Minter Ellison has joined up with BHP Billiton in a major charity raising bid.
A lunch co-hosted by Minter Ellison and the BHP Billiton Women’s Network in Brisbane has raised almost $300,000 for Opportunity International Australia, a non-profit organisation that provides small loans to people in developing countries to help them start small businesses, earn income and provide for their families.
More than $140,000 was raised at the event, which was held in Minter Ellison’s Brisbane offices and was attended by approximately 120 businesswomen. Those funds were then generously matched dollar for dollar by BHP Billiton.
Connie Ridley, a member of the Opportunity International Australia Board, said she was delighted by the generosity of those who attended the lunch: "Support from individuals and companies such as BHP Billiton and Minter Ellison helps us to continue to provide opportunities for people to work their way out of poverty," she said.
"By providing microfinance loans in developing countries, we are able to give people the hand-up they need to leave poverty behind. With a small business and a regular income, they no longer have to struggle to afford food, clean water, proper shelter or schooling for their children."
Ilenna Copley, Minter Ellison Special Counsel who co-ordinated the firm's involvement as joint host, said the inaugural "Put Yourself in Her Shoes" event in Brisbane was based on a successful concept BHP Billiton Women’s Network had held in Melbourne three times previously.
"Minter Ellison is delighted to have been involved with BHP Billiton in supporting the work of Opportunity International. The funds raised at the lunch and matched by BHP Billiton will continue to provide benefits for many years as loans are made, repaid and further loans are given. Opportunity International has a loan repayment rate of 98 per cent, with women currently comprising 85 per cent of its clients," Ilenna said.
Brisbane event coordinator, Sharna Glover, from BHP Billiton’s Metallurgical Coal office, said BHP Billiton has raised more than $600,000 for Opportunity Australia since the company began supporting the organisation through the BHP Billiton’s Women’s Network in 2004. "It's exciting to see the momentum continue," Sharna said.