Dick Gunther's commitment to Grameen Foundation reflects two of his life-long passions: entrepreneurship and service. A successful Southern California businessman, Dick has served the greater good in an array of capacities. For instance, he chaired urban rehabilitation projects in Israel; served on local, state and international committees and commissions; and created a recognition program for senior volunteers through AARP. He held leadership positions at Americans for Peace Now, an organization focusing on advancing the Middle East peace process, and Operation Exodus, which helped to resettle Russian Jews in Israel.
Eleven years ago at a small dinner party, Dick was sitting next to Professor Muhammad Yunus, founder and managing director of Grameen Bank, who invited him to visit Grameen Bank programs in Bangladesh. This trip inspired Dick’s interest in fighting global poverty through microfinance and his work with Grameen Foundation.
“Through microfinancing, I’ve come to realize that I can do more than just make donations to charity or give money to beggars on the streets when I am traveling through a poverty-stricken area,” he notes in his book “How High Is Up? The Tale of a Restless Spirit.” “Now, I derive a sense of joy and hope from being a participant in an effective, organized program that is changing lives.”
Dick has served on Grameen Foundation’s board of directors for over ten years, in addition to serving on several subcommittees. He has visited microfinance programs in China, India and Vietnam.
Grameen Foundation is grateful for Dick’s steadfast support and honored him with the Susan M. Davis Lifetime Achievement Award in November 2009.