From the moment I heard about Muhammad Yunus, I was blown away. A professor of economics in Bangladesh, he started with $42 and made loans to women entrepreneurs in his local community. By giving some of the poorest of the poor access to capital, he gave them the ability to take control of their financial future.
He ultimately founded Grameen Bank. Grameen translates to community in Bengali, and the bank truly supports the community. Loans are made to “solidarity groups”, which are small informal groups that apply for loans together. They guarantee each other’s repayment thus adding incentive for the community to support each other’s success.
I’m asking you today to support Grameen Bank’s efforts in America.
There have been some efforts to bring microfinance to America, but none on this level. I once heard Jonothan Kozol say that if he were dropped in any city in America, he could find where the poor people lived with no problem. All he’d have to do is drive the main streets and eventually you’d stop seeing banks and you’d start seeing check cashing businesses.
Lack of access to financial services and education about how to properly use money is the great opportunity we have to help the generations to come.
Make a pledge to improve your financial future, and help Grameen America build their first branch
For the simple act of clicking on a button and pledging to improve your financial life, the Allstate Foundation will make a donation of a dollar to Grameen America and their work in supporting Microfinance in America. This can range from passing up unnecessary purchases, saving money, or the one I chose: to teach friends and family about financial literacy.
If you’re in New Orleans, I’m working on bringing the film To Catch A Dollar to a local university or theater. Please let me know if you’d like to be involved in that effort.