director Pamela Flaherty talks about NY Citi
is the Citi Foundation and what does it do?
The Citi Foundation is
based in New York and it is the philanthropic arm of Citi, the leading global
financial services company. The Citi Foundation is committed to enhancing
economic opportunities for under-served individuals and families in the
communities where we work so that these groups can improve their standard of
Globally, the Citi
Foundation focuses its grant giving on microfinance and microentrepreneurship,
which helps individuals become economically self-sufficient; small and growing
businesses lead to economic expansion and job creation; education, which
prepares young people for personal and professional success; financial
education, which helps individuals make informed financial decisions; and the
environment, with a focus on sustainable enterprises that generate jobs and
stimulate economic growth while preserving the environment.
In 2007, the Citi
Foundation gave US$95.6 million, of which 44 per cent was given outside the
does Citi support microfinance programmes globally?
Over the past decade, the
Citi Foundation has contributed more than $60 million to 250 microfinance
institutions, microfinance networks and microenterprise programmes in 55
Since 1997, in Asia alone,
the Citi Foundation has committed more than $18 million in funding for
More importantly, in
addition to our funding, we support the microfinance sector through many other
activities such as facilitating engagement with Citi business managers,
promoting the exchange of information and best practices, making introductions
to other players in the industry and sponsoring and participating in symposiums.
Recently, we announced the
Citi Network Strengthening Program, a three-year, $11.2 million global
initiative launched in 2008 in collaboration with the Small Enterprise Education
and Promotion (SEEP) Network. An example of how this project benefits
microfinance networks is the Asia Network Summit, organised by the region’s
Banking With The Poor Network and SEEP in Ha Noi earlier this week. This was the
first Asia-wide gathering of microfinance networks, including the Vietnam
Microfinance Working Group, and has already contributed to improving dialogue
between networks across the region.
Citi has also established
a microfinance business group that works across the Citi businesses, product
groups and with employees to establish commercial relationships with the
microfinance sector to build scale, lower costs and introduce new products.
Since it started in 2005, Citi Microfinance has established commercial
relationships with more than 70 MFIs in over 35 countries in Latin America,
Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, as well as global microfinance
networks, specialised fund managers and investors.
has Citi supported the development of microfinance in Viet Nam?
Since 2001, through Citi
Foundation grants, Citi Vietnam has given VND3.3 billion ($168,000) to Save the
Children US to support its microfinance programme in Thanh Hoa and enable more
than 10,000 women from low-income households to start their own
microenterprises. Today, it is one of the few examples of microfinance
programmes in Viet Nam that has become financially sustainable.
In 2007, in partnership
with the Vietnam Microfinance Working Group and its secretariat, the
Microfinance and Development Centre, we launched the Citi Microentrepreneurship
Awards to promote microentrepreneurship and increase awareness of microfinance
in Viet Nam. In its inaugural year, 60 exceptional microfinance clients and 30
credit officers from rural and remote areas of Viet Nam received awards.
In 2007, Citi Vietnam gave
a Citi Foundation grant to another microfinance provider, the Binh Minh
Community Development Company, to initiate a financial literacy project in Dong
Anh District. Based on a Citi Foundation-funded global financial education
curriculum for the poor, this programme is developing customised
Vietnamese-language financial education materials for microfinance clients and
aims to improve the financial literacy of 15,000 microfinance clients by 2010.