James and Betty Sams: Our Allies Against Poverty
James Sams -- former Grameen Foundation Board Chairman, friend and visionary – believed passionately in helping others. He spent much of his life working on behalf of friends, family and vulnerable people throughout the world. As board chairman from 1998 to 2000, Jim championed laying a strong institutional foundation for Grameen Foundation and growing the organization with the aid of unrestricted support. His leadership was also integral to Grameen Foundation’s expansion into the Arab world.
Before Jim became part of Grameen Foundation, he was already engaged in global efforts towards greater dialogue and peace. As a young international lawyer, he helped organize four regional conferences that led to the first World Conference on World Peace through Law with representatives from 120 nations. He later co-founded the American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), which today is one of the largest NGOs providing development assistance, medical aid, food and other relief to the Arab world. He has served as a member of a delegation of leaders first at the invitation of the President of Lebanon, and later by King Hussein of Jordan. His interest in greater cross-cultural understanding led him to initiate and chair the American Task Force for the “Conference on Lebanon: National Reconciliation and Reconstruction” after the country’s civil war ended in 1989. He and his wife Betty’s devotion to learning and knowledge have led to endowing programs at the Sidwell Friends School, University of Michigan Law School, Northwestern University and Smith College.
In addition to lending his talent to Grameen Foundation, he contributed as a board member to The Woodrow Wilson House, the Roshan Institute and the King Hussein Cancer Center Foundation USA.
Jim passed away in 2005 from lymphoma, leaving behind a rich legacy through the organizations and causes that he touched.
Betty Sams is equally committed to social justice and public service. She continues his work, helping to make the world a more humane place.
The annual fund is Grameen Foundation's source of unrestricted support. To honor the Sams’ leadership and lifelong work to alleviate poverty, Grameen Foundation named its fund for annual giving the James and Betty Sams Fund in 2005. Jim was an early proponent of unrestricted support both as a board member and donor. The Sams’ generosity continues sustaining the organization today.
By donating to the fund, you will be providing the same flexible support that the Sams championed for so long. It is this kind of support that allows us to develop new, breakthrough approaches and apply innovative uses of technology to expand the impact of microfinance around the world. With breakthroughs and innovation, microfinance can grow to the magnitude of the problem of devastating global poverty and empower even more of the world’s poorest people to pull themselves from poverty. Your support will make this fund a living tribute to the Sams’ life mission.
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