Grameen Foundation

Grameen Foundation helps the world's poorest, especially women, improve their lives and escape poverty by providing them with access to small loans and other financial services, life-changing information and income-generating opportunities. Through two of the most effective tools known - microfinance and mobile phone-based technology - we work to make a real difference in the lives of those who have been left behind. With the support of our donors, we are working to create a world where the poor have the tools and information they need to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. We were established in 1997 with a bold charge from microfinance pioneer Professor Muhammad Yunus, foun...

Grameen Foundation
1101 15th Street NW
Third floor
Washington, DC 20005
United States
2026283560
http://www.grameenfoundation.org

President and CEO

Alex Counts

Board of Directors

David Edelstein, Jennifer Drogula, Shannon Maynard, James Greenberg, Robert Ottenhoff, Alberto Solano, Ricki Tigert Helfer, Bahram Vakil, Steve Anderson, Peter Bladin, Steve Wardle, Rosanna Ramos-Velita, Peter Cowhey, Si White, Camilla Nestor, Elizabeth Rhyne, Alex Counts, Beverly Armstrong, David Russell, Steve Wright, Paul Martiz, Hillary Miller-Wise, Norm Tonina, Pradeep Singh, Julia Soyars, Robert Eichfeld, Carlos Fonseca, Vikram Gandhi, Joshua Tripp, Paul Hilal, Christopher Tan

Project Leaders

Darwin Cruz

Mission

Grameen Foundation helps the world's poorest, especially women, improve their lives and escape poverty by providing them with access to small loans and other financial services, life-changing information and income-generating opportunities. Through two of the most effective tools known - microfinance and mobile phone-based technology - we work to make a real difference in the lives of those who have been left behind. With the support of our donors, we are working to create a world where the poor have the tools and information they need to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. We were established in 1997 with a bold charge from microfinance pioneer Professor Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, to spread the principles of microfinance beyond the borders of his native Bangladesh. Today, Professor Yunus, a founding member of Grameen Foundation's Board of Directors, serves as member emeritus. Our high standards and efficiency have earned us Charity Navigator's highest rating for two years in a row (which fewer than 20 percent of nonprofits achieve), as well as certification by the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance.

Programs

Despite the impressive growth of microfinance over the last 30 years, microfinance institutions (MFIs) are meeting only a minority of potential demand. To help them grow and continue to meet the needs of the poor, we are tackling the funding challenges facing these organizations. Our loan-guarantee program enables rapidly growing, established MFIs to get local-currency loans from nearby financial institutions, while other initiatives from our Capital Markets group provide direct funding to and investment in smaller MFIs, cooperatives and other poverty-focused organizations that deliver innovative products and services in remote, rural or underserved areas. We also support MFIs by providing them with services that help them attract, train and retain the best employees, and help MFIs develop innovative programs to provide their customers with a wide range of financial products (such as microsavings) and livelihoods training. Finally, we provide them with tools -- including the industry-leading Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI) survey -- that enable them to measure their social performance and gain valuable insights about their business and customer base. Working with local and global allies, as well as the poor themselves, we also create mobile phone-based solutions to address the devastating effects that "information poverty" can have on people, focusing on the following areas: Agriculture: A crop failure can be devastating to poor farmers, putting already marginalized families at further risk. Our mobile agriculture initiatives, including our Community Knowledge Worker program, train trusted people in the community to use mobile phone applications developed by Grameen Foundation to provide poor farmers with relevant, timely information on how to care for animals and plants, treat pests and diseases, and get fair market prices for goods - helping increase productivity and income, and improve the lives of their families. These "trusted intermediaries" also collect information, providing a two-way channel that enables poverty-focused and government organizations to better serve the needs of their constituents. Financial Services: Because traveling long distances means losing precious time away from home and business, the rural poor often lack access to basic, affordable financial services. We work with financial institutions, telecom operators and other businesses to create and expand "mobile banking" products and services specially designed for poor people. Making payments, depositing money in savings accounts, transferring funds and conducting other transactions on the mobile phone helps the poor improve their financial security and reduce the risks of financial shocks, enabling them to manage their limited funds more effectively. Health: Too many poor people - especially children - die every day from preventable diseases or inadequate care because their families don't have easy access to information about health conditions or services. Our mobile health solutions, including our Mobile Technology for Community Health (MOTECH) project, provide relevant medical information to poor people, as well as information about where and when to access care, while helping healthcare providers manage their caseloads more efficiently. Livelihoods: Earning enough to live on is a big challenge for poor people, especially the poorest. They often must work multiple jobs to string together a basic income. Our mobile livelihoods programs connect poor people to unique business opportunities and jobs, such as microfranchise operations, giving them the chance to increase their income and improve their financial stability while providing valuable services to others in their community. Finally, our our Bankers without Borders (BwB) program is one of the first initiatives to strategically use skill-based volunteerism as a vital resource in the microfinance and technology-for-development sectors. We help connect poverty-focused organizations to individuals with the expertise and experience that they need, but often cannot afford. Working either on location or from their home country, BwB volunteers enable organizations to overcome strategic and operational challenges to become more effective and efficient - all for the benefit of the poor people they serve. The members of this global reserve corps of business professionals come from a variety of fields - from financial services to technology, human resources and marketing.

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