|This article relies on references to primary sources. (August 2013)|
|Key people||Alex Counts – President & CEO
Robert Eichfeld – Chair
Muhammad Yunus - Founding Board Member
|Area served||Asia, Africa, the Americas, Middle East|
|Method(s)||Social Enterprise, Microfinance, Technology|
|Motto||Connecting the World's Poor to their Potential|
Grameen Foundation, founded as Grameen Foundation USA, is a global 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Washington DC that works to replicate the Grameen Bank microfinance model around the world through a global network of partner microfinance institutions. Its CEO is Alex Counts. Grameen Foundation's mission is, "To enable the poor, especially the poorest, to create a world without poverty."
It is separate from organizations called "Grameen Foundation" in different countries, such as Grameen Foundation Australia.
The Foundation was founded in 1997 to facilitate the expansion of banks modeled after the Grameen Bank beyond the borders of Bangladesh and increase the access of poor people to microfinance by millions worldwide. Muhammad Yunus, the founder and managing director of Grameen Bank, sits on the Board of Directors. Current chair of the board is Paul Maritz, CEO of VMWare and formerly a senior executive at Microsoft.
Rather than directly administering microfinance programs, Grameen Foundation provides funds and technical assistance to local and regional microfinance institutions (MFIs) and other poverty-focused organizations. Grameen Foundation works with these organizations to:
- Help them find financing, either through loan-guarantee programs (Growth Guarantees) or direct funding (Pioneer Fund)
- Improve their IT systems, through Mifos, its open-source MIS software
- Ensure that their staff are as productive as possible, through services and consulting provided by its Human Capital Center
- Measure whether their efforts are reaching the poor, though its Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI)
Working with local and global allies, Grameen Foundation also develops and distributes mobile phone-based applications to help the poor to better manage:
- Their health, through such programs as the Mobile Technology for Community Health (MOTECH) initiative in Ghana
- Their crops, through such programs as the Community Knowledge Worker initiative in Uganda
- Their finances, though such programs as the Mobile Money initiative in Uganda
Grameen Foundation also works to help the poor receive training and benefit from small-business opportunities, further enabling them to improve their lives and break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families.
Voted into the top 25 of world changing ideas in 2007 Members Project by American Express cardholders.
- "Providing Access: Opening Doors for the World's Poorest, 2009-2010 Annual Report". Grameen Foundation. Retrieved January 3, 2011.
- Measuring the Impact of Microfinance: Taking Another Look; Kathleen Odell, June 2010.
- Op-Ed by Alex Counts and Jay Bakhru on increasing U.S. Aid spending on microfinance; Foreign Policy Digest, February 2009.
- Yunus, Muhammad (1999). Banker to the Poor: Micro-lending and the Battle Against World Poverty. New York: PublicAffairs. ISBN 1-891620-11-8.
- Measuring the Impact of Microfinance: Taking Stock of What We Know; Nathanael Goldberg, December 2005.
- Innovate podcast series interviews Alex Counts, founder and CEO of Grameen Foundation