Oikocredit: Investing in hope
Presbyterians investing to overcome poverty
Oikocredit USA offers Presbyterian congregations and individuals alike the opportunity to invest in a sustainable economic future for the world’s poorest countries. While most investments make money, few make a real difference. Your Investment in Hope through Oikocredit can make both.
What is Oikocredit?
Oikocredit is a cooperative financial institution founded in 1975. Oikocredit offers a social and financial return to investors, focusing its investments on microfinance, cooperatives, fair trade organizations, and small-to-medium enterprises.
At the 1968 annual general meeting of the World Council of Churches, the seed for the Ecumenical Development Cooperative Society, today known as Oikocredit, was sown. US churches were among the first investors and continue to support our mission to invest in economic opportunities for poor people all over the world.
What does an investment in Oikocredit USA support?
1.4 Billion of the world’s citizens are poor, and most lack access to financial services that can provide opportunities and solutions for pulling themselves out of the cycle of poverty. For 40 years, Oikocredit has provided funding to projects and organizations that work in the world’s most vulnerable and impoverished communities providing access to financial services, training, and capital. Today Oikocredit funds 800 partners in almost 60 countries worldwide, providing support for projects focusing on:
- agricultural cooperatives;
- small-to-medium enterprise development;
- and fair trade.
With offices in over 40 countries worldwide, Oikocredit’s local staff has in-depth knowledge of the regions they serve, to help us reach the areas with the greatest need, including rural villages and new enterprises. Oikocredit also aims to build sustainable relationships with project partners and provide assistance beyond financial services, such as training and capacity building. 100 % of your investment goes toward financing Oikocredit’s development project partners.
The PC(USA) encourages congregations and church members to invest in Oikocredit USA. Investments can be made for as little as $250. It is a perfect way to put some of your investment funds to work for people who are working hard to help themselves. Remember, we’re not talking about gifts; we’re talking about an investment. Your funds may be invested for 1, 3 or 5 years and your principal is always available upon maturity. In the organization’s 40 years, Oikocredit has never defaulted on an investment. Investors receive a financial return of up to 2 percent and a social return of a new relationship with people around the world who are poor — one based on trust, accountability and hope.
Investing in Hope links investment and mission, putting the dollars in your Building Fund or Contingency Fund to work in a way that witnesses to Jesus Christ, who came to bring good news to the poor.
The information contained on this Web site is not an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any investment product. That offer is made only in the prospectus that will be sent upon inquiry.
How do we invest?
Oikocredit offers investments in nearly every state in the United States. Investment information is available here, or you can always inquire directly by contacting Oikocredit USA at (202) 728-4140 or by email.
Frequently asked questions
What is the minimum investment?
Investors can invest directly through Oikocredit with an investment of $250. Click here to learn more.
How much do the investments earn?
Investments earn up to 2 percent per year.
What types of church funds are typically invested?
We find that most small church and church-related organizations use their PRI or contingency funds or take a collection, while large churches and national offices may use a portion of their endowment funds, especially if they have a social investment policy.
In the case of PRI funds, those monies are typically invested for a 5-year period and then re-evaluated at the end of the term. For contingency funds, church investors typically invest for a period of one year as the interest rate of 2% is considered high and competitive in the current market environment. Those investing endowment dollars vary the periods in which they hold assets.
Investments also come from specific social/cause groups within churches, such as a Women's Fund, Global Fund, Social Justice Fund, or Young Adult and Children's Funds. The committees managing these groups will either use existing funds or fundraise in order to make an investment in Oikocredit.
Is our money accessible?
Investment principal is always redeemable upon maturity, and interest is available to withdraw, roll over, or donate upon the investment’s anniversary.
Can individuals invest?
Yes! Individuals and institutions alike are encouraged to become investors.
The PC(USA) and Oikocredit
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is the largest denominational investor in Oikocredit USA. Presbyterian investors, including the Presbyterian Foundation, Presbyterian Women, Self-Development of People and the Presbyterian Hunger Program, hold over $4 million in investments.
Many PC(USA) congregations, institutions, and individuals have also invested as part of their commitment to just and sustainable development. These investments range from $250 to $500,000; the median investment is $2,900.
Learn more about Oikocredit’s relationship with PC(USA).