Unitus Receives 2007 Fast Company/Monitor Group Social Capitalist Award

November 16, 2006 Posted by Press Release

Unitus Named One of Nation’s Top Social Entrepreneurs in 2007 Fast Company/Monitor Group Social Capitalist Awards

For Second Consecutive Year Unitus is Recognized for Reducing Poverty by Accelerating Growth of the Microfinance Industry

Redmond, WA–November 16, 2006 — Unitus, Inc., a nonprofit organization which creates innovative solutions to global poverty, is among the 43 winners of the 2007 Fast Company/Monitor Group Social Capitalist Awards. This is the second year in a row that Unitus has won the award.

The program honors nonprofits, or “social entrepreneurs,” who combine creativity and ingenuity with business solutions to address social ills, ranging from poor healthcare in developing nations to unequal education access, homelessness, unemployment and substance abuse in the United States.

Unitus is transforming the lives of poor people around the world by increasing their access to microfinance products such as microcredit loans, savings plans and insurance. By partnering with the highest-potential microfinance institutions (MFIs) and providing them with capital assistance and consulting services, Unitus is helping its MFI partners dramatically accelerate their growth and increase the number of clients they reach. In doing so, Unitus is also demonstrating that MFIs can be run as profitable, large-scale, poverty-focused businesses with links to local capital markets. Unitus’s 11 MFI partners currently serve more than 1 million clients in India, Kenya, Mexico and the Philippines.

Unitus and the other 42 winners are featured in Fast Company’s Dec./Jan. 2007 cover story, on newsstands Nov. 21, 2006 – Jan. 16, 2007, and will be recognized at a ceremony in New York City on Jan. 9, 2007.

“We’re incredibly proud to have been chosen by Fast Company and Monitor Group two years running,” said Unitus president and CEO Geoff Davis. “This award validates our strategy of treating microfinance as a business, not a charity, and connecting MFIs to the capital markets. Once linked to the capital markets, MFIs have the resources they need for long-term growth–and that means financial services and opportunity for more of the world’s working poor than ever before.”

Rigorous Evaluation

Nominees were evaluated based on an application that included two years of operating and financial data, a statement of mission and objectives, and answers to a survey to assess strategy and activities. Winners were selected by an independent board.

Investor’s Guide to Giving

“We applaud the efforts and business acumen of Unitus, which, in addition to its work to reduce poverty worldwide through a commercially successful social investment model, is a business-oriented organization of vision worthy of imitation in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors,” said Mark Vamos, editor of Fast Company.

“By approaching social capitalism in a rigorous, data-driven fashion, our evaluation process reveals the truly amazing nature of Unitus – and all of our winners,” Vamos said. “And while rating nonprofits is controversial, Fast Company thinks it is a necessary step for the sector to grow and improve. Frankly it’s a way to see that these excellent organizations get the recognition they deserve.”

Fast Company partners with the Monitor Group, a global strategy-consulting firm, to select award winners. Monitor Group created the methodology used to compare nonprofits of different sizes and ages across social sectors. The Monitor Group manages the evaluation process for the awards program and measures each organization’s work in five categories: social impact, entrepreneurship, innovation, aspiration and growth, and sustainability.

“Prior to the Social Capitalist Awards, no ranking process existed to directly compare these kinds of organizations,” said Mark Fuller, chairman and CEO of Monitor Group. “Our evaluation measures the impact and effectiveness of these nonprofits, making the Social Capitalist Awards a robust source of guidance for performance-oriented leaders of such organizations, as well as a donor’s guide for those who want their charitable dollars to get the highest ’social’ return possible.”

About Unitus
Unitus, Inc. is a nonprofit organization creating innovative solutions to global poverty using a venture capital model. Unitus dramatically accelerates the growth of microfinance institutions (MFIs) and demonstrates that many MFIs can be run as profitable, large-scale, poverty-focused businesses with links to formal capital markets. As of November 2006, Unitus had 11 MFI partners worldwide serving more than 1 million poor clients. Based in Redmond, WA, USA and with offices in Bangalore, India, Unitus relies on innovative financial instruments and the resources of like-minded individuals and foundations to fulfill its mission. For more information about Unitus, please visit: unitus.com.

About Fast Company and Monitor Group
Fast Company, founded in 1996, is a magazine for and about the creative class. It is a journal of change and changemakers — dynamic, compelling leaders in both the for-profit and non-profit spheres who are making dramatic innovations to shape the future. Visit fastcompany.com for more information.

The Monitor Group is a family of professional services firms, linked by shared ownership, management philosophy, and knowledge assets. Each entity in Monitor’s global network is dedicated to providing products and services that fundamentally enhance the competitiveness of its clients. Visit monitor.com for more information.

Complete descriptions of the Social Capitalist Awards winners are available on fastcompany.com.