PLATINUM2023

Opportunity International, Inc.

52 Years of Empowering People to Work Their Way Out of Poverty

aka Opportunity   |   Chicago, IL   |  https://www.opportunity.org

Mission

Opportunity International is working toward a world in which all people have the opportunity to achieve a life free from poverty, with dignity and purpose. By providing financial solutions and training, we empower people living in poverty to transform their lives, their children's futures and their communities.

Ruling year info

1973

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Atul Tandon

Main address

101 N. Wacker Drive Suite 1150

Chicago, IL 60606 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

54-0907624

NTEE code info

International Economic Development (Q32)

Management Services for Small Business/Entrepreneurs (S43)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2022, 2021 and 2020.
Register now

Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

For families living in extreme poverty, financial stability remains just out of reach. Without sufficient education, social capital, or geographic proximity, people cannot find jobs in the traditional economy. And without resources or training, entrepreneurs struggle to make their small businesses sustainable and successful. Nearly 10% of the world lives on less than $2.15/day, 1 in 3 people do not have a formal bank account, and 61% of the world's employed population works in the informal economy. Additionally, 617 million children worldwide are not meeting basic proficiency levels in reading and mathematics—or are not in school at all. When children lack good education, it perpetuates poverty and global inequality, generation after generation. Studies show 1 in 3 children in low-income countries don't complete their primary education, 59.1 million primary school age children were not in school in 2018, and 28% of girls in low-income countries cannot read or write.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Micro Banking

Opportunity International develops and deploys innovative financial services, training, and support to help entrepreneurs and small business owners grow their businesses, support themselves, and provide for their families.

Opportunity International pioneered micro banking for those living in extreme poverty. As one of the first microfinance organizations, Opportunity International reached people living in extreme poverty, enabling small business owners grow their businesses, provide for themselves, and help their families thrive. Through a comprehensive, high-touch, high-tech approach, we continue to connect families to the tools and training they need to build bright futures for their families.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Economically disadvantaged people
Refugees and displaced people

Opportunity International helps parents access the resources necessary to send their children to school and helps affordable private schools provide quality education to students.

Opportunity International’s Education Finance (EduFinance) program partners with financial institutions to help independent local schools provide affordable, quality education. At the same time, it helps parents access the resources necessary to send their children to school. By connecting private sector finance to education providers in low- and middle-income countries, we are tackling the global education crisis and helping more children attend better schools.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Through targeted, finance-based solutions, Opportunity International helps rural families transform their small farms into more productive, sustainable, and effective enterprises.

Opportunity International launched its Agriculture Finance program in 2008 to help end the cycle of low-productivity farming in rural African communities. Opportunity delivers targeted, finance-based solutions, like access to seeds and fertilizer, connections to buyers, and training on agricultural best practices. These programs are designed to help rural families transform their small farms into more productive, lucrative, and effective enterprises. To date, Opportunity International has helped more than 740,000 households in sub-Saharan Africa build resilient livelihoods for themselves through small-scale farming

Population(s) Served
Families
Economically disadvantaged people
Refugees and displaced people

Where we work

Accreditations

Charity Watch Dog 2020

Charity Watch Dog 2023

Affiliations & memberships

BBB 2022

BBB 2024

Number of children reached

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Students

Related Program

Education Finance

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

*CY Numbers. In 2019, we updated how we measure our programs' impact. For more information on our measurement approach and impact metrics, visit our website: https://opportunity.org/our-impact/

Total dollar amount of loans issued

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Economically disadvantaged people, Refugees and displaced people, Farmers

Related Program

Micro Banking

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

*CY Numbers. In 2019, we updated how we measure our programs' impact. For more information on our measurement approach and impact metrics, visit our website: https://opportunity.org/our-impact/

Number of loan clients

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Economically disadvantaged people, Refugees and displaced people, Farmers, Teachers

Related Program

Micro Banking

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

*CY Numbers. In 2019, we updated how we measure our programs' impact. For more information on our measurement approach and impact metrics, visit our website: https://opportunity.org/our-impact/

Number of schools financed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Teachers, Students

Related Program

Education Finance

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

*CY Numbers. In 2019, we updated how we measure our programs' impact. For more information on our measurement approach and impact metrics, visit our website: https://opportunity.org/our-impact/

Percentage of loan clients that are women

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women

Related Program

Micro Banking

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

*CY Numbers. In 2019, we updated how we measure our programs' impact. For more information on our measurement approach and impact metrics, visit our website: https://opportunity.org/our-impact/

Number of savings clients

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Farmers, Teachers, Economically disadvantaged people, Refugees and displaced people

Related Program

Micro Banking

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

*CY Numbers. In 2019, we updated how we measure our programs' impact. For more information on our measurement approach and impact metrics, visit our website: https://opportunity.org/our-impact/

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Opportunity International designs, delivers, and scales innovative financial solutions that help families living in extreme poverty build sustainable livelihoods and access quality education for their children. We equip families with the tools and training they need to build their businesses, improve their harvests, provide for their families, send their children to school, and break the cycle of poverty.

Opportunity International partners with financial institutions around the world to deliver financial services, training, and support to people living in poverty. Combining a robust network of local partners and staff, industry-leading expertise, and international philanthropic support, we leverage capital and provide resources to support those living in poverty. In addition, we provide training to clients, many of whom are accessing financial services for the first time.

Opportunity International helps clients build social and professional connections to facilitate networking, learning, and growth. This relational support is essential for families living in poverty because it connects them to peers and mentors who offer advice, lend a listening ear, and serve as an interconnected safety net.

For families that live in rural communities, financial services and training can be difficult to access. Traveling to an urban center is costly and takes time away from a business or farm, so many rural families remain unbanked or choose informal options.
Digital solutions allow Opportunity International to reach even the most remote communities with financial resources, training, and support. Using high-touch, high-tech solutions like agent banker networks and mobile banking, we provide reliable financial services to families who have been excluded from formal financial services.
Opportunity International also empowers rural farmers and entrepreneurs to drive the economic development of their communities by increasing their access to tailored agricultural loans, training, and support designed especially for farmers—an approach that will continue to create opportunities for rural families long after Opportunity International's initial intervention.

We also break the cycle of poverty by supporting high-quality affordable private education. Through partnerships with local financial institutions, we provide industry-leading lending products like School Improvement Loans, which help affordable private schools build more classrooms, and improve infrastructure and security, and School Fee Loans, which help parents cover school fees when they are due, preventing dropout and increasing classroom time for students.

In addition to these financial products, our EduQuality program works with over 2,500 schools to improve the quality of teaching and learning conditions for students. We facilitate collaboration and knowledge-sharing through School Clusters—groups of teachers and school leaders who share best practices and learn from one another. We support schools' ongoing development planning through Pathways to Excellence, a guide that helps proprietors evaluate and improve their schools. We provide extensive School Leadership Professional Development training to senior school staff to improve their instructional and management.

For over 50 years, Opportunity International has developed innovative programs to serve families living in poverty. We were one of the first organizations to explore microfinance in the 1970s. In the 1990s, we developed Trust Group lending, leveraging social networks as loan assurance. We also built MicroEnsure, now the largest provider of microinsurance in the world.
Over the years, we built banks, allowing us to offer clients a full suite of financial services; we created, piloted, and scaled Education Finance and Agriculture Finance—which are now leading programs in the industry; we were on the front lines of group lending; and we have been a leader in digital financial services.
We are a listening and learning organization, committed to meeting the evolving needs of the families we serve. Our innovative approach is built upon research, tested through pilot programs, scaled to create global impact, and measured to demonstrate efficacy. We respond to the challenges our clients are facing by developing the tools and resources they need to break the cycle of poverty and help their families thrive.
Opportunity International's leaders use their extensive professional experience to ensure Opportunity achieves its mission of empowering people living in poverty to transform their lives, their children's futures and their communities.

In addition, our corporate and institutional partners invest in Opportunity’s proven initiatives around the world. With their invaluable support, we are able to drive sustainable change that empowers our clients, creates jobs, and breaks the cycle of poverty.
Finally, Opportunity establishes theories of change to plan for and measure success. We frequently review each program's theory of change and strengthen them by incorporating lessons learned through measurement and learning activities. We regularly measure program components, including:
1. Outreach: Who is being served? (e.g. poverty level, gender breakdown)
2. Scale: How many people are we serving?
3. Operational Performance: How efficient and sustainable are our operations?
4. Client-level Outcomes: How are our clients' lives being transformed

Opportunity International works with financial institutions and field partners around the world to equip schools, students, smallholder farmers, agribusinesses, and micro banking clients with the tools and resources they need to break the cycle of poverty.

In 2022, we reached an additional 1.6 million children and facilitated $99.5M in loans to schools and teachers through Education Finance. Our Agriculture Finance work reached close to 160,000 households and disbursed $50.9M in loans to farmers. By leveraging digital financial services and high-touch, high- tech solutions, our microbanking initiatives reached over 18.7 million people with loans and savings, and 97% of loans went to women.

We are a listening and learning organization, committed to meeting the evolving needs of the families we serve. Our innovative approach is built upon research, tested through pilot programs, scaled to create global impact, and measured to demonstrate efficacy. We respond to the challenges our clients are facing by developing the tools and resources they need to break the cycle of poverty and help their families thrive.

Leveraging our existing programs, we are piloting Opportunity Zones in specific communities in Africa. In these regions, we have launched an innovative, integrated approach that combines AgFinance, EduFinance, Microbanking, and more in a concentrated area to accelerate progress out of poverty.

Motivated by our commitment to support the world's most vulnerable and marginalized communities, we are building programs to serve refugees and internally displaced people. By providing services and training to people living in refugee settlements, we are helping families find economic stability in the midst of incredibly difficult circumstances.

For those living in ultra-poverty—the most severe form of poverty in the world—traditional poverty alleviation programs remain out of reach. The Graduation Model meets these families where they are and offers them continued training, mentorship, and support as they learn how to earn an income and provide for their families.

The burgeoning youth population in Africa presents both a tremendous challenge and an incredible opportunity. These young people can become innovative leaders and valuable contributors to the local economy, but they must first have the opportunity to learn, build skills, and find work. Opportunity creates technical vocational education training programs to equip, mentor, and encourage youth as they enter the workforce.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time

Financials

Opportunity International, Inc.
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Opportunity International, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 12/12/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

LeAnn Pope

Former Partner, Burke, Warren, MacKay, & Serritella, P.C

Term: 2019 -


Board co-chair

Dale Patterson

President, The Bourton Group; Former Chair and CEO, Opportunity International Canada

Katéy Assem

Chairman, Board of Directors, Opportunity International Savings & Loan, Ghana

Susan Haigh

Former President & CEO, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity

Joel Johnson

Former President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board, Hormel Foods Corporation, Inc.

Dale Patterson

President, The Bourton Group; Former Chair and CEO, Opportunity International Canada

Carol Pelino

Former Co-Chair, Board of Governors, Opportunity International

LeAnn Pendersen Pope

Former Partner, Burk, Warren, MacKay, & Serritella, P.C.

Fred Sasser

Chairman Emeritus, Sasser Family Holdings, Inc.

Atul Tandon

CEO, Opportunity International

Ken Wathome

Chairman of the Board, NW Realite Ltd, Property One Ltd

Janelle Muntz Lassonde

Former banker and independent author

Jane Nelson

Former Vice President, Bank of America

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/12/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Asian/Asian American
Gender identity
Male

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data