Former Chicago Board of Trade VP Counts Down to 2012 to Crowd Fund a New Venture to Tackle Extreme Poverty

Tom Coleman is bringing financial tools and training to the world’s poorest people living on less than $1.25 a day.  And he’s doing it one $1.25 donation at a time.

Chicago, IL (WEB) December 7, 2011 – Economist and microfinance consultant Tom Coleman is turning to the Internet to bring awareness to famine, extreme hunger, extreme poverty, and a new solution to address the crises, long-term.

His new nonprofit, Bottom Billion Fund, invests in providing financial tools and small business training specifically tailored for the poorest people on the planet living in extreme poverty on less than $1.25 a day.

“While the majority of the world is poor,” Coleman says, “not all are dying by the millions each year.  The Bottom Billion are.”  The bottom billion are the 1.4 billion people on the planet –or one in every five— living in and dying from absolutely impoverished conditions.  More than ten million people die from extreme poverty each year, a rate equal to 24,000 deaths daily, or 1,000 deaths every hour.  At this rate, extreme poverty kills more people annually – mostly women and children—than any other single cause.

Coleman’s years consulting in the microfinance industry led him to see that the demand for financial tools and training by the world’s poorest is largely underserved.  One potential reason for this is that bottom billion people are more costly to serve with financial services than their slightly wealthier neighbors living above $2 a day.  With so many poor in the world, the bulk of the microfinance industry is still looking to meet the demand of the world’s “middle” poor, or those within the range of $2-$27 a day.

So Coleman created the Bottom Billion Fund to fuel funding and advocacy for the provision of Bottom Billion Microfinance solutions for extremely poor.  The Bottom Billion Fund helps microfinance keep focused on the poorest people with the greatest needs.  It lends money, rather than spending it, and reinvests repaid capital (and paid interest) over and over again in proven Bottom Billion Microfinance programs with documented social results.  The investments are long-term in their depth (in their capacity to transform a single life) and breadth (the investment model is replicable and scalable, capable of impacting change in communities across the globe).

Through its investments, Bottom Billion Fund looks to get more extremely poor people working, generating income, and forming part of the solution for ending extreme poverty (rather than just being recipients of charity).

Bottom Billion Fund looks to raise an initial $10,000 in seed capital prior to the New Year to launch its advocacy and principal investment work in 2012.  Its holiday campaign – Building the Bottom Billion Fund—invites online investors and donors to help pioneer the initiative on the popular crowdfunding site for nonprofits, IndieGoGo:

“Fundraising online,” Coleman says, “introduces a new social investment opportunity to the donor who is interested in ending extreme poverty, but who meets limited choices to support the extremely poor beyond diffuse approaches to short-term aid relief or advocacy.  Bottom Billion Fund also offers a unique opportunity to those who are interested in microfinance, but who would like to see that their contribution is directly focused on those most at risk of dying from being too poor.”

Learn more & listen to Tom Coleman speak about the Bottom Billion Fund:

About Tom Coleman:

Coleman was the youngest Vice President in the history of the Chicago Board of Trade at the time of his appointment.  He has worked as an independent consultant to the microfinance industry for 15 years, dedicated to bringing the best of traditional and microfinance to the world’s poorest. Tom received his MBA with a specialization in Economics and Finance from the University of Chicago, where he also completed Ph.D. coursework in Economics.

Please direct all media-related inquiries to the Bottom Billion Fund Communications Manager at



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