December 14, 2006
CI Notes Permit US Investors to Follow in Footsteps of Nobel Peace Prize Winner
By Calvert Foundation
The Calvert Community Investment Note, Calvert Foundation's innovative financial product allows
individual investors to invest directly in microfinance. Calvert Foundation offers investors a
unique opportunity to help microentrepreneurs while earning a modest financial return.
INVESTING IN MICROFINANCE:
CALVERT FOUNDATION “COMMUNITY INVESTMENT NOTES” PERMIT
U.S. INVESTORS TO FOLLOW IN FOOTSTEPS OF NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER YUNUS
Calvert Foundation Offers Unique, Safe and Convenient Way for Individuals to Invest in
Microfinance in 100+ Countries; Examples Cited of Impacts in Bosnia, Colombia, India, and
BETHESDA, MD.///December 14, 2006///Investors inspired by the
groundbreaking microfinance work of Bangladeshi economist and Nobel Prize winner Muhammed Yunus can
achieve the same impact in more than 100 countries around the world through “Community Investment
Notes,” a unique investment opportunity available from Calvert Foundation.
Yunus and the
Grameen Bank accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday (December 10, 2006) for their work in
pioneering microlending, what are often tiny loans to help poor entrepreneurs start
microenterprises and small businesses. Most of these loans go to women who use the income to
support their families’ basic needs, create jobs, and become more empowered community members. As
loans are repaid, the funds are lent out to additional entrepreneurs who, because of their lack of
credit history, often are not able to receive financing from traditional sources.
the vast majority of financial support for microfinance is provided through international banks,
AID agencies and other institutions, Calvert Community Investment Notes make it possible for U.S.
retail investors to invest their capital in microfinance institutions. More than 2,400 investors
are already invested in Calvert Foundation’s Community Investment Notes, which have financed over
120,000 microenterprises and created over 165,000 jobs around the globe. Since 1995, the Community
Investment Notes have channeled U.S. investor dollars to microfinance institutions -- including the
Grameen Fund of Bangladesh, associated with the Prize winning Grameen Bank – in 106 countries.
Shari Berenbach, executive director, Calvert Foundation, said: “Individual investors in the
U.S. who find inspiration in the important work of Muhammed Yunus have a real way here to follow
his example. Community Investment Notes allow every individual a way to make a difference by
investing their capital in impoverished communities - reversing inequality, attacking poverty at
its roots, and creating hope and economic opportunity where it is most needed. The growing ranks
of investors in the Community Investment Notes are making a real difference in the lives of
hundreds of thousands of people and the communities in which they live all around the world.”
Commenting on the importance of the Calvert Foundation, Camilla Nestor, manager, Growth
Guarantees, Grameen Foundation, said: “Capital raised through the Community Investment Note has
been an important source of financing for several microfinance institutions associated with the
Grameen Foundation. It is available on flexible terms, can be used to support local currency loans
and helps microfinance institutions focus on serving important local needs.”
of its structure, Community Investment Notes act like a fixed-income product that is roughly
comparable to a taxable municipal bond. Every dollar invested in Community Investment Notes is
placed in a diversified loan pool with the objective of earning both a financial and a social
return. The full value of the capital is invested and then reinvested several times in low-income
communities – allowing individual investors to “magnify” the impact of their assets in a way that
would be impossible to achieve through a simple charitable donation or other direct-giving efforts.
The minimum investment is $1,000, with investors selecting the term (between 1 to 10 years) as well
as the interest rate (0-3 percent). Choosing a lower interest rate helps to make credit even more
affordable for communities in need. Investors who elect to earn zero interest owe no taxes on their
Though the 11-year-old Community Investments Notes are not covered by SIPC or FDIC
protections, the Foundation has demonstrated an outstanding track record of repayment, with no
investor ever losing money. The Community Investment Note holders benefit from rigorous due
diligence, diversification and substantial credit enhancements designed to protect individual
investors. Community Investment Notes are sold directly by Calvert Foundation and through third
party financial professionals, and can be conveniently purchased in brokerage accounts.
Louise Schneider-Moretto, manager, Financial Products and Services Group, Women's World
Banking, said: “Calvert Foundation’s Community Investment Notes provide critical capital to
microfinance institutions throughout Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa. This support
allows them to focus on serving low income women through products and services customized to meet
MICROFINANCING AT WORK
The following are four examples
of microlending, supported by Calvert Foundation investors, around the globe in Bosnia, Colombia,
India, and Tanzania.
• Bosnia – Women’s World Banking/MI-BOSPO. Mustafi
Nezira lived in Zvornik, a Bosnian town bordering Serbia. After the outbreak of the war in Bosnia
and Herzegovina, Nezira was exiled from her home along with her two children ages 11 and 8. Nezira
was among the first to take out a loan from MI-BOSPO, and opened a textile business in Tezla’s
local market. She managed to buy land and build a house where she currently lives. Nezira also
bought a car which further facilitated her travel to and from Turkey to expand the goods she
offers. Nezira plans to continue with her business in order to reacquire the home from which she
was forced to flee and provide an education for her children.
• Colombia - Fundacion
Women’s World Banking Colombia. What began as a Saturday afternoon project for María
Alejandrina Vargas and her husband, has become a family-owned business that employs both of them
and some neighbors. With the help of a loan from Women’s World Banking Colombia, Maria recycles
Colombia’s loofah fruits into body scrub gloves. Since the first purchase, Maria’s gloves have
grown in popularity as her business expanded to additional employees. Now she has taken out a
second loan with Women’s World Banking to buy a light truck to transport the gloves around the
country. Women’s World Banking in Colombia has assisted many women just like Maria in forming and
expanding their small business to empower them and their families.
• India –
Cashpor Micro Credit. The states in India where Cashpor works are some of the most populous,
as well as the poorest. These states, which are notorious for their poverty and lack of education
opportunities, posed an enormous challenge for Cashpor. Utilizing the Grameen model of
microfinance, Cashpor began with small loans to women. With 70 percent of Cashpor’s clientele
subsisting on less than a dollar a day, these microloans generated large changes in the region. In
the absence of such loan capital, women in these areas typically are dependent on men for income
and female children often receive less primary schooling than their male counterparts. The Cashpor
model recognizes that empowering women in these regions is essential to ending the cycle of poverty
in these states. With 157,000 active clients, Cashpor is helping shape a better life for women and
their families across India.
• Tanzania - ACCIÓN International/Akiba. Sophia
Hassan Said’s shack stands in the Tanzanian sun amid garages and construction sites. Local workers
lunch at the makeshift restaurant, which Sophia built with her bare hands from scrap materials.
With help from ACCIÓN Tanzanian partner Akiba, the restaurant supports three generations of her
family. Before getting a loan from Akiba, Sophia earned $9 a day – not nearly enough to care for
her three youngest children who still live at home. With a loan of just $30, Sophia was able to buy
cooking supplies in bulk. She bought more plates and containers and stocked up on staples like
sugar. With her second loan, she purchased more food products and expanded her menu to include
snacks and breakfast items. Two years since her first loan, Sophia now makes $25 a day. Sophia has
also been able to employ her eldest daughter, Asha, to help run the restaurant and provide for her
own two children, Sophia’s grandchildren. “If it weren’t for Akiba, I wouldn’t be able to care for
my family,” says Sophia.
ABOUT CALVERT FOUNDATION
The Calvert Social Investment Foundation is a 501(c)(3)
nonprofit organization. Calvert Foundation uses the power of investments as small as $1,000 to
channel affordable credit to low-income communities, working to end poverty by creating hope and
economic opportunity where it is most needed. Calvert Foundation receives investment capital from
individuals and institutions, and utilizes industry-leading due diligence to manage a diversified
portfolio of high social impact investments in the US and abroad.
Patrick Mitchell, (703) 276-3266 or email@example.com.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A
streaming audio replay of the news event is available here as of 6
p.m. ET on December 14, 2006.
Calvert Foundation is a separate entity from Calvert Group
Ltd. and its products should not be confused with any Calvert Group-sponsored investment product.
In order to avoid confusion and be consistent when referring to Calvert Foundation in print news
stories, always use “Calvert Foundation” as opposed to “Calvert” in headlines and
© Calvert Foundation
SRI World Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.