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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

FINCA International, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Economic Development, International, International Economic Development, International Relief, Microfinance, Small Business Development

Mission: To alleviate poverty through lasting solutions that help people build assets, create jobs and raise their standard of living.

Results: FINCA International enables access to financial services to over 2 million clients in 20 countries in Africa, Eurasia, Latin America, the Middle East and South Asia. With total loans disbursed in excess of $1 billion and total voluntary savings approaching $400 million, FINCA clients use small loans, savings accounts and other responsible financial services to build small businesses, create jobs and invest in their futures. More than 80 percent of FINCA borrowers say the met their goal to start or expand a business or improve their home thanks to a FINCA loan. Additionally, BrightLife, a social enterprise by FINCA International, offers the most high quality and affordable clean energy products in Uganda. To date, BrightLife has impacted more than 100,000 lives with energy products that create healthier and safer homes, increase productivity, reduce household expenses and provide additional income-generating opportunities. Finally, FINCA Ventures, an impact investing initiative by FINCA International, has invested in early-stage companies that are improving access to basic services for poor and low-income families. Combined, these investees have impacted more than 2 million lives in the areas of energy, sanitation, education, health and agriculture, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa.

Target demographics: FINCA International programs and investments seek to help poor and low-income families in underserved markets around the world, especially women and the unbanked.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Microfinance operations serve over 2 million clients annually in 20 countries on five continents. BrightLife has impacted over 100,000 lives in Uganda with clean energy. FINCA Ventures portfolio companies collectively impact more than 2 million lives.

Geographic areas served: FINCA International programs and investments impact lives in 35 countries around the world. FINCA International is the founder and majority shareholder of FINCA Impact Finance, a global network of community-based microfinance institutions and banks that operate across 20 countries in Africa, Eurasia, Latin America, the Middle East and South Asia. FINCA Ventures, the impact investing arm of FINCA International, supports portfolio companies that deliver life-enhancing products and services in seven of these same geographies plus 15 additional countries.

Programs: • Microfinance: Small loans, savings accounts, insurance and other financial services for low-income individuals and communities to invest in their futures. FINCA International is the founder of and majority shareholder in FINCA Impact Finance, a global network of microfinance institutions and banks that uses financial technology (“fintech”) innovations, like mobile wallets, agency banking, alternative credit coring and digital field automation, to transform finance in underserved markets. • BrightLife: A social enterprise providing last-mile distribution and financing for solar home systems, improved cookstoves and other basic service products. • FINCA Ventures: An early-stage impact investor providing patient capital and support to social enterprises developing life-enhancing goods for the poor. • FINCA Forward: An innovation platform bringing microfinance institutions and early-stage fintech companies together to expand financial inclusion. • Research: Customer-driven research to ensure we are delivering deep and meaningful impact for our microfinance clients and social enterprise customers.

Community Stories

41 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

FINCA provides not only a unique opportunity to grow, but also a strong sense of empowerment by enabling women to transform their own lives. FINCA's approach encourages sustainability and introduces the potential of a brighter future, one that may not have seemed feasible before. Through their microfinance program, FINCA is helping more than just the women; they are helping families, communities, schools, businesses, and so much more. Seeing FINCA's work come to fruition through the success of their many clients is a truly rewarding experience.

1 Velandy M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Dear Friends and neighbors who are far and near, I am very grateful and extremely gratified to be able to share my thoughts about FINCA. I strongly support and fervently endorse what the FINCA staff and Volunteers are doing all round the world. Their ability to engage and empower individual and groups ethically and fund the life enhancing in some cases life saving projects effectively to fruition is phenomenal. It is very hard work. Years ago in 2008, I was a member of a team of Psychiatrists and MH specialists who constituted the People to People Ambassador Delegation visited Cambodia and Viet Nam. We visited and consulted with several organization Including National and International NGOs, Royal University of Phnom Penh, University staff, Doctors, Hospitals working with the victims of the Genocide and those who traumatized in multiple horrific ways during the American War against the people along the Mekong River in Laos, Cambodia and Viet Nam. I continued to interact and help to prepare the very dedicated, brave and creative staff of the [RUPP]University the Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh,The Le Minh Xuan MH Center in Ho Chi Minh City and NGOs including the Trans Cultural Psychology Organization, Cambodia Women's crisis Center, Mary Knoll HIV-AIDS Program and the Sao Sary Foundation for two or three years so they could help meet the needs of the staff and the people in their communities safely and effectively. My Psychiatry Colleague and Leader of the Delegation Dr Pedro Ruiz who subsequently became President of the World Psychiatric Organization helped Cambodian Psychiatrists to affiliate with the WPA. Later I was able to connect the Rotary International Leader in Singapore with a group of American veterans who wanted to give back by building Bore well in remote areas Rotary International has a program that installed wells "Make Dreams Come True' [I still have the pin]. I am not sure how this worked out. I lost contact with the Veteran group. I had met one of their group in a Tour Bus In Athens and got to talking about our experiences. I wonder if FINCA staff or volunteers in Cambodia and Viet Nam can touch base with these groups of exemplary public servants
The exemplary record of the FINCA staff and Volunteers across the far flung outposts that dot the Planet are bringing to Fruition the key benedictions from this Sanskrit Prayer that is in the RK Veda- the revealed scripture of Hinduism- May all Humanity be Blessed, May All Vegetation flourish. May all two legged Creatures be blessed May all four legged Creatures be blessed. May Peace prevail in three spheres within[Mind, Body and Spirit] and all around us in the limitless sky, in the vast waters that surround and the on the bountiful merciful Earth that we have called home for perhaps 2 million years. Velandy Manohar, MD Distinguished Life Fellow, Am. Psychiatric Assoc.

Donor

Rating: 5

My wife Pamela and I have made a regular small yearly donation to FINCA since the mid-1990s. The empowerment of women and communities in the developing world that is embodied in the micro-loans that FINCA facilitates is not small thing. Major reform from the top down can be well-intentioned, and I would never say that needs to stop. But that sort of large program approach can still miss the mark. Small changes on the ground, community based and oriented, can have profound changes that will be passed on for generations. There are many groups doing great work out there, and we are not going to question those efforts. But FINCA is one we can proudly endorse and wish Godspeed. . .

Donor

Rating: 5

I have supported FINCA International for some years now, as I am convinced that their approach to helping others is effective, not only in improving the quality of life for so many, but also in providing them the dignity of helping themselves. The concept of providing small loans, and expecting repayment, is crucial to both aspects of their ministry, and has had success in every community with which they have connected.

Glenna F.

Donor

Rating: 5

I was already a FINCA donor when I went to Haiti a few years ago. We traveled from the capital to the northern coast, a two day's journey. Everywhere we traveled, I saw FINCA offices. All the FINCA sites seemed very busy providing micro-loans and training to the local people. This enables them to grow better produce, feed their families, and better educate their children, all of which helps break the cycle of poverty. I was so impressed and glad to see my donation gifts at work providing real, lasting help to people who desperately
nee it.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have recently become a financial supporter of FINCA international. I am so impressed with their programs of giving loans to help people start and market their small business. It is truly a win-win program.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am moved by FINCA's power to transform the lives of the women it serves. We know that when women become more financially secure, it has a multiplying effect on their children, families, communities, and the society as a whole. FINCA does important work to help fund the backbone of societies.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Simply a wonderful concept! I've gotten my friends to donate as well. We give each other donations to FINCA in lieu of more "stuff" for each other! As "privileged white women" it's far more meaningful to donate to such a great program!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Fabulous people!!!!!
They are doing for those who can't and aren't able. Not everyone is able to do that. Everybody you meet is compassionate

Donor

Rating: 5

I believe in FINCA's mission to help women earn a living and make a difference for their families and communities. They are a worthwhile organization to support.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a monthly donor to FINCA International for a few years. I love what this organization does to make the world a better place, especially where it is needed most - in poor and underdeveloped areas. FINCA helps individuals and communities to help themselves make life-changing improvements and become successful.
As if that isn't enough, I recently participated in a live FINCA webinar where they explained their process for making decisions about where help is most needed and what type of help would be most beneficial. All of their decision are based on getting to know their clients, what their real needs are, and careful data collection and analysis. I'm semi-retired from a decades-long career in process and quality improvement and know first-hand how important it is to know the customer's needs and base decision of carefully chosen and analyzed data.
I was impressed by FINCA before, but now I think they are over the top and a stellar organization!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

FINCA’s micro-loans provide an opportunity for women to become successful business owners, children to go to school, and families and communities to become stronger. I fully support this wonderful organization and the folks who work tirelessly to make it a success!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Not only does FINCA provide help and support for so many people around the world, they are also a pleasure to work with!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The work that FINCA does providing loans to help people lift themselves out of poverty and on to the path for a better life is amazing.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I love the empowerment that FINCA has given to women and their families around the world. When realizing that a small donation can change the lives so profoundly it makes me proud to be a donor. That nearly all of the loaned money is repaid makes it an even more amazing story.

1 Henry M.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

FINCA is a wonderful organization!...both as a charitable group AND as a force for empowering
less materially resourced people around the world. They pioneered "Village Banking" and through it, have sown thousands of seeds and changed countless lives. I am proud to work with them on their fundraising.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with FINCA for many years and they go above and beyond.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Finca is a great organization and help countless people around the world!

1 Jennifer Gemmellaro C.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have been working with FINCA for over 5 years. The work they do is amazing. Their staff really care about their mission and I love that they regularly go out on missions for the organization and work with the folks they serve. They empower women and help provide them a path to financial independence. We need more thoughtful and empowering organizations like FINCA.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The work FINCA does is incredible. They are truly changing peoples lives!

5

Donor

Rating: 5

Within the past year, I am very impressed with the passion of FINCA's mission to positively impact the lives of people in developing nations. The stories within emails and the monthly newsletter of each person sharing their success are touching. To hear how a person's possibilities are realized into achievements through FINCA's efforts fills me with inspiration. I want FINCA to do more for people and communities. Please click the like button if you agree.

3 Megan Bertino C.

Donor

Rating: 5

FINCA is an amazing organization. It empowers women in developing nations to succeed through their own ingenuity and hard work. A very unique and sustainable approach to ending poverty.

3 Angela S.9

Donor

Rating: 5

I've been really impressed with FINCA's work ever since I learned of them three years ago. The stories they share about the clients who achieve incredible things with small loans, or access to their financial services is really inspiring. I'm also very excited about their announcements about FINCA Ventures. So many charitable organizations emphasize saving and aiding those less fortunate; FINCA is candid in that they are empowering individuals to start and expand their businesses or get access to products that help them improve the quality of their lives. The Ventures programs that I've read about I think are even more powerful: providing capital to local entrepreneurs so that they can have autonomy over their own IP. They can build their own infrastructure and develop their own businesses. Or improve their ROI by being able to hire more staff or buy more land to increase their crops' yields.

And that they offer financial services like financial education, training, savings accounts, and the small loans to women--when so many countries are still hesitant (if not openly hostile) to women business owners--means a lot to me.

I did once call in to ask if I be removed from their mailing list, as I prefer to make my donations online. The representative I spoke with was very thoughtful and worked quickly to remove me. I've also received phone calls as a sustainer and it was very nice to hear in person some of their updates and know that FINCA has a donor services department that checks in with their supporters.

If you are a student in International Studies or have interest in financial technologies they also have quarterly panels that have been fun to go to. I've been to a few and they were always very informative.

25

Donor

Rating: 2

The administrative costs, particularly for the CEO, have become excessive. I'd been giving for the last two years, but will refrain from giving more until they get these costs under control. Check the 2014 990 form and you will see excessive executive salaries across the board.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 3

FINCA is more than poverty eradication because it help many people include my family to have independent lives and in deed FINCA help Micro,Small, and medium enterprises(MSME) in my community,
Through FINCA my government and non- government help to exploit opportunity in my country.

Thank God for create people who have good idea of start FINCA. GOD BLESS FINCA,GOD BLESS TANZANIA


I have nothing to offer to FINCA but GOD BLESS YOU ALL

21

Donor

Rating: 5

A few years ago my husband and I had the privilege of being escorted by a staff member of FINCA International to three micro-lending community groups when we were in Otavalo, Ecuador. We attended two different meetings and talked with group members about their projects and their participation in the FINCA micro-lending group. We also visited several of the projects: a sewing collective, a chicken project and a pig raising project. The pride and energy of the participants was palpable. The success of these - mostly women -entrepreneurs and the influence they gained both within their families and in their communities addressed important social issues of gender equality as well as economic issues.

My husband and I returned home to the US feeling proud to be supporters of FINCA and motivated to continue our support.

9

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

FINCA is about changing lives, building hopes for a brighter and better future. FINCA loans has touched the lives of many Afghan families, it has enabled Afghan entrepreneurs to create job for them and their surroundings.

FINCA loan has brought hopes to the families and children of some of those families to go to school now and see the future colorful.

Thank you
FINCA

4 Jan_49

Donor

Rating: 4

When so much government aid can go astray it's great to know that money (from FINCA) is getting into the hands of the people who can really use it to transform their societies one small step at a time.

6

Donor

Rating: 5

Loaning ambitious people money to build their own roads out of poverty makes sense to me. I like to hear about women being able to see their creativity and drive benefit their families. That's what we like to do. I think FINCA does a good job of getting money to the right people.

20 Craig27

Donor

Rating: 5

A number of years ago I did extensive research on the impact various approaches have to cyclical poverty and global population growth, both of which I consider to be root cause factors in many of our challenges. Empowering small primarily women based businesses in a disciplined approach to business is perhaps the single most efective way of impacting things. FINCA's structure makes it very difficult to compare to other microlenders. While FINCA was once in a class all by itself, I cannot fault those who choose Accion instead. I still prefer FINCA because their approach not only fuels individual entrepreneurs, it also sets up what are in effect micro business management schools in the form of its local micro banks. Also, for those that are troubled by FINCA's overhead expense numbers, these are distorted much in the same way Accion's are. Both organization have umbrella organizations, and then local arms that are structured as separate entities. So for both, the overhead percentage of the umbrealla is grossly distorted upward. If you look at them on a consolidated basis, both are running around 95% +/- 1% of their funds going to their charitable purpose. IRS form 990 does not reflect this. So FINCA will continue to get my very strong support. I only wish I could give them more.

20

Donor

Rating: 2

I have read the reviews and I too do not want to donate to a charity where the CEO and board members receive way too high compensation.

28 Peter20

Donor

Rating: 5

93% of donations goes directly to clients, providing micro-loans, primarily to women. Plenty has been written recently about unscrupulous microfinance organizations who tempt people to overextend themselves and then squeeze them dry. FINCA's rate for in-arrears more than 30 days is a very conservative less than 1.5%, of which less than 1% is eventually written off. In addition to the individual loans, FINCA's model is to build village banking organizations wherever they lend, with more and more of the lending done by locals over time.

27 David75

Donor

Rating: 2

Like others on this review, I agree that the administrative costs, particularly for the director, have become excessive. I'd been giving for the last three years, but will refrain from giving more until they get these costs under control. Also, why pay board members?

Review from CharityNavigator

29

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

I haven't donated to FINCA since I saw a financial statement several years ago. FINCA's administration appears to be quite fat. The admin expenses are high, the Executive Director's salary is very large, and at least one board member (founder J. Hatch) is paid a very large salary for part time work. I'd prefer to have my donations more efficiently leveraged in a leaner organization. Now that micro-finance is an established development technique there a number of more efficient alternatives.

Review from CharityNavigator

24

Donor

Rating: 5

I suggest that a bit closer assessment of their historical record reveals that it is not so much an “inordinate increase in administrative costs”, but that, after a surge in revenues – from the mid-$30Ms in ’02 –’03 to more than double in ’05 – ’07 (+$77M in 2007), revenues dropped abruptly in 2008 and ’09 (last year shown.) It would not be that much of a surprise if they had in the interim accordingly ramped up operations. It is presumptuous to assume that “administrative expenses” are all ‘office paper- pushing”. Note that they do not have any “payments to affiliates”; I.e. They develop and expand their own in-country core of on-the-ground program managers in the countries they serve, and would understandably be reluctant to strip down their organization too far-- too fast. In fact, their program outlays shows a smoother curve then their revenues; i.e. they did not immediately spend everything as received. With the result that the admin. expenses, as a percentage of program expenses has stayed relatively stable: 13% in 2003, 18% in 2002 vs. 19% in 2009 and 13% in 2008. Given the whipsawing this charitiy (and others) have received on the revenue side of things, it is amazing that they are maintaining business as well as they are.
I would ask you not to abandon these folks now. Keep an eye on the trends but don’t assume that they have abandoned their principles and fiscal discipline when they are having to navigate through this difficult stretch.

19

Donor

Rating: 2

I agree with earlier comments regarding the inordinate increase in administrative costs in what used to be a very efficient program. While I totally agree with their goals, I have a problem with internal costs. There are other charities that perform similar work that are far more efficient.

I have been a contributor for about 10 years and relied on past performance to decide on donations. Then, recently, oh, the spam! I started receiving an e-mail a day! No one ever asked me if I wanted to be on FINCA's mailing list. Then I checked their website, and it is all about donations and how I can benefit from tax deductions, etc. not what good my contribution is doing. Their whole focus seems to have changed. I have decided to donate elsewhere.

Review from CharityNavigator

4

Donor

Rating: 5

I LOVE FINCA and all the great work they do! It really creates positive impact on a global level. What I like most is the fact that they really work towards longterm goals. They are not a simple charity, they give a HAND UP out of poverty and thus educating people how to manage the little they have. Their Village Banking model is something really amazing! Way to go FINCA!

11

Donor

Rating: 3

I am disappointed to see that administrative costs have jumped substantially, which has directly impacted the % going to programs. I fear that this once excellent and inspired program is now lapsing into greed of administrators, with a loss of vision of what this charity was all about: helping those less fortunate, rather than those most fortunate. Although I already partially donated my annual gift (before reviewing here), I will have to seriously reconsider whether to donate the balance of my customary donation this year. I'm sorry to have to say that. My ratings of the charity have diminished accordingly.

Review from CharityNavigator

2

Donor

Rating: 5

As an Alumni to the Junior Chamber of Commerce and a former Rotarian I have developed a knowledgeable understanding of the importance of Capitalistic application and service above self. As a Small Business Owner, I think it is wonderful to be able to help women in another country realize their dreams for their own business.

Review from CharityNavigator

4

Donor

Rating: 5

I completely support this not-for-profit organization. I receive emails every two or three days with stories about how microfinance through this organization has changed specific women's lives. I appreciate that there are faces and names to this simple action with HUGE results. It let's me know that everyone backing FINCA is supporting something life changing and truly amazing.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I love what FINCA does and how they do it! I feel so empowering when I think about how my modest donations can help a woman start a business, expand her enterprise and, in turn, help others. I also love that the FINCA approach is so simple and direct. What a sweet model for reaching the powerless and turning their abilities into an astonishing array of products and services. I am a true fan!