Inspired by the work of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, Grameen Foundation was created to accelerate the impact of microfinance on the world’s poorest people, especially women.
Started in 1976 by Professor Muhammad Yunus with a mere $27, Grameen Bank now serves more than 7 million poor families with loans, savings, insurance and other services. The bank is fully owned by its clients and has been a model for microfinance institutions around the world. In 2006, Professor Yunus and Grameen Bank jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize. President Barack Obama awarded Professor Yunus the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Although we are independent organizations, Grameen Foundation and Grameen Bank maintain an enduring relationship. Grameen Foundation President Alex Counts trained under and worked closely with Professor Yunus during his six-year tenure in Bangladesh. Professor Yunus was a founding member of Grameen Foundation’s board of directors and currently serves as director emeritus.
Grameen Foundation seeks to further the Grameen Bank legacy and objectives by supporting microfinance institutions and poverty-fighting organizations that embody its vision and values on a global scale.
The Grameen Family of Companies
Grameen Bank (GB) reversed conventional banking practice and created a system based on mutual trust, accountability, participation and creativity. They provide credit to the poorest of the poor in rural Bangladesh, without any collateral. As of August 2009, Grameen Bank had 7.94 million borrowers, 97 percent of whom are women. With 2,559 branches, Grameen Bank services 84,652 villages, covering nearly 100 percent of the total villages in Bangladesh.
Under its Grameen Bank Replication Program, Grameen Trust supports and promotes poverty- focused microcredit programs worldwide. It organizes Dialogue Programs for potential replicators and provides training and technical assistance to replication projects. To date, it has supported 141 replication partners in 38 countries.
Grameen America is a microfinance company whose mission is to help alleviate poverty through entrepreneurship. It provides financial services, such as loans, savings programs and a pathway to establish credit to the working poor, especially women, in the United States.
The Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation offers a combination of financial support and technical assistance to microfinance institutions and "social business" enterprises and projects. It mobilizes human and financial resources to defend the poorest people.
Grameen Kalyan provides affordable health care services to the rural poor in Bangladesh. They currently operate 30 health clinics in different parts of rural Bangladesh.
Grameen Shakti promotes, develops and popularizes renewable energy technologies in rural areas of Bangladesh. Having served more than 2 million people since inception, Grameen Shakti is one of the largest and fastest growing renewable energy technology programs in the world.
Grameen Shikkha was founded in 1997 to promote access to education, especially for the rural poor and women through training, scholarships and new technologies. As of October 2009, Grameen Shikkha has provided financial support to approximately 2,100 poor students.
Other members of the Grameen Family of Companies