Grameen America Celebrates A Decade Of Empowerment
More than 200 business leaders, philanthropists, and women trailblazers came out to celebrate Grameen America’s 10th anniversary at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 23. Held at the stunning Temple of Dendur, in the Sackler wing, the event honored Muhammad Yunus, Chair of the Board of Directors and Founder of Grameen America, with the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Ray Dalio, Founder, Chairman, and Co-Chief Investment Officer of Bridgewater Associates, with the Founders Award. The event raised more than $2 million for the Fund For Her Future.
“Ten years later, this ‘experiment’ is no longer an experiment,” said Andrea Jung, President and Chief Executive Officer of Grameen America. “Not only has it worked, but the organization has become the fastest growing, most successful microfinance program in the nation.”
Honoree Ray Dalio, who is contributing the proceeds of his new book Principles to Grameen America, noted, “I know of no model that is better than this model—it will fund itself and have impact on people who need it the most.”
Melanne Verveer, Co-Founder of Seneca Women and the first-ever Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. State Department under President Obama, presented the award to Professor Yunus. She was joined by Maria Arboleda, a proud business owner who received her first loan of $1,500 from Grameen America at its Jackson Heights branch in 2011. She now has six employees at her auto shop and is currently on her 12th loan cycle.
Professor Yunus, who just released a new book A World of Three Zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, and Zero Net Carbon Emissions, reflected on the past 10 years, “We didn’t know how far we could come.”
Ms. Jung spoke about Grameen America’s plans for the next decade, which include doubling the number of branch locations, reaching more than half a million women, and touching more than 1.5 million lives. “What was a bold dream just a few short years ago is now a tangible goal with material national impact.”
photos by Mark Thompson