision pre-funds loans; a donation for a specific entrepreneur then backfills that
same microloan.

The organization has achieved a 96.7% rate of repayment for its current portfolio of $346
million in microloans, along with providing training and support services to enable its
clients to succeed.