To honor its years of investing in the organization, Oikocredit gave an award to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America at the Oikocredit USA Summit 2013 last month in D.C. This was the inaugural presentation of the Oikocredit USA Founding Member Award, which the ELCA shared with the United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church (USA) Foundation.
The Rev. Richard H. Graham, bishop, ELCA Metro D.C. Synod, was present to receive the award for the ELCA, along with Sarah Kristin Dreier, ELCA Washington Office; the Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, ELCA Global Mission; and Bishal Maskey, ELCA Global Mission.
Today Oikocredit works with partners in nearly 70 countries and has grown to be the largest private financier of microfinance in the world. Oikocredit enables both individual and institutional investors to invest easily in microfinance institutions, trade cooperatives, fair trade organizations, and small-to-medium sized enterprises, making a difference in the lives of the poor and disenfranchised around the world. According to Oikocredit’s description of its financial model, nearly 600 voting members — representing mostly faith-based organizations from Africa, Latin America, Europe and Asia — help determine which efforts to support and decide on the financial return distributed to investors.