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Mary Houghton is co-founder of ShoreBank, the largest and oldest community development bank. Houghton, along with Milton Davis, James Fletcher, and Ron Grzywinski purchased what was then South Shore Bank to fight redlining in the Chicago neighborhood. She retired as president in May 2010.
In the early 1980s, Houghton and Grzywinski worked with Muhammad Yunus of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh (Yunus and Grameen Bank received the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize). From 1986 to 2001, Houghton served on the Board of Directors of Accion International.
She is a member of the Ashoka Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship.
Awards and honors
Houghton has received several awards and honors:
- In 2004, she was named “Community Banker of the Year” by American Banker magazine for her work making ShoreBank “the gold standard of community development banks."
- In 2009, Houghton accepted the 2009 Economic Opportunity Achievement Award from The Opportunity Collaboration in Ixtapa, Mexico for her work "providing financial services and information to residents who were excluded from traditional banking circles." 
- In 2009, she was invited to deliver the "Leaders Forum Lecture" at the Yale School of Management.
- Jointly with co-founder Ron Grzywinski, Houghton received the Hesburgh Award for Ethics in Business from the University of Notre Dame, in 2008, and the Gleitsman Citizen Activist Award at Harvard University, in 2006. They were both named to U.S. News & World Report's list of America's Top Leaders 
- "U.S. News Press Room: Fact Sheets: America’s Best Leaders, 2007: Honoree Biographies". Usnews.com. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
- "Rudy Bruner Award: Mary Houghton". Brunerfoundation.org. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
- David Cama, Renzo Portocarrero. "Our People - Board - Mary Houghton". Rapidresults.org. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
- "Shorebank Corporate President Mary Houghton Receives Opportunity Collaboration's 2009 Economic Opportunity Achievement Award" (Press release). Csrwire.com. 2009-03-18. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
- "ShoreBank Co-founder Mary Houghton Delivers Leaders Forum Lecture on Community Development". Yale.edu. 2009-11-13. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
- "ShoreBank co-founders honored with Notre Dame ethics award - : News & Information" (Press release). University of Notre Dame. 2008-04-23. Archived from the original on 2008-04-23. Retrieved 2010-06-06. (via Web.archive.org)