Grameen Foundation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Grameen Foundation
Grameen Foundation Logo.png
Founded 1997
Founder Alex Counts
Type 501(c)(3)
Focus Poverty
Area served
Asia, Africa, the Americas, Middle East
Method Social Enterprise, Microfinance, Technology
Key people
Alex Counts – President & CEO
Robert Eichfeld – Chair
Muhammad Yunus - Founding Board Member
Slogan 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."[1]

It is separate from organizations called "Grameen Foundation" in different countries, such as Grameen Foundation Australia.[citation needed]


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, sat on the Board of Directors for 12 years and is now a director emeritus. Immediate past chair of the board is Paul Maritz, formerly CEO of VMWare and formerly a senior executive at Microsoft. The current chair is Robert Eichfeld, a retired executive at Citibank.


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.[1]


Voted into the top 25 of world changing ideas in 2007 Members Project by American Express cardholders.


  1. ^ a b "Providing Access: Opening Doors for the World's Poorest, 2009-2010 Annual Report" (PDF). Grameen Foundation. Retrieved January 3, 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]