We are proud of helping millions of people improve their quality of life

15 years later, FMBBVA is now the top foundation for its contributions to development in Latin America and second in the world, Behind only the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, according to data published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Javier M. Flores is married with a teenage son. His relationship to Latin America is also personal, as his wife is Mexican. A sports fan, mainly of rugby and skiing, he transmits a sense of calmness and poise. He knows what he is talking about because he likes “to go to the field to check how the entrepreneurs we are supporting are progressing.” He gets excited when citing several women entrepreneurs by name. It must be because he knows for certain that what they do helps people born into poverty and exclusion “to have successful businesses and join the formal economy.”

Q: How would you explain the BBVA Microfinance Foundation to someone who doesn’t know what you do?

A: The BBVA Microfinance Foundation was created by the bank in the year 2007 when it was celebrating its 150th anniversary. At that time, BBVA wanted to step up and try to serve populations who didn’t have access to formal financial services, and who are socially and economically excluded. The foundation promotes the economic and social development of more vulnerable segments of the population who have all kinds of disadvantages. People who have a lot of skills, but lack resources to get ahead. And that is our role, to try to boost these capacities through financial services, capacity building and training. That is how we help people who were born into poverty and exclusion to be able to have successful businesses and join the formal economy.

Q.- Where do you think the success of your work lies?

A: The foundation’s success is being faithful to its founding principles – not having moved one inch from the purpose for which the institution was created, which is to promote the economic and social development of the most disadvantaged. And we have been consistent throughout the years, avoiding any temptation to move to different segments. Accompanying people who really need us, people who lack access to formal financial services. I think that has been the biggest factor, and that is what we try to promote in all of the foundation’s institutions.

Q.- You are the foundation that contributes the most to development in Latin America and the top foundation in the world for your contributions to gender equality. Some may not be aware of this and I think you have good reason to be proud. Can you explain?

A.- It really is impressive. We are number one in Latin America for contributions to development and the top foundation in the world for contributions to gender equality; this according to the OECD in its 2020 and 2021 reports. We are also second in the world in contributions to development, behind only the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The OECD has a working group that focuses on monitoring data and the contributions of all philanthropic groups that the organization. They do a comprehensive audit of the data including when you deliver, how much you contribute to development from a monetary standpoint. We joined in the year 2019 and in the 2020 statistics we had the results that you are describing. In 2021 we held the same positions.

And the good news – and this is news because the report hasn’t been released yet – is that in the report that will be published shortly, in 2022, we will once again be number one in Latin America. And I insist, we are not the ones who are saying this; it’s the OECD. And we are also second in the world for our contribution to development, which is very satisfying, fills us with pride and is really a very big responsibility.

Q:- Congratulations in advance for your continued success. You have also signed an agreement with the University of Oxford to apply the multidimensional poverty index to the private sector. Could you explain a little bit of what it entails?

A.- We have been learning over time since the foundation was created. We are seeing that poverty is not just monetary. It isn’t that you have an income level below your country’s poverty level. It is also reflected in deficiencies from a social perspective and in other hardships and deprivations, which is how the University of Oxford calls them – in education, health or housing. We try to really study what we do and the impact of our work to adapt our value proposition to the needs of these people. In this sense, the University of Oxford developed the multidimensional poverty index, which was adopted by the UN and over 100 countries to measure dimensions of poverty other than the monetary dimension.

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