American Honoree

Rita Foley"We work with women who have no access to the formal economy and no access to health care they can trust and afford. Pro Mujer offers both. Basic health servies, such as Pap tests, are brought directly to them. It saves lives. The results are tangible and sustainable."

Rita Foley knew she would spend the first half of her career in business and the second half giving back. After 32 years in business she moved into a role that allowed her to promote social change: Board President of Pro Mujer, an international microfinance network.

Pro Mujer provides financial and personal development services women need so they can start their own businesses. Founded in Bolivia in 1990, Pro Mujer now operates in Nicaragua, Peru, Mexico, and Argentina. Its unique, intergrated model of vollage banking, health care support and business training vastly improves the livlihoods of women and their families.

Health care services were added to address the fact that Pro Mujer's clients are typically underserved and intimitated by formal health facilities. Rather than rick mistreatment at a government-run hospital or medical center, women were risking their lives. For less than $10 year, Pro Mujer makes medical treatment and counseling available to women and their families.

Foley, who enjoyed the competitve atmosphere of business as well as the challenge of assembling a winning team, takes pride in Pro Mujer's outcomes: the organization has given $225 million in loans with an average loan size of $145 to 300,000 poor women and boasts a 99.9% repayment rate.