Global Communities (formerly CHF International) is an international nonprofit organization that has been in operation for over 60 years and operates across five continents in more than 30 countries. Their mission is to bring long-lasting, positive change to low-income communities through a multitude of programs that encompass financial services, economic development, global health, food security and humanitarian assistance. The organization works closely with some of the most vulnerable communities where they serve to bring sustainable change that improves the lives and livelihoods of investees.
Through a robust approach that strives to build strong relationships with the communities they invest in, Global Communities engages them throughout the development process in a bid to build a sense of ownership and control over the investments.
Global Communities created a commercial holding company called the Vitas Group to provide responsible financing to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) to populations not sufficiently served by formal financial markets. In over two decades of successful lending, Vitas companies have disbursed billions of dollars to millions of customers with an annual default rate below 2%.
Impact story: How financial innovation is fostering renewable energy in Iraq
In July and August, temperatures in Iraq average 95 degrees and regularly exceed 115 F. When power outages occur, air conditioning units are unable to run which significantly increases the threat of heat stress and related illnesses, even indoors. As a solution, the Vitas Group’s innovation center (Vitas Lab) developed a new loan product that allows local Iraqi business owners to finance KESK solar powered air conditioning units and improve their access to reliable sources of energy. KESK is the first green tech company in Iraq.
The Praxis commitment
Praxis Mutual Funds supports organizations through investments in Calvert Impact, an impact-investing institution that helps people around the world through community development financing. It’s part of the Praxis commitment to place approximately 1% of each of its funds to benefit neighborhoods and individuals through community development investments.