A Mostly Comprehensive Guide to the Unitus Closure Announcement: Updated 8/2/10July 28, 2010 2 Comments
It’s been a couple of weeks since Unitus unexpectedly announced its decision to shut down operations, suspend its involvement in microfinance, and eventually reopen with a new approach to poverty alleviation. In the wake of the announcement and because of our close ties to a number of Unitus staff, we have received numerous requests for the story behind the story. Truth be told, we were as surprised as everyone and have been seeking more information about the motivation behind the closure, its timing, and why the board chose to make the announcement as abruptly as it did.
Among our board and volunteers, one consensus has emerged: the Unitus closure is consequential for the microfinance industry. As such, we are making efforts to learn as much as we can and share that information with the larger microfinance community. Below, we have linked to published articles, blog posts and listserv discussions relating to the announcement. We have also heard that the New York Times is planning to publish an article on the topic, which most certainly will set off additional chatter. We will update our list periodically and also ask that readers use the comment thread to contribute their own thoughts and links to other information about the Unitus closure:
- Seattle Times article announcing the Unitus closure
- SiliconIndia.com post about closure and corollary funds
- Discussion on Ohio State Develpment Finance Listserv
- Chronicle of Philanthropy, “Microfinance Group Unitus Shuts Down, Eyes ‘Reinvention’”
- MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Unitus to Discontinue Microfinance-Related Activities to Focus on Other Poverty Alleviation Strategies, Will Release 40 Staff Members in India, Kenya, United States
- Chronicle of Philanthropy, “When It Comes to Donations, Is It Possible to Have Too Much?”
- “Closure of Popular Poverty-Fighting Charity Raises Big Questions”
- “Microfinance mission accomplished? Hardly, expert says” — Seattle Times
- Discussion of “Microfinance Mission Accomplished? Hardly” on Microfinance Practice Listserv (login required)
- Unitus Fund to Cash Out on Indian IPO — Puget Sound Business Journal
- Matt Flannery’s tweet immediately after the announcement: “Is this what happens when your non-profit succeeds?“
Tim Ogden at Philanthropy Action has put together a fully (not just mostly) comprehensive guide to the SKS IPO and how it relates to Unitus. Check it out. He has also written his own take on the controversy, called “Why every social entrepreneur should be paying attention to SKS and Unitus”. Read it.
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