Our story

The Church exists to heal the world. This has been its mandate since it was founded over 2,000 years ago, with many generations of educators, counselors, ministers and healers coming to the aid of those in need.

In Africa alone, there are over
74,000 Religious Sisters
46,421 Priests
and 8,779 Brothers

As far back as 325 C.E., when the Council of Nicea ordered that a hospital be constructed next to every cathedral to care for the sick, the poor and the stranger, the Catholic Church has been operating schools, hospitals and outreach services to serve the most vulnerable.

Today in Africa there are more than 120,000 religious Sisters, Brothers and priests caring for the fastest-growing population in the world. They operate 7,274 hospitals, clinics and dispensaries, and 2,346 homes for the elderly and the vulnerable. They educate more than 19 million children in 45,088 primary schools. In many rural areas they are the only providers of healthcare and education.

In 2014 The Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States (TPMS-USA) created Missio Invest as a new vehicle to strengthen this network of crucial services in Sub-Saharan Africa, where Church-run schools and health facilities are attached to an abundance of farmable land, much of it underutilized due to lack of funds and commercial experience. Missio Invest has since expanded to provide financing for not only agribusinesses, but also health and education enterprises as well as Church-run financial institutions that administer loans and banking products in underserved communities.

Missio Invest applies the principles of impact investing to this vast pastoral network as a way of guaranteeing its presence for many years to come.

In Sub-Saharan Africa the Catholic Church operates over
7,274 Hospitals
2,346 Homes for the Elderly
45,088 Schools

The religious men and women who operate these enterprises receive training, technical assistance and the investment capital needed to become self-sustaining. With more reliable income and stronger financial management, they can expand their services to include more people in need.

As a result, communities that traditionally relied on donations and grants are now becoming communities of entrepreneurs generating economic growth for the common good. 

 

At the same time, Missio Invest offers its investors unfiltered access to those entrepreneurs and changemakers whose efforts and success, in a very real sense, belong to everyone.

At Missio Invest, faith and finance work together to achieve a powerful impact: more jobs and opportunities, more resilient communities and a healthier planet. Thousands of people are able to create better lives for themselves and their families in a spirit of mutuality and interdependence between investor and investee.

Our history

The Church has long played an important role in fostering innovative ways to improve lives.

0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
  • 1822
  • 1889
  • 1911
  • 1922
  • 1950
  • 1965
  • 2001
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020

1822

Pauline Jaricot, then 23, organizes a program in which factory workers in Lyon, France, make weekly contributions to support the Church’s missionaries—an effort later known as The Society for the Propagation of the Faith.

1889

After a tornado strikes Rochester, MN, the Franciscan Sisters, led by Mother Alfred Moses, start a small hospital in the middle of a cornfield, where they work with Dr. William Worrall Mayo and his sons to care for survivors. “With our faith, hope and energy, it will succeed,” Mother Alfred assures Dr. Mayo. What the Sisters started as an emergency facility for the community has grown into the world-renowned Mayo Clinic.

1911

The Maryknoll societies officially form in the U.S., recruiting exclusively from among U.S. citizens to develop the American missionary presence overseas.

1922

The Society for the Propagation of the Faith receives Pontifical status and is relocated from Lyon to the Vatican to become the Pope’s official channel for mission support.

1950

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen is appointed National Director of U.S. mission efforts. In 1952 he receives a primetime Emmy for Most Outstanding Television Personality.

1965

After the Second Vatican Council, the Church adopts a greater appreciation of local cultures and religious traditions as part of its understanding of mission, leading to the steady growth of indigenous missionaries.

2001

The Society for the Propagation of the Faith and the Society of St. Peter Apostle for seminarians join with the Holy Childhood Association to be collectively known as The Pontifical Mission Societies (TPMS) in the United States.

2014

During a Conference in the Vatican, Pope Francis endorses impact investing as a new way of promoting human development and stimulating growth. In response, the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States (TPMS-USA) begins a pilot program of low-interest lending.

2015

Missio Invest worked with universities in Kenya and Uganda to create the first-ever Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in agri-entrepreneurship tailored for religious Sisters, Brothers and priests.

2016

Missio Invest makes its first investments in Church-run agribusinesses in Kenya and Uganda and then expands to Malawi and Zambia.

Missio Invest

2018

Missio Invest separately incorporates and signs a strategic relationship agreement with The Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States.

2019

The Center for the Study of Global Christianity finds that Africa is home to the largest number of Christians in the world, at 631 million.

2020

Launch of Missio Invest Social Impact Fund (MISIF) with Missio Invest as Fund Manager.

OUR PEOPLE

Meet the Missio Invest Team

Matthew Adetunji

Country Investment Manager (Abuja, Nigeria)

Matthew Adetunji, the primary point of contact for all current and prospective borrowers in Nigeria, has more than 10 years of experience in agribusiness management and innovative finance. Before joining Missio Invest he was an agricultural finance expert for Agriculture and Finance Consultants (AFC), where he worked with Nigerian banks on credit and savings product development, value chain financing, and training. Prior to that, he was the programme coordinator of the Alliance Agriculture, mobilizing private investment for a green finance facility. Matthew has also consulted on futures contracts and financial innovation for commodity exchange at ICDX,, and on value chain finance and blended finance models for SMEs and partners at CTA (ACP-EU). As an Analyst at GIZ, he managed and supported financing and investment processes between agribusinesses and banks on contract farming, matching grant fund processes, financial structuring, monitoring and evaluation. Matthew holds a B.S in Agricultural Extension and Rural Development from Obafemi Awolowo University and an MBA in Finance and Investment from Ahmadu Bello University. He is currently enrolled as a candidate in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program

Benson Agwena

INVESTMENT OFFICER (NAIROBI, KENYA)

Benson performs investment evaluation and loan monitoring in western Kenya and Uganda. He is the primary point of contact for current and prospective borrowers in western Kenya and Uganda and visits projects in those regions prior to loan approval. Benson has experience in impact investment and portfolio management in the agribusiness sector within East Africa. Prior to joining Missio Invest in December 2019, he was an Investment Associate at Yunus Social Business (YSB), an emerging markets social impact fund. Prior to YSB, Benson was at KawiSafi Ventures (KSV), an off-grid energy impact fund focused on East Africa. Before joining YSB and KSV, Benson was an Associate at I-DEV International in Nairobi, where he worked on building growth strategies and raising capital for emerging businesses in the agriculture, clean energy and tech sectors. Prior to I-DEV, Benson held roles as Senior Financial Analyst and Associate auditor at KPMG East Africa. In addition, Benson has financial institutions experience having carried out financial statement audits of Habib Bank in Kenya, lender due diligence and loan structuring, on behalf of Afrexim Bank (Egypt) and CRDB (Tanzania). Benson holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) degree from Strathmore University and is a registered CPA in Kenya.

tablet content

Joelle Birge

VICE PRESIDENT, LENDING (NEW YORK, USA)

Joelle Birge manages Missio Invest’s loan portfolio and directs the loan evaluation, loan issuance, and portfolio management processes. She joined Missio Invest in June 2017 following four years in the investment banking and private equity industries. Joelle began her career as an analyst in the healthcare group at Credit Suisse in New York, then spent two years as a private equity associate at Advent International, performing analysis and due diligence on investment candidates in the healthcare sector. While completing her Master’s, Joelle worked with Vulcan Impact Investing and led a pro bono consulting project for VillageReach Mozambique, an experience that inspired her to join Missio Invest’s team. She has an M.B.A. and M.A. in International Studies (focus in French) from the Wharton School and Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in English and American Literature cum laude, as well as a Certificate in Finance from the Bendheim Center for Finance.

desktop content

Donna Borowicz

ACTING CFO (NEW YORK, USA)

Donna Borowicz has been the Chief Financial Officer of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States (TPMS-US) since 2013 and has served as Acting CFO of Missio Invest since its incorporation as a separate entity in 2018. Prior to these appointments, she was the Chief Financial Officer for The Local Search Association, the largest Yellow Pages trade association and association of media companies, agencies, and technology providers helping businesses market to local consumers, and controller for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Donna is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). She is also a member of the American Institute of CPAs and Financial Executives International and holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration.

tablet content

Mulenga Bwalya

COUNTRY INVESTMENT MANAGER, MALAWI AND ZAMBIA (LUSAKA, ZAMBIA)

Mulenga Bwalya is the primary point of contact for all current and prospective borrowers in Zambia and Malawi and responsible for due diligence prior to loan approval. She came to Missio Invest in June 2019 following five years as Zambia Investment Manager for AgDevCo, an impact investing organization focused on agricultural development in Africa. Previously, she worked as a Credit Officer for the Foundation for Community Assistance (FINCA) and later as a Portfolio Officer for the NORSAD Agency (now Norsad Finance) focusing on SME development finance in Southern Africa. She holds a Master in Globalization and Development from the University of Antwerp, IOB in Belgium and a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Finance from Africa Nazarene University in Kenya. She is an affiliate of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountant (ACCA), holds a certificate in Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, and has certification as a stockbroker and investment advisor in Zambia.

Albertina Muema

COUNTRY INVESTMENT MANAGER, (NAIROBI, KENYA)

Albertina Muema is the primary point of contact for all current and prospective borrowers in Kenya, and visits all Kenyan projects prior to loan approval. Before she joined Missio Invest in February 2019, Albertina worked with the Netherlands Development Organization, advising the group on access and acting as Project Manager for the Livestock component of the Program for Rural Outreach of Financial Innovations and Technology (PROFIT). Previously, she was the Agribusiness Relationship Manager at Jamii Bora Bank, where she championed growth within the sector by creating partnerships and providing capital for on-lending to tea and dairy Savings and Credit Co-operative Societies (SACCOS). Albertina began her career in agribusiness education, as a teacher of Agriculture and Business studies at Tumaini High School in Kenya. She holds a B.S. in Agricultural Economics from Kenya’s Egerton University, Njoro, an MBA from South Eastern Kenya University, an Executive Certificate in Agricultural Finance from the Kenya School of Monetary Studies, and a Certificate in Project Management from SMC University.

desktop content
tablet content

Patrick Mujuni

COUNTRY INVESTMENT MANAGER, (ARUSHA, TANZANIA)

Patrick Mujuni performs all of Missio Invest’s evaluation and loan monitoring processes in Tanzania. He has extensive experience in the agribusiness and investing sectors in Tanzania, including five years as an investment officer for Match Maker Group’s SME Impact Fund, four years as a project officer implementing an IFAD-funded program for rural SMEs, and two years as a loan officer for National Microfinance Bank Plc. He has worked in value chain development, agribusiness training in business planning and implementation, agricultural lending, and portfolio management. Patrick holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (Entrepreneurship Development Management) from Mzumbe University.

Connor Murphy

SENIOR ANALYST (NEW YORK, USA)

Connor Murphy has been supporting Missio Invest’s portfolio management, as well as tracking and analysis of investment pipeline and active loans, since January 2019. Previously he worked as a project finance analyst for C2 Energy Capital, a renewable energy firm focused on solar energy. Before that, he was an associate at Compass International Advisors, where he marketed private equity funds. Connor graduated cum laude with a degree in Finance from Fordham University in 2016, then attended Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business. While at Fordham, he was involved with building a fish farm in Uganda through Fordham’s Engineers Without Borders chapter and was a two-time Academic All-American in college sailing. He passed the CFA Level II exam in June of 2018.

tablet content

John O’Neil

SENIOR ADVISOR (COLORADO, USA)

John O’Neil primarily advises the CEO on strategic planning for scaling up the vision of Missio Invest across Church entities. Prior to joining Missio Invest, he spent 35 years as an entrepreneur, private equity executive and philanthropist. He started, built and grew venture backed, technology companies that at their height had as many as 400+ employees across the globe. After 17 years as a tech entrepreneur he crossed over to the investor side, working as an executive at two private equity firms, then managed a portfolio company through its’s NYSE IPO and its active M&A program, completing over $500 million in transactions across North America, Asia and Europe. For 30 years, John has also been the director of a private foundation that focuses on the needs of the most vulnerable, especially served by the Catholic Church. He is currently leading the foundation’s emerging efforts in impact investing. He holds a B.A. in Economics from Georgetown University.

desktop content

Francis Opoku-Mensah

COUNTRY INVESTMENT ADVISOR, (ACCRA, GHANA)

Francis is a development banking and agricultural value chain financing specialist with over thirteen (13) years’ development financing and banking work experience ranging from entrepreneurship training and development, credit appraisal, financial modeling, agricultural value chain financing, farmer based organization and development, business diagnostic & advisory, credit product development and loan structuring. Francis has extensive experience in agribusiness value chain financing, facilitating training programs for SMEs as well as managing external party funds for both debt and grant extension to third parties clients in pro-poor communities and livelihood development projects for organizations such as Missio Invest, USAID, DFID, KfW, Root Capital, MasterCard Foundation, Italian Line of Credit and AfD.  At present, Francis is Root Capital’s in-country representative and point of contact for USAID’s latest Development Credit Authority (DCA) agriculture sector loan guarantee currently managed by Root Capital. Francis leads the pro-bono consulting advising team from Agribusiness Investments Consult providing investment advisory services to Missio Invest in Ghana. Francis holds an MBA from the American College in Cyprus. 

tablet content

Keith Polo

MANAGING DIRECTOR, CHIEF LENDING OFFICER (NEW YORK / NAIROBI)

Keith Polo joined Missio Invest in February 2019. Prior to that, he led agribusiness development ventures in both the private and development sectors, including the agribusiness transaction advisory firm EnvisionAg LLC, which he started, Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) Capital, and three commercial agribusinesses in Malawi and Tanzania. As the Director of Agricultural Development for Mercy Corps for 10 years, he led operations across more than 35 countries. He has also been a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Bolivia. Keith holds a Master’s degree in International Agricultural Development from the University of Illinois and completed the Executive Education in Impact Investing and Financial Analysis programs from the University of Oxford and the University of Chicago, respectively, as well as an Advanced Diploma in Sustainability and Food Policy from the Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche, Italy. He grew up on a family farm in Illinois.

Rev. Andrew Small, OMI

FOUNDER AND CEO (NEW YORK, USA)

Father Andrew Small is a priest and member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He was appointed National Director of The Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States by the Vatican and founded Missio Invest in 2014. Originally from Liverpool, England, he has served in parish ministry in Brazil and the United States. He was the U.S. Bishops’ policy advisor for international economic development from 2004 to 2009, after which he coordinated Church recovery efforts following the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. He taught international trade law as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center from 2006-2009. He holds law degrees from Sheffield University, England (LL.B.) and Georgetown University Law Center, USA (LL.M.) and earned his doctorate in systematic theology (S.Th.D.) from the Catholic University of America. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

desktop content
tablet content

Meet the Experts

Our Investment Committee

Donna Borowicz

ACTING CFO (NEW YORK, USA)

Donna Borowicz has been the Chief Financial Officer of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States (TPMS-US) since 2013 and has served as Acting CFO of Missio Invest since its incorporation as a separate entity in 2018. Prior to these appointments, she was the Chief Financial Officer for The Local Search Association, the largest Yellow Pages trade association and association of media companies, agencies, and technology providers helping businesses market to local consumers, and controller for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Donna is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). She is also a member of the American Institute of CPAs and Financial Executives International and holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration.

Sal Gentile

Senior Advisor, Intermediate Capital Group (New Jersey, USA)

Sal Gentile is a Senior Advisor to Intermediate Capital Group (“ICG”), a London-based alternative asset manager, and a member of the North American Investment Committee. Mr. Gentile joined ICG in 2012 as a Senior Managing Director and Head of North America and was responsible for day-to-day operations, business strategy and investment decisions. He established ICG’s presence in North America as assets under management grew from $300 million to over $7 billion under his leadership.  

Mr. Gentile was previously a Senior Managing Director and Partner of The Blackstone Group. After joining Blackstone in 1999, he co-founded the Corporate Debt Group and was a member of its Investment Committee. During his tenure, total assets grew from zero to over $10 billion through the establishment of various credit funds investing in mezzanine debt, private equity and senior loans. Mr. Gentile was involved in all aspects of growth, most notably, business unit strategy, new business development, credit underwriting and portfolio management. 

Mr. Gentile began his career at Alliance Capital Management (1988-1994) and Nomura Securities (1994-1999). He holds an MBA from Columbia University and a BS from the State University of New York at Albany. 

tablet content

Virginia Nyamu

Principal, Baraka Agricultural College (Molo, Kenya)

Virginia Wanjiku Nyamu was born and raised in Kenya and has worked in the country for the last 27 years. She specializes in Education and Agricultural Institutions, which offer practical skills to farmers with an aim to bring rural community transformation. For the last five years, she has served as Manager and Principal of Baraka Agricultural College in Molo, Kenya. At Baraka, Virginia offers strategic thinking, as well as performancebased management for the transformation of communities. 

Virginia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the University of Nairobi, a Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) from Egerton University, and a Master’s degree in Educational, Planning, Management and Administration from Mount Kenya University. She is trained in Competence Based Education and Training by the Curriculum Development Assessment and Certification Council (CDACC), which enables her to provide competencebased training to communities who lack formal education. Her expertise in the field has resulted in the successful development of a CompetenceBased Training curriculum and materials for Horticulture, Piggery, Dairy, Poultry, Agriculture and other value chains across Kenya. 

desktop content

Very Rev. Patrick Posey

Treasurer (Virginia, USA)

A Virginia native, Father Patrick Posey attended St. Charles Borromeo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, completing his seminary studies at Mt. Saint Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  Ordained in 1991, he was a parochial vicar within the Diocese of Arlington until his 1995 assignment to the diocesan mission in Banica, Dominican Republic. During his eight years there, he was instrumental in constructing roads, a church and school.  He also began the Diocesan Scholarship Fund bringing students to America to study.   

Upon his return to the United States, Father Posey became Pastor at St. Francis DeSales and Saint James, the latter for thirteen years.  While at Saint James, he grew financial support and parish involvement and oversaw a five-year strategic plan for the school resulting in their second Department of Education Blue Ribbon Award. In 2019, Father Posey became Rector for the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More. Father Posey is also Director of The Society for the Propagation of the Faith for the Diocese of Arlington. 

tablet content
desktop content

Our Board of Directors

Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Fuhrman

Chairman (New Jersey, USA)

Monsignor Robert J. Fuhrman is a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark and Pastor of Saint Philomena Parish in Livingston, New Jersey. Ordained in 1981, his assignments have been a variety of pastoral, academic and administrative positions including secretary to the Archbishop, Seminary Vice-Rector and Pastor. He was appointed Archdiocesan Director of The Pontifical Mission Societies for the Archdiocese of Newark in 1993 and served as Assistant National Director of The Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States from 2010 to 2014 

Monsignor Fuhrman was elected to the Board of Trustees of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark in July 2015. A year later, he was elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees of that Agency, a position he still holds. He was made a monsignor by Saint John Paul II in 1995 and in 2013 was named a Prelate of Honor by Pope Benedict XVI. He holds degrees in philosophy, pastoral ministry and Biblical theology. 

Antoinette Mensah, Ph.D.

Vice-Chairwoman (Wisconsin, USA)

Antoinette Mensah, Ph.D. has over 30 years of leadership experience in the development and growth of successful non-profit, religious and educational institutions. As the Director for the Milwaukee Archdiocesan Office for World Mission and for The Society for the Propagation of the Faith, Archdiocese of Milwaukee, she raises awareness and promotes engagement in the global Catholic Church, both locally and internationally. Her previous employers have included the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, INROADS , Inc. and the Youth Leadership Academy.  She has also served as a consultant directing start-up programming on youth leadership development, career and personal development, diversity and inclusion.  

A native of Ghana and the proud mother of her son Anthony, Dr. Mensah is committed to helping others appreciate their respective cultures. Dr. Mensah holds a B.S. in Human Resource Management from De Paul Universityas well as an M.S. in Management and a Ph.D. in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service from Cardinal Stritch University. She also completed the Massachusetts Institute for Technology’s Community Fellows Program.

tablet content

Very Rev. Patrick Posey

Treasurer (Virginia, USA)

A Virginia native, Father Patrick Posey attended St. Charles Borromeo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, completing his seminary studies at Mt. Saint Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  Ordained in 1991, he was a parochial vicar within the Diocese of Arlington until his 1995 assignment to the diocesan mission in Banica, Dominican Republic. During his eight years there, he was instrumental in constructing roads, a church and school.  He also began the Diocesan Scholarship Fund bringing students to America to study.   

Upon his return to the United States, Father Posey became Pastor at St. Francis DeSales and Saint James, the latter for thirteen years.  While at Saint James, he grew financial support and parish involvement and oversaw a five-year strategic plan for the school resulting in their second Department of Education Blue Ribbon Award. In 2019, Father Posey became Rector for the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More. Father Posey is also Director of The Society for the Propagation of the Faith for the Diocese of Arlington. 

desktop content
tablet content

Vocation of Missio Invest

Finance for a Better World

This field is required

This field is required

Please enter a valid email address

Thank you! We look forward to being in touch.