Grameen America Inc, the leading microfinance nonprofit organisation focused on low-income minority women in the United States, has received $25 million grant from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.
This transformational investment in Grameen America's proven social capital model will accelerate the organisation's strategic initiatives over the next decade, including its focus on enabling a just and inclusive rebuild of America in the wake of Covid-19, read a press release.
Founded by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus, the organisation is at the frontline of poverty alleviation and financial empowerment and equity in the US, providing access to loan capital, training and support to women who live in poverty to start or expand a small business.
Participation in Grameen America's microfinance programme has proven to increase the financial wellbeing of economically disadvantaged women, in turn improving the health and education opportunities for their families and their communities.
At present, underserved minority businesswomen are a population disproportionately affected by the current economic crisis, demonstrating the critical need to support the organisation's members at this time.
"Systemic inequality requires bold solutions and MacKenzie Scott's investment in our programme will support a new path forward towards a more just and equitable rebuild and reimagining of the United States," said Andrea Jung, president and chief executive officer of Grameen America.
"At a time of great challenge, with the impact of Covid-19 and our renewed consciousness around racial injustice, Grameen America is poised to be one of the vehicles for change our country is seeking," she added.
Scott's philanthropic support marks a new chapter in Grameen America's work as a leader in the financial inclusion sector, read the press release.
This investment will advance strategic initiatives that economically empower women business owners affected by poverty in the US Most recently, the organisation launched the Grameen America Economic Relief and Recovery Fund to provide essential capital and support to its members facing hardships during this unprecedented time of need.
The Fund has permitted the organisation to help its members throughout the current rebuild, including supporting their resiliency through loan repayment assistance and providing tens of thousands of low-income women in financial distress with special Recovery Loans.
"This investment will accelerate our national expansion and support the rollout of innovative programs to enhance technology and training for our members, contributing to the critical need for financial inclusion for low-income minority women in the United States," said Jung.
"This transformational gift will allow us to cement our programme for the next decade and we are emboldened to lead this work which prioritizes economically underserved women and their communities," she added.
"We are deeply honored by this recognition, and applaud MacKenzie's leadership and commitment to using her platform to elevate and empower Grameen America and other organizations driving change. Collectively we will accelerate our progress to design solutions to the critical issues of our time," continued Jung.
Over the next decade, Grameen America aims to scale its operations in order to reach 400,000 minority small business owners, through 40 branch locations across the country, and grow its cumulative loan disbursements to $12 billion from the $1.5 billion to date.
Since opening in January 2008, Grameen America has invested over $1.5 billion in more than 132,000 low-income women entrepreneurs.
Opening originally in Jackson Heights, Queens, Grameen America has expanded to 15 cities in Austin, TX, Boston, MA, Charlotte, NC, Fresno, CA, Houston, TX, Indianapolis, IN, Los Angeles, CA, Miami, FL, Newark, NJ, New York City, NY, Omaha, NE, Oakland, CA, San Jose, CA, San Juan, PR, and Union City, NJ.