This Man is a Rock Star

Grameen America Founder and Nobel Laureate, Professor Muhammad Yunus, inspires action at the The Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, NYC. More »

Business blooms for Sabina

With disciplined savings into an account set up at a commercial bank through Grameen America, Sabina had the capital to invest. More »

Professor Yunus Cuts the Rope

Professor Yunus launched Grameen America in 2008 in the wake of the financial crisis. Four years later, we have reached 12,000 families and counting... More »

 

Celebrities for Social Development

There has been a tremendous amount of celebrity buzz about social development and women’s empowerment recently. This week’s roundup covers Grameen America Board Chair Professor Muhammad Yunus’ visit with Pope Francis and fellow Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, John Legend’s involvement in a women’s empowerment campaign, and the billionaires’ “Giving Pledge.”

  • Professor Yunus traveled to the Vatican City to meet with Pope Francis and other influential leaders to discuss a new global economic policy addressing unemployment, poverty, and dependence on state charity. Read the full story here.
  • Professor Yunus then went to Myanmar to meet with fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner and politician, Aung San Suu Kyi. The two spoke about the future of social business in Myanmar and its role in the country’s development.
  • John Legend showed his support for the female empowerment campaign #OperationGirl by featuring a variety of women of all ages in his latest single You and I (Nobody in the World). The Grammy award winner voiced his goals for the project in a statement: “Through #OperationGirl we hope to amplify the voices and impact of the many organizations doing great work on behalf of girls and women.”

John Legend participated in female empowerment campaign #OperationGirl

  • The new age of philanthropy: 60 Minutes featured a segment on the Giving Pledge established by Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates. The pledge requires billionaires to give away 50% of their net worth either during their lifetime or in their will. Over 100 people have signed on to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes or charitable organizations. Find out who signed the pledge.

 

 

Meet Marcus Berkowitz, Director of Strategy & Expansion

Muhammad Yunus“My mother has been financially independent since I was a toddler. A lot of what I’ve been able to do in my life is a result of that. I’m a good example of how supporting women can benefit society generally — whether you’re a man or a woman, the effect trickles out.”

Marcus graduated from Pitzer College with a degree in Latin American Studies and Economics. After graduation, Marcus managed a team at a small bike shop and learned all about ‘the guts’ of a small business. The shop had taken on a lot of debt, which gave Marcus an interesting perspective on the good, the bad, and the ugly of paying off debt at a small business.

This experience enhanced Marcus’ fascination with microfinance and led him to apply for a KIVA fellowship in Latin America. Marcus landed in Chimbo, Ecuador where he worked with KIVA and the Cooperative San Jose to identify impact investment opportunities and streamline client data. After the fellowship, Marcus came to Grameen America where he used his experience to help improve impact measurement and data management tools. Now Marcus is involved in operational expansion and technology implementation.

What is Marcus’ favorite thing about working at Grameen America? Its “awesome staff” and “young, startup culture where everyone does what needs to get done.”

“It’s exciting, inspiring, and often surprising to work with people with 25+ years of experience in an industry that is so young. Learning from them is fascinating”

 

Grameen America Celebrates (Financial) Independence Day

This Friday celebrate female entrepreneurship in America! As you spend time with family and friends to celebrate the country’s independence, be sure to think of women like Silvia, who have overcome obstacles to achieve their own financial independence.

Silvia is a mother from Austin, who spent 10 hours a day earning less than minimum wage steaming shirts. Silvia is ambitious and determined to build a better life for her family. A friend of Silvia’s introduced her to a Center Manager at Grameen America, who guided Silvia through Grameen’s program and provided her with a microloan of $1,500. With this loan, Silvia purchased an ice cream truck that she uses to sell ice cream and candy throughout the neighborhood.

Silvia’s new business allows her to control her income and build assets and her credit score. Most importantly, Silvia can now provide for her family and spend more time with her children. Silvia’s hard work and drive allowed her to become truly financially independent. Cheers to Silvia and all the other amazing entrepreneurs out there!

Grameen America

Silvia used her Grameen America microloan to purchase an ice cream truck

LIVESTREAM: 5th Annual Social Business Day

CGM_Photo credit Mamun

This Saturday, June 28th, entrepreneurs in Dhaka, Bangladesh will celebrate Yunus Centre‘s 5th Annual Social Business Day. Social businesses are nonprofit companies that aim to solve pressing social problems in sustainable ways. Attendees of the conference are given the opportunity to share stories, collaborate with like-minded professionals, and celebrate the achievements of the social business movement.

The event will consist of speeches by inspirational figures such as Kerry Kennedy, as well as many helpful workshops and panel sessions. Get involved in the movement and help work towards reducing world poverty!

Click here to register for the event or watch it here: