Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 17:30 EDT

Pro Mujer Announces $1 Billion Dollar Milestone at Annual “Giving Women Credit” Benefit

October 21, 2011

NEW YORK, Oct. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Pro Mujer, a non-profit, women’s development and microfinance organization dedicated to alleviating poverty and empowering women in Latin America, held its annual “Giving Women Credit” Benefit at Cipriani 42nd Street on Wednesday evening in New York City. Kathleen A. Corbet, Founder & Principal of Cross Ridge Capital, was recognized as “Humanitarian of the Year” and Manuel Medina-Mora, Chairman, Global Banking Council, CEO, Consumer Banking for the Americas, Chairman and CEO, Latin America for Banamex and Citi was honored as “Microfinance Partner of the Year.”

During her keynote address, Pro Mujer’s Chief Executive Officer Rosario Perez announced a major milestone. Over the course of its 21 year history, Pro Mujer has disbursed more than US$1 billion dollars in small loans averaging US$340 dollars. In addition to financial services such as savings, loans and insurance, Pro Mujer has provided business and empowerment training, preventive health education and primary health care to 1.6 million women and their approximately 6.4 million children and family members.

In making the announcement, Perez said, “Poverty is a complex issue that cannot be resolved with credit alone – nor can it be done alone. Reaching this $1 billion dollar milestone would not have been possible without the support of so many people in our mission to provide women living in impoverished communities with easy and convenient access to vital services that are either lacking or simply out of reach. Kathleen and Manuel are two such steadfast partners and I am pleased to recognize them both for their outstanding business and philanthropic leadership.

The event also saluted Luisa Daniel Perez, a Pro Mujer client from Mexico and a 2010 “Microentrepreneur of the Year” award-winner in the category of “Best Rural Microenterprise by a Female.” Following the premiere of a documentary profile piece, which can be seen here, Luisa received a standing ovation and addressed the more than 500 guests to tell her story.

Luisa is a 33-year old mother of two young children from Ixmilquilpan, Mexico. It is a region known for its rich indigenous community where artisans create products using ixtle, a fiber from the maguey plant. Intermediaries typically purchase these products at low prices and then resell them for a higher price – leaving those that work the hardest with the smallest amount of the profits.

An initial loan of US$168 dollars allowed Luisa to start her own ixtle business, where she makes jewelry, bath kits and purses, among other items, that also incorporate recycled and/or biodegradable materials. Today, Luisa sells her products directly to the public and employs a total of 13 people to help her run her three small businesses – a convenience store, an ixtle store and a roadside cafe.

In her village of 1,200 inhabitants where women have few rights and even fewer opportunities for employment, Luisa is also bringing together a group of 31 women artisans to continue the production, sale and distribution of her bath kits. She secured 6,400 square feet of donated land from her community and with the financial support of companies like Ernst & Young and Banamex, Luisa is overseeing the construction of a small building that will house an ixtle workshop for her and the women from her community.

Perez added, “We currently serve 320,000 clients in Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru. Each of them has a story to tell – stories filled with trials and tribulations but also happiness and success. Luisa embodies the transformative power of combining microfinance with essential health and human development services. I am truly proud to be a part of organization that helps women like Luisa realize their potential as agents of change.”

Funds raised from “Giving Women Credit” go to supporting programs in the five countries where Pro Mujer operates.

About Pro Mujer
Pro Mujer is a non-profit, women’s development organization that provides Latin American women living in impoverished communities with a comprehensive package of essential financial services, business and empowerment training and health care. Pro Mujer delivers these services through communal banks, or peer groups, of 20-30 women who support one another and guarantee each other’s loans. Combined, these services help women become agents of change in their families and communities.

Established in 1990, Pro Mujer has a presence in Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru. In the last 20 years, Pro Mujer has disbursed more than US$1 billion in small loans, and provided health care and training to more than 1.6 million women and their 6.4 million children and family members. Pro Mujer is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. For more information, please visit, www.promujer.org or www.promujerblog.wordpress.com

For more information, please contact:
Josh Cramer-Montes
Director of Communications
Tel: +1 (646) 626-7000, x114
Cell: +1 (917) 674-3510

SOURCE Pro Mujer

Source: PR Newswire