Archive for October, 2009

The Greatest Anti-Poverty Program in History

October 29, 2009

Will Marre is the co-founder and former president of the Covey Leadership Center (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People), CEO of the REALeadership Alliance, and the author of “Save the World and Still Be Home for Dinner” (Capital Books, 2009). The following is from a Tuesday, Oct 27 entry on his blog, Thought Rocket.

Today the Grameen Foundation is launching $27 on the 27th. This is to commemorate Dr. Mohammed Yunus’ first micro-loan back in 1976. He loaned $27 to a group of impoverished women in Bangladesh who were living on less than $1 a day while working their hearts out. The economic system of the rural villages was designed by middle class traders to keep their village work forces in constant debt. The women that Dr. Yunus loaned his money to were making a profit of 2 cents a day. Almost immediately their profits increased 50 times to over a dollar a day. Within a few years Yunus had founded the Grameen Bank, which means Village Bank, and thousands of poor women have become self-reliant, often doubling or increasing their net income by 10 times within months of having a legitimate source of investment capital.

Today the Grameen Foundation supports over 200 micro-finance institutions operating around the world from Asia to Africa, China to the Middle East. There are now over 150 million families benefiting from micro-investment capital. The power of this business model is that it is a business. Interest is charged to support the micro banks so that they can loan more money and keep it in an endless virtuous cycle of reinvestment. Today the Grameen Foundation is operating with the wisdom of a global social enterprise by helping create software and other technology solutions to help microfinance banks operate with high efficiency. They are also creating micro-franchises so that village entrepreneurs can establish solar-powered villages while reducing the need for diesel and kerosene. They’re helping women become village eyeglass dispensers so that people over 40 can read on their cell phones and of course they have brought cell phone technology to tens of millions of people in the developing world. For the first time in history we can actually imagine a world without poverty driven by the values of self-reliance. After doing this for 30 years we now know that women are the world’s best poverty fighters because they reinvest in their children and their communities.

Today the Grameen Foundation is seeking to establish a constant and reliable source of donor income. They are asking us to contribute $27 a month every month, a little less than a dollar a day. What they hope to do with this sustainable flow of money is build a worldwide system that provides capital, education, access to basic health care, technology and leadership development to help the poorest of the poor lift themselves to a life of dignity. Their vision is a poverty free world.

I have adopted the Grameen Foundation as my central cause because I have never seen so much sustainable good achieved by integrating the best of business practices and the highest moral vision that human beings can aspire to. So I invite you to consider becoming part of this great movement to end poverty. Go to the Grameen Foundation and join up. I already have.

Help us Celebrate 27 on the 27th Today

October 27, 2009

27 on the 27thToday, Grameen Foundation is launching the Ingenuity Fund, our new fundraising effort that aims to create a village – or grameen – of online advocates and funders.

You can support the launch of the Ingenuity Fund by participating in our first initiative, “$27 on the 27th.”  In 1976, Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus planted the seed that created Grameen Bank by making a loan of $27 to a group of 42 Bangladeshi stool makers out of his own pocket. Professor Yunus’ simple, yet ingenious action has revolutionized the way in which we combat poverty around the world and offers inspiration to people looking to make an impact with their charitable donation.

Here is how you can join us in our “$27 on the 27th” initiative:

  • Join our Facebook fan page at and participate in our Facebook notes campaign “10 Things Under $27 I Can Live Without to Change the World.”  Get your friends thinking about the difference they could make with $27.
  • Follow us on Twitter @GrameenFdn and reTweet our $27 on the 27th messages to spread the word.
  • Make a donation of $27 (or more) to demonstrate your support at  Through the generosity of a group of Grameen Foundation supporters, all donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $200,000.  By donating today, you can increase the already powerful impact of your contribution.

Also, make sure to check out our newly redesigned Web site at We hope you’ll be just as excited about the new look and site features as we are, including enhanced success stories and an interactive map highlighting where we work around the world.

What Would You Give Up to Help End the Cycle of Poverty?

October 21, 2009

Your daily dose of lattes. Dinner out with friends. Cab fare.

The money you spend on items like these in one week could help us impact the lives of poor people around the world. So what would you give up for one week to help end poverty? How much money would that raise for poor families? Tell us below and then send us a Tweet or Facebook message.