SOURCE: Village Enterprise Fund

Village Enterprise Fund

August 31, 2010 15:32 ET

Dianne Calvi Joins Village Enterprise Fund

Microfinance Organization Hires Seasoned Professional for New Growth

SAN CARLOS, CA--(Marketwire - August 31, 2010) -  Village Enterprise Fund (VEF), a leader in rural microenterprise development, is pleased to welcome Dianne Calvi as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. She has a passion for VEF's micro-entrepreneurial approach to addressing poverty issues in East Africa, and for VEF's innovative programs in pro-poor technology, conservation, peace and reconciliation, and women-run businesses. VEF has helped entrepreneurs start 21,000 micro-businesses since 1987.

Dianne brings a unique, well-developed set of leadership skills and experiences to VEF, gained during a career that includes senior management roles in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and internationally.

Dianne notes that "VEF has an unparalleled 20-year success record fostering entrepreneurship in East Africa. The combination of business training, seed capital grants, and ongoing mentoring has yielded amazing results. I'm tremendously pleased to have the opportunity to lead very dedicated, talented teams in the U.S. and Africa as we continue to expand our successful program among the rural poor."

Prior to joining VEF, Dianne served for five years as president of the Mountain View, CA-based Bring Me A Book foundation, an early literacy nonprofit serving low income children and families. During her tenure she crafted and implemented an ambitious five-year strategic plan leading to the development of international partnerships in Hong Kong, Malawi, Mexico, and Guatemala along with regional offices throughout California. Dianne led the expansion of sites served from 80 to over 1700. 

In addition to leading Bring Me A Book's literacy efforts, Dianne served on the board of directors of Shelter Network for six years. As the chair of the development committee, she provided leadership for a $6.2 million capital campaign to rebuild First Step for Families, a shelter for homeless families in San Mateo County.

Dianne understands the for-profit side of the equation, as well, having worked as a management consultant and marketing executive for over 20 years in the US and abroad. After receiving her BA from Stanford University and her MBA from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy on a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship, Dianne launched her international business career in Milan, Italy.

Debbie Hall, vice chair of the VEF board of directors, comments: "We are very excited about Dianne's leadership of Village Enterprise Fund as we expand our successful program of poverty alleviation. She brings an ideal blend of skillful management, thoughtful leadership, strong execution, and a passion for our mission. We believe she is uniquely qualified to shape VEF's strategic plan and grow our presence in East Africa."

About Village Enterprise Fund
Headquartered in California, VEF works in Kenya and Uganda. VEF's three-pronged economic development model (grants, training, and mentoring) is unusual in the microenterprise development field. The organization targets start-up businesses in rural areas that many microfinance institutions do not reach.

VEF selects local village leaders (Village Business Mentors) to provide mentoring during the first year of the new business. VEF first provides formal training on topics such as profits, record-keeping, and group cooperation. Grants of $150 are given to business groups of five people. This small sum, which does not have to be repaid, has been proven over 20-plus years to have a significant impact in East Africa, positively affecting the lives of more than a half a million people. For more information, visit or e-mail

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