New organization to combine power of digital technology to end poverty with robust networks of women’s self-help groups in Africa, Asia and Latin America
WASHINGTON October 25, 2016 — Grameen Foundation and Freedom from Hunger, two global leaders in the fight to end poverty, announced today that they are joining forces to form a single unified global organization.
Under the banner of Grameen Foundation the combined organization will be able to reach more people across the spectrum of poverty, while deepening the focus on the very poor, especially women, its leaders say.
“Our integration comes at an incredibly exciting time,” said Grameen Foundation President and CEO Steve Hollingworth. “Over the past twenty odd years, one billion people have been able to exit extreme poverty. As a combined organization, we have unprecedented opportunity to accelerate such changes, especially for the 800 million people still living in dire poverty and highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.”
The mission of the combined organization is to “Enable the poor, especially women, to create a world without poverty and hunger.” Its programs expand financial inclusion, enhance health, strengthen resilience and improve livelihoods for people in poor, rural communities around the world.
“There is a natural synergy between Freedom from Hunger’s focus on providing the world’s poorest women with self-help tools and Grameen Foundation’s expertise in digital innovation to end poverty,” said Kathleen Stack, the new Executive Vice President of Grameen Foundation, and previously Interim President and CEO of Freedom from Hunger. “And we are committed to leveraging our combined strengths to make a big difference for the world’s poor.”
The union has the support of Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate and founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, whose microloans serve 8.6 million poor families. Although Grameen Bank and Grameen Foundation are independent entities, Professor Yunus was a founding member of Grameen Foundation’s Board of Directors and continues to serve as director emeritus.
“I congratulate Grameen Foundation as it continues to strengthen its impact against poverty and hunger. The integration of Freedom from Hunger, which has deep roots in microfinance and women’s empowerment, with Grameen opens new opportunities to empower women’s self-help groups and to build social businesses that benefit the poor,” Professor Yunus said.
Jane Pauley, noted television personality and co–Chair of Freedom from Hunger’s Ambassadors Council, said, “I am proud to congratulate Freedom from Hunger and Grameen Foundation on their union into one organization. We can look forward to more women and children living healthy lives that are rich with opportunity.”
Both organizations have roots in the earliest movements for microfinance, and today conduct programs that tackle poverty and hunger from multiple directions.
Grameen Foundation is a leader in digital innovation to end poverty. Its work in microfinance has enabled 23 million people to gain better access to microloans, savings accounts and other financial services, and its mobile agriculture tools have benefitted 470,000 smallholder farmers in countries of Africa and Latin America.
Freedom from Hunger is widely known for its innovative work with village-based women’s groups, delivering integrated health and financial services that include health education, financing and micro-insurance, linkages to health providers and access to health products. Today these programs reach five million women.
As part of the integrated Grameen Foundation, the new Board of Trustees draws half of its members from each organization. The combined organization will continue to strategically align its programs over the coming months.
Robert Eichfeld, co-Chair of the new board, points to an added significance of the organizations’ integration: “During this pivotal time in global development, the joining of our organizations highlights the opportunities for well-conceived partnerships to accelerate the fight against poverty and hunger.”
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About Grameen Foundation
Grameen Foundation is a global nonprofit organization that brings innovative and sustainable solutions to the fight against poverty and hunger. Together with local partners, it equips families, women, and smallholder farmers with resources and services that expand financial inclusion, strengthen resilience, enhance health and improve livelihoods. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., Grameen Foundation, USA is a 501(c)(3) organization with offices in the U.S., Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It works in the Middle East and North Africa through Grameen-Jameel Microfinance Limited, a joint venture, and in India through Grameen Foundation India, a wholly-owned subsidiary. For more information visit: www.grameenfoundation.org
About Freedom from Hunger
Established in 1946, Freedom from Hunger is recognized for fighting hunger with innovative self-help programs. In the 1970s, it began implementing Applied Nutrition Programs, focusing almost exclusively on the health and nutrition of mothers and children. In 1989, Freedom from Hunger developed the world’s first integrated microcredit/health and nutrition education program. Freedom from Hunger is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and will continue to function as a charitable organization that exclusively supports the newly combined Grameen Foundation. For more information visit www.freedomfromhunger.org