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OPIC, Calvert Foundation to Finance Varthana

March 10, 2016

(From left) Hetal Faldu and Steve Hardgrave from Varthana alongside Loren Rodwin, James Polan, and Carla Chissell from OPIC at Varthana’s Bangalore office.


WASHINGTON – In a ceremony held on February 17th in Bangalore, India, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. government’s development finance institution, and Calvert Foundation signed an agreement to finance Varthana, a lending institution that provides loans to affordable private schools in India, particularly those that serve low-income populations.

As part of this agreement, Calvert Foundation today announced an initial $5 million loan to Varthana, of which OPIC is guaranteeing $3.125 million. The parties hope to expand this relationship as Varthana continues its rapid growth. The partnership between the three organizations was solidified with the signing of an agreement between Steve Hardgrave, CEO of Varthana, James Polan, OPIC’s Vice President of Small and Medium Enterprise Finance, and Catherine Godschalk, Vice President of Investments at Calvert Foundation.

Varthana is an impact-minded lending institution that offers financing and support to schools throughout India, where low-income populations frequently lack access to reliable education. The schools Varthana supports are able to grow and extend quality, affordable education opportunities to hundreds of millions of school-aged Indians.

“We are honored to support India’s educators and are excited that Calvert Foundation and OPIC have supported our mission to help transform affordable education in India,” said Steve Hardgrave, Varthana’s Co-founder and CEO.

“We are thrilled to partner with OPIC and Varthana to support high quality, affordable education for millions of children in India,” said Catherine Godschalk, Vice President of Investments at Calvert Foundation. “This deal is part of our larger India Investment Initiative, which empowers the Indian diaspora and others in the U.S. to support India’s development while earning a return.”

“By engaging effective, impactful partners like Varthana and Calvert Foundation, OPIC’s development-focused capital can spark positive effects in emerging markets like India. Economic growth is most developmental when it reaches across the income spectrum, and Varthana’s education support ensures that opportunity in India can be a reality for low-income children,” said James Polan, OPIC’s Vice President for Small and Medium Enterprise Finance.

OPIC’s support to Varthana is a product of the Portfolio for Impact, an OPIC financing innovation designed to support highly-developmental impact investment projects that, due to size and structure, would otherwise face difficulty in obtaining financing.


Varthana is Non-Bank Finance Company (NBFC) providing specialized loans and support to affordable private schools in India, in order to promote increased access and better quality of education for India’s low-income and emerging middle-income populations

Calvert Foundation is a nonprofit impact investing institution that enables people to invest for social good. Through its flagship Community Investment Note®, Calvert Foundation enables people to invest in a portfolio of more than 100 nonprofits and social enterprises worldwide. In Calvert Foundation’s 20-year history, 15,000 investors have collectively invested more than $1 billion in these organizations. Investor dollars empower women, fund the development of affordable housing, finance small businesses, increase access to healthcare, support fair trade cooperatives, and create numerous other social impacts.

OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help address critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds, when commercial funding cannot be obtained elsewhere. Established as an agency of the U.S. Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers.

 All OPIC projects adhere to high environmental and social standards and respect human rights, including worker's rights. By mandating high standards, OPIC aims to raise the industry and regional standards of the countries where it funds projects. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 160 countries worldwide.