Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2007 (Revised October 2007)

The Omidyar-Tufts Microfinance Fund: Striving to Reshape the Social Enterprise Capital Markets

by Michael Chu and Jean Hazell

Abstract

Seeking to impact global poverty and philanthropy, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar donates $100 million to Tufts University for a trust restricted to investment in microfinance. Explores the origins of the initiative, the perspectives and objectives of the various parties involved, and the manner in which the key issues of structure, management, implementation, and accountability have been addressed. The Omidyar-Tufts Microfinance Fund seeks to have a catalytic effect on the expansion of an activity deemed to have high social value while applying a rigorous professional criteria to the deployment of the monies so as to yield an economic return equal to or higher than those of comparable assets in the Tufts endowment. In the process, the Omidyar approach is contrasted to more traditional ways of giving. Additionally, provides an overview of the microfinance industry and the challenges of investing in this new field of the emerging markets.

Keywords: Capital Markets; Microfinance; Investment Funds; Giving and Philanthropy; Emerging Markets; Social Enterprise; Financial Services Industry;

Citation:

Chu, Michael, and Jean Hazell. "The Omidyar-Tufts Microfinance Fund: Striving to Reshape the Social Enterprise Capital Markets." Harvard Business School Case 307-078, January 2007. (Revised October 2007.)