Thank you for helping us raise £4.4m in our Appeal

City A.M.’s second Appeal smashes all expectations

AFTER the fantastic performance of City A.M.’s first ever Christmas Appeal in 2011, there was some trepidation here at Queen Street over whether the £1.5m figure could be matched second time around.

But not only did our second Appeal match the total from our debut, it comfortably trumped it, with £4,398,027 raised from readers, supporters and sponsors, including matched funding from the UK government.

For the second year running City A.M. joined forces with Opportunity International, a charity that provides microfinance loans for thousands of enterprising Africans who wish to start their own business.

We are not talking about huge sums of money being needed to make a difference here.

For example, £65 provides an agricultural loan to a rice farmer, like Eugenie (pictured) in Rwanda. £500 provides 100 people access to a savings account in Malawi.

And £4.4m will help sustain or create more than 330,000 jobs for people living in poverty. This campaign’s money-raising efforts began last November with a dinner in the crypt of St Paul’s that attracted a number of high-flying business figures including Ann Gloag, the Stagecoach co-founder, Truett Tate, a former director of Lloyds Bank, and the financier Robin Saunders. Around £400,000 was raised from the dinner after matched funding, which got the appeal off to an encouraging start.

The campaign’s total, however, was massively enhanced by just one donor, a hedge fund director who wishes to remain anonymous. This person made a donation of £750,000 to the fund, a sum matched by the Department for International Development (Dfid). This meant that a single donor was responsible for £1.5m of the sum raised. Says Opportunity International’s director of philanthropy Gareth Simpson: “Since 2011 City A.M., readers and Dfid have helped generate an astonishing £5.9m for Opportunity's work. This will give hundreds of thousands of hard working entrepreneurs the chance to build their businesses and give their kids the best possible chance of growing up free of poverty.”

EDITOR’S TRIBUTE

ALLISTER HEATH

WE are delighted to announce that our second Christmas Appeal has raised almost three times as much as the first – an astonishing £4.4m for a very deserving charity.

The money will help it provide a range of financial services, including microloans and saving products, in Africa. Your much appreciated money will help harness the transformative power of capitalism and market institutions to give poor entrepreneurs a handup, rather than a handout. I always thought City A.M. had wonderful, generous readers – and I was right. To all those of you who have made a donation, large or small, thank you very much.

DEVELOPMENT SECRETARY

JUSTINE GREENING

City A.M.'s readers clearly got behind this year's Christmas Appeal. We've matched pound for pound all public donations to help them reach almost £4.4m - nearly three times last year’s total. That means Opportunity International can help hundreds of thousands of some of the poorest people in sub-Saharan Africa access the small loans, bank accounts and better financial know-how they need to build a brighter future.

And when women make up 84 per cent of those accessing these services, we know that these investments get ploughed back in to health, education and welfare, so the benefit is spread across families and communities.