MasterCard Foudnation

The MasterCard Foundation enables students to participate at international microfinance forum

TORONTO, Sept 21, 2010 – The Toronto Microfinance Committee announced today, The MasterCard Foundation will provide over 140 students with financial assistance to attend the micro way conference on Saturday, October 2 to explore microfinance with international development and microfinance professionals.

The 2010 Toronto Microfinance Conference & Gala is comprised of two events, the micro way conference (Oct 2) and the micro ball gala (Oct 1). Objectives are to raise the profile of microfinance, educate our community on its value as a poverty reduction tool; and with profits from the gala, support and further the domestic and international efforts of microfinance organizations that participate as co-hosts.

Themes and topics covered include:

  • Effectively integrating microfinance with development efforts
  • Using technology to reach the poor
  • The competing goals of microfinance – economic vs. social
  • Sustainability of microfinance institutions (MFIs)
  • Microsavings, microinsurance, microhousing and impact investing
  • Getting involved

“Microfinance offers new career options for young people,” comments Dr. Carol Golench, Conference Canadian Co-Chair and VP of Policy for the Ontario Women’s Liberal Commission. “It is inspiring for young women to learn that female micro-entrepreneurs are leading this global phenomenon.”

“About three-quarters of the world’s 1.5 billion youth live in developing countries,” adds Reeta Roy, President & CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. “Our work with microfinance is showing us that equipping youth with tools and access to financial services nurtures their potential and helps them create a pathway toward economic independence.”

In addition to Ms. Roy, who will speak at the gala, speakers include: Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Microfinance & Community Development; Gord Crann, Secretary, Rotarian Action Group for Microcredit; Jennifer Mitrenga, Senior Vice President, Outreach and New Initiatives at Opportunity International; Robert Pitfield, Scotiabank Group Head International Banking; Kevin McCort, President & CEO, CARE Canada; Paula Curtis, President & CEO, Opportunity International Canada; Joyce Lehman, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; John McCallum, Canadian MP who sponsored a microcredit motion; and authors Mark Lutz (Unpoverty), Sheila McLeod Arnopoulos (Saris on Scooters), and Susan McClelland (The Bite of the Mango) who will interview Amanda Lindhout, the Canadian journalist abducted in Somalia.

The over twenty event co-hosts include: Rotary International District 7070, Rotarian Action Group for Microcredit, CGAP, World Vision, CARE Canada, PLAN Canada, CUSO-VSO, Coady International Institute and MFIs like Grameen Foundation, Opportunity International, MEDA, Foundation for Women, Miziwe Biik (MBDC) and Wokai.

Location of both events: Allstream Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto. For tickets and more info, visit GALA Earlybird ends midnight Sept 24. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. See the micro walk countdown on YouTube!

Contact: Wendy Bodnoff, Co-chair, Media & Public Relations 905.334.3660,