November 5, 2009, SEATTLE and REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — The Rural Development Institute (RDI) announced today it received a three-year commitment of up to US$9 million from Omidyar Network to help millions of people secure land rights, enabling them to emerge from poverty. Omidyar Network’s Managing Partner, Matt Bannick, will also join RDI’s board of directors.
“Omidyar Network’s investment will help RDI scale up for greater impact,” said Tim Hanstad, RDI’s President and CEO. “With this grant, RDI will begin implementing an ambitious three-year plan to bring secure land rights to 9 million families living in poverty. These rights can bring about transformative economic and social benefits that improve well-being and restore dignity.“
This is RDI’s second major grant from Omidyar Network, which invested US$4.3 million in 2008 to help RDI and local governments provide land to women in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. This initiative begins to extend equal land rights to women in rural India, who comprise the majority of the country’s agricultural labor force.
“RDI is at the forefront of a high-impact movement designed to create economic opportunity for the world’s poorest people through land rights—just as microfinance has done through credit,” said Matt Bannick, Managing Partner of Omidyar Network. “RDI is the cornerstone of our work in the sector because their approach has produced sustainable change for millions. Partnering with RDI, we plan to raise the awareness of property rights as a means to transform economies through individual opportunity.”
RDI will use the US$9 million grant to expand existing programs in India, China and Sub-Saharan Africa, and launch new projects through its Global Center for Women’s Land Rights. RDI will also hire experts in advocacy, communications, and development for its headquarters and experienced local leaders for its field offices. Amplifying on-the-ground efforts in emerging markets will advance property rights as a powerful approach to economic empowerment.
“Like access to credit and financial services, access to property rights enables people to improve their lives, support their families, and secure their future,” said Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC, one of the world’s leading microfinance and development organizations. “By investing in organizations like RDI that increase the security of land rights, the international community can rally systemic change that impacts millions of lives.”
About the Rural Development Institute
RDI is an international non-profit working to secure land rights for the world’s poor. Over the past 40 years, RDI has worked in more than 45 countries, partnering with governments on reforms that have helped more than 100 million families attain secure land rights. A global pioneer in using law to create land ownership opportunities, RDI’s collaborations with government partners create leveraged, sustainable and generational poverty alleviation. For every dollar contributed, on average, RDI has helped secure land rights for six families. For more information, visit www.rdiland.org.
About Omidyar Network
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. To date, Omidyar Network has committed more than $300 million to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple investment areas, including microfinance, property rights, government transparency, and social media. To learn more about Omidyar Network, please visit www.omidyar.com.