Meet Our Donors
Grameen Foundation donors show their ingenuity and dedication to helping to break the cycle of poverty for women around the world in unique ways. Read about a few of our dedicated supporters here.
A Winning Combination:
Double Olympic Gold Medalist Gives to Grameen Foundation
Annie Chen: Empowering Women Through Microfinance
|Annie Chen, center, with GF Asia CEO Jennifer Meehan and clients of CZWSDA.|
Global Traveler Meeting Global Needs
|Raja Malkani, left, with clients of CZWDSA.|
Raja Malkani became curious about microfinance after learning of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Professor Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank. He read more about microfinance and became convinced that it was an efficient and long-lasting way to help the poor. Raja was interested in wisely donating to an organization that could help spread microfinance worldwide, so Grameen Foundation was a natural choice. Raja has also participated in a Grameen Foundation trip to the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, a part of China, and has traveled with our longtime partner, the Chiapas Project, to Chiapas, Mexico. In both places, he met microfinance borrowers stitching and selling clothing, operating seed shops, and growing and selling crops. As Raja states, “There are a lot of poor people around the world who have a marketable skill and the desire to earn a better living. It’s amazing what microfinance can do for such people. The borrowers I met didn’t just gain financially; they gained self-esteem and a sense of independence, too.” Grameen Foundation is grateful for Raja’s enthusiasm and generosity in supporting innovations that help end the cycle of poverty around the world.
Spreading Enthusiasm for Microfinance Around the Globe
|Steven Rockefeller, Jr. with Andrea Soriano, mother of professional baseball player Alfonso Soriano, during a microfinance trip to the Dominican Republic.|
Steven C. Rockefeller, Jr. has channeled his enthusiasm for Grameen Foundation and microfinance both personally and professionally. As managing director of Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management, he played a central role in creating Deutsche Bank Microcredit Development Fund, which helped clients link to microfinance programs through a bank-sponsored product. Steven was impressed that microfinance offered a large-scale, sustainable solution to move people out of poverty, so he became involved with Grameen Foundation. Steven served on our board of directors for over seven years, and now serves on our development committee.
Steven's optimism continues to inspire others to become involved with Grameen Foundation and microfinance. "Microfinance brings greater access to health, education, and safe housing for clients and their families," he said. "While people often become attached to the initial desperate need of microfinance clients, my interaction with microfinance has, more than anything, brought a sense of hope and happiness."
Citi Foundation is committed to the economic empowerment of individuals and families in local communities so that they can improve their standard of living. Since Grameen Foundation’s inception in 1997, Citi Foundation has been a steadfast and generous supporter of our work to fight global poverty, donating more than $3 million to our efforts and providing us with guidance on a number of our programs. As a testament of their commitment, Citi Foundation currently supports our Human Capital Center (HCC) financially, and has also placed one of its human resources executives to participate on the HCC Corporate Advisory Group to share his expertise with the microfinance sector. This investment in our innovative program is helping to address one of the most critical challenges microfinance institutions face in meeting the demand for financial services—attracting, developing and retaining the talented staff they need. Pamela P. Flaherty, President and CEO of the Citi Foundation explains, “We see our relationship with Grameen Foundation as a vital component of our commitment to supporting the growth and development of the microfinance sector through funding, local partnerships, and employee engagement.” We thank Citi Foundation for being one of our longest supporting corporate donors and look forward to continuing our creative partnership.
From Tennis Champion to Champion for Microfinance
|Anne and Terry Guerrant, center, with microfinance clients in India.|
Anne Guerrant played professional tennis for 9 years, ranking 11th in the world and competing at Wimbledon, the US Open, and other Grand Slam tournaments. As a tennis player, Anne traveled the world and was overwhelmed by the poverty she witnessed. In 2005, she and her husband Terry visited a microfinance program in India after reading Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus. Upon their return to the US, they established The Guerrant Foundation to empower poor women and their families through microfinance.
Terry and Anne see microfinance as a sustainable and effective solution to the problem of poverty. "This is a thinking person's approach to helping people,” Terry said. “The money is used over and over again and not wasted on a program that doesn't change things. Instead of a handout, we are giving people their dignity, which is far more valuable.” Through both their foundation and their personal donations, they have raised over $250,000 for Grameen Foundation. Terry and Anne’s dedication to expand microfinance has led to measurable results: since mid-2006, they have helped 8,300 people start small-scale businesses in their local communities. We thank Terry and Anne for their ongoing commitment to Grameen Foundation and our joint efforts to help move people out of poverty through microfinance.
Dick Gunther: A Legacy of Service
|Dick Gunther, right, with wife Lois and President Barack Obama.|
Dick Gunther's commitment to Grameen Foundation reflects two of his life-long passions: entrepreneurship and service. A successful Southern California businessman, Dick has chaired urban rehabilitation projects in Israel; served on local, California, and international committees and commissions; created a recognition program for senior volunteers through AARP; and has 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 Gunther was sitting next to 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 our board of directors for over ten years, in addition to serving on several subcommittees, and has since visited microfinance programs in China, India, and Vietnam. Grameen Foundation is grateful for Dick’s steadfast support and will honor him with the Susan M. Davis Lifetime Achievement Award in November 2009.
Small Donations Can Make a Global Impact
When Amanda Pullaro Nuku, a church administrator in Colorado, read Banker to the Poor by Professor Muhammad Yunus, she came away with an indelible impression of the power of microfinance. "I think it's really about empowering women - it's about giving these women financial control," she said.
For Amanda’s wedding shower in 2008, her longtime neighbor, Irene Elgart, made donations to Grameen Foundation in honor of Amanda's guests in lieu of party favors. "What better gift could I give them than a donation to Mandy's favorite charity?" Irene said. Amanda and her husband, Elike Nuku, are so moved by the concept of microfinance that they are researching starting their own microfinance institution in Elike's home country of Ghana. Grameen Foundation thanks Irene, Amanda, and Elike for their innovative gift to Grameen Foundation and for their dedication to helping women move out of poverty through microfinance.
Nonprofit Professional Organization Pledges to Raise Funds for Grameen Foundation
The Network of Indian Professionals of North America (NetIP) has pledged to raise funds for Grameen Foundation through its 24 chapters in 2009 and 2010. NetIP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall achievement and advancement of South Asian professionals. The organization was founded in Chicago in 1990 and now includes over 3,000 members and over 40,000 subscribers. NetIP’s pledge to Grameen Foundation aligns with NetIP’s community service pillar—one of four pillars on which the organization is founded. “We evaluated various not-for-profit organizations that we’d like to support through our North American initiative,” said NetIP’s Vice President of External Affairs Sundip Arora. “Grameen Foundation stood out given its mission and shared vision with our goals to use innovation and technology as a driver for social empowerment.” Arora said NetIP not only supports charities with extensive reach but those that support the people of South Asia. NetIP has raised thousands of dollars for various local and regional charities with activities such as raffles, cruises, Diwali celebrations, galas, and annual conferences. As its first national fundraising effort last year, NetIP supported the Clinton Foundation and hopes to continue supporting a different national charity or foundation each year. We thank NetIP for their pledge to raise funds for Grameen Foundation!