In Q4 of 2014 STA Group partnered with Opportunity International, the premier global financial services organization for the poor, to fund nearly $100,000 in microloans, savings accounts, microinsurance, education programs and other initiatives to help 500 people in developing countries work their way out of poverty, transform their lives and strengthen their families and communities.
One of STA Group’s company values is community engagement placing a high value on the impact the company and its people can have for good in its local communities as well as within a global context.
Among many corporate and social responsibility action options, STA Group decided to plan its engagement with the timing of an established holiday program called Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday was developed in 2012 by the United Nations Foundation and others to draw attention to global non-profit work in a way similar to the more publicized for-profit programs of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.
In preparation for this event, Nida Khoutakoun, an STA Group associate, was sent to Colombia to witness first-hand the program work of Opportunity International, meet their clients and share her observations and experiences with the company’s 200 other associates using the STA Group news blog.
Based in part on Nida’s positive experience and ongoing communication with Opportunity International, STA Group leadership catered an all company lunch event that was simulcast to employees working remotely, announcing that during a time period leading up to Giving Tuesday (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving), each STA Group employee’s voluntary donation to Opportunity International would be matched by the firm. This same matching program information was shared after the event with all company employees on the internal social media platform, intranet and through email messages.
STA Group also helped to develop a customized, STA Group corporate landing page on the Opportunity International website to provide information and encouragement to STA associates to learn more and participate voluntarily in the fundraising campaign with an easy to use private online donation process.
The STA Group donation match program was so successful that Opportunity International is using it as a case study for other similar size companies and organizations interested in taking social and corporate responsibility action against poverty and for improving lives.
“STA Group’s partnership with Opportunity International is a great example of what an individual company can do through a vibrant corporate social responsibility program to help alleviate poverty around the world,” said Vicki Escarra, Global CEO, Opportunity International. “The money will fund thousands of small business loans and help us expand our financial services into even the most remote areas of Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. STA Group and its associates have given the world a powerful gift.”
“One reason we partnered with Opportunity International is that every dollar invested in their programs grows to $6 over 5 years as loans are repaid then re-loaned to others in need” said David Dillon, Senior Managing Director, STA Group. “That means our donation will grow to nearly $100,000 in five years and transform thousands of lives and families.”
This is the second major gift from STA Group since 2009, when the company donated funds from its holiday party program to help fund Opportunity’s highly effective poverty fighting programs. That donation has since grown to more than $93,000.
“We want to change the world,” Dillon said. “Together with Opportunity International, we’re creating opportunities for the world’s poor to live bigger and brighter lives.”