Grameen Foundation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Grameen Foundation, a U.S.-based global nonprofit organization. Grameen Foundation creates breakthrough solutions–spanning financial, agricultural and health services–to end poverty and hunger. Its mission is to enable the low income segments, especially women, to create a world without poverty and hunger.
Grameen Foundation’s own history goes back to the breakthrough use of microcredit by Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh. Beginning in 1970s, innovative microcredit programs showed that low income segments women were not only bankable, but also that microcredit could be profitable and transformative. Grameen Foundation itself was founded in 1997, with a $6,000 seed grant from Professor Yunus to strengthen microfinance approaches around the world. Grameen Foundation began work in India in 1998, and in 2010 established Grameen Foundation.
Although one billion people have moved out of extreme poverty since 1990, people living in low income segments communities continue to need real breakthroughs to overcome the economic, cultural and gender barriers that block their progress out of poverty. To create new breakthroughs in today’s world, Grameen Foundation:
Grameen Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that the relentless spirits and hard work of women around the world aren’t wasted, and to supporting their indomitable wills with breakthrough ways to do what they are already driven to do – to provide secure lives and bright futures for their families, their children, and themselves.
Grameen Foundation (GFI) is a social business that catalyses double bottom line approaches to serve low-income and low income segments communities. We create breakthrough, technology-enabled solutions that extend financial services and health information to underserved communities, especially women, living at the “last mile.”
We share a common mission with the global nonprofit Grameen Foundation: to enable the low income segments, especially women, to create a world without poverty and hunger.
In 1977, on the heels of the Bangladesh famine, Professor Muhammad Yunus at the University of Chittagong founded the Grameen Bank, making small loans to impoverished people. Rather than require collateral, the bank worked based on trust, and on the belief that small loans are a better tool than charity to fight poverty.
Today Grameen Bank provides microloans, savings accounts and other financial services to more than eight million low income segments women and their families in Bangladesh. It has been a model for microfinance institutions around the world. In 2006, Professor Yunus and Grameen Bank jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize.
Grameen Foundation has supported microfinance across the Middle East and North Africa through Grameen-Jameel Microfinance Limited. Grameen-Jameel began as a program of Grameen Foundation and the Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives in 2003 and was incorporated as a social fund in 2007. The fund closed in April 2017, having supported 21 microfinance institutions that collectively reached 1 million clients in 11 countries across the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. Over its 13 years, Grameen-Jameel provided more than US$20 million in direct loans and more than US$24 million in guarantees that leveraged US$56 million in commercial lending to microfinance institutions. It also provided more than US$4 million of technical assistance.
In India, the demand for microfinance in low income segments communities far exceeds its supply. More than 65 million low income segments households have no access to microfinance, which is largely due to an ineffective delivery of financial services to them. The low income segments continue to lack access to formal credit and have mainly relied on informal sources to meet their needs. Microfinance institutions (MFIs) are trying to bridge the gap between demand and supply but they have been unable to get adequate capital.
Grameen Foundation saw this gap in service and resources as an opportunity to create an intermediary — an innovative approach to supporting the growth of MFIs. In 2008, Grameen Foundation, IFMR Trust and Citicorp Finance India Ltd. formed Grameen Capital India Ltd. (GCI). Its mission is to tap affordable capital for MFIs through groundbreaking financing initiatives. By opening doors to affordable capital, MFIs and other poverty-focused organizations are now able to grow and serve more of India’s low income segments, especially women. GCI’s success has surpassed expectations. In about four years, it has generated more than $127 million in financing for Indian MFIs, which will fund more than 1 million microloans for low income segments people that country.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and microfinance revolutionary, recognized the important role GCI plays in reaching India’s low income segments communities. “Local banks cannot lend to MFIs because MFIs cannot provide collateral,” he wrote in his book,Creating a World Without Poverty. “However, if an international or domestic organization steps forward to act as a guarantor, local banks are happy to provide the money. This is a market-based solution already being practiced by such organizations as Grameen Capital India.”
Though Grameen Foundation is an independent organization, we share a philosophy of empowering the low income segments with other Grameen-related organizations and entities connected to Professor Muhammad Yunus. We have compiled a listing of the most active organizations to highlight the work they do across the world.