Grameen Foundation USA

Breakthroughs to end poverty and hunger

aka Grameen Foundation   |   Washington, DC   |


Enable the poor, especially women, to create a world without poverty and hunger.

Notes from the nonprofit

Our Values

In all our work, we embrace and draw inspiration from our rich Grameen Bank Heritage. Our core values are:

- We seek to empower the world's poor, especially the poorest women
- We hold ourselves and our partners accountable for transparency and measurable results, including social and financial performance
- We champion innovation that makes a difference in the lives of the poor
- We first seek to form partnerships with those who can advance our mission before acting alone
- We respect, invest in and promote local social entrepreneurs and local ownership
- We honor the voice, professionalism and integrity of our staff and volunteers

Ruling year info


Interim President and CEO

Mr. Brent Chism

Main address

1400 K Street, NW Suite 1255

Washington, DC 20005 USA

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NTEE code info

International Development, Relief Services (Q30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Since 1990, one billion people have exited extreme poverty. However, despite this progress, 767 million people still live on the edge of survival, earning less than $1.90 a day, and nearly 800 million people in developing countries are undernourished. The underlying causes of poverty and hunger are complex and interconnected. A lack of access to appropriate financial services; to agricultural knowledge, technologies and financing; and to health financing and health services create high barriers to progress out of poverty.

The world's 500 million smallholder farm families make up 70 percent of the extreme poor. Some two billion people—including 1.1 billion women—have no access to formal financial services that are key enablers to a better life. Sixty percent of chronically hungry people are women and girls, and hunger globally is on the rise. Additionally, more than 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty due to a health crisis every year.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Climate-Smart Agriculture

We put hyper-localized, data-driven information in the hands of local agronomists and farmers to help them make and keep to 7-year plans to improve their crop yields.

These texts, voice messages, and specialized call-in radio shows let them know about upcoming severe weather, or what to do to prevent pest infestation. Others link them to digital farm development loans tailored to their growing and lean seasons to make repayment easier. Many are simple tips to improve their soil and crop yield, or reminders to help them stay on track.

This technology is delivered by more than 30,000 agricultural Community Agents, each of whom can reach anywhere from 150 to 1,000 farmers in a year.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Women and girls

People living on less than US$2.50 a day urgently need reliable financial services. They need to be able to safely save, borrow, make payments and use insurance.

We develop solutions to meet the needs of very poor people, with special attention to including women. Our solutions help people build assets, weather crisis and manage risk. Integrated solutions link financial services to informational, health and agricultural services. One example is LedgerLink, a groundbreaking Android application that allows rural savings group members to record transactions via smartphone.

We use mobile phones to connect people to formal financial services and work with women’s savings groups--especially in Ugandan refugee camps--to provide informal, but powerful, financial services. Our solutions provide affordable loans for smallholder farmers and equip local agent networks to better serve the rural poor.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Women and girls
Refugees and displaced people

Our Bankers without Borders® program mobilizes the talent and skills of private sector volunteers to support the missions of poverty-focused social enterprises. Starting with just 100 volunteers in 2008, today nearly 20,000 business professionals, academics, and students from 170 countries are ready to contribute their time, skills and expertise to strengthen organizations fighting global poverty.

Population(s) Served

Women have the power and ingenuity to end poverty in their communities. We work with local partners, savings groups, and farming collectives to make sure they have the tools they need to harness this power.

Several of our programs focus on training women to become last-mile, digitally enabled community agents, able to connect their communities to digital banking services, business loans, financial literacy training, and more.

Some of these agents, particularly through our WE-GAIN program in Ghana, are also trained to provide resources for victims of gender-based violence. They work with Grameen and its partners to hold gender workshops in their villages.

Other agents, such as our Mittras in India, provide gender-based health and education services to their communities.

While access to microfinance is critical, it's not enough for women. Through research, partnerships, and digital innovation, we're making sure women are holistically empowered to end poverty and hunger.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Economically disadvantaged people
Women and girls

Where we work


Charity Navigator 2012


Proving the Value of Mobile Money for Microfinance 2010

Forum for Innovative Financial Solutions

Global Mobile Award for Best Use of Mobile for Social and Economic Development 2010

Mobile World Congress

AfricaCom Award for Best Solution for Rural Services 2009


Member of the Year 2007

Small Enterprise Education and Promotion (SEEP) Network

Interaction Awards - Finalist for the 2014 People’s Choice Award under the Empowering category 2014


Publicly available database of experienced private debt and equity impact investment fund managers 2013

ImpactAssets 50 (IA 50)

GBT Innovation Award for the Best Mobile Application Innovation in recognition of our work with AppLab Indonesia 2011

Global Telecom Business

Ranked as one of top non-profits in international/microfinance sector 2012

Philanthropedia Top Non-Profits

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Grameen Foundation's goal is to reach 25 million of the world's poor from 2015 to 2025 with solutions that measurably improve their lives. To this end, we create solutions that improve people's access to financial, agricultural, and health services, opening new opportunities for growth. We do so through leveraging digital technology, data-derived insights, partnerships, networks of field agents, and local women's savings and self-help groups.

In the past 20 years, Grameen Foundation's work has evolved tremendously, but the heart of our mission remains the same: to enable the poor, especially women, to create a world without poverty and hunger. We are dedicated to delivering new major breakthroughs— innovative, sustainable solutions with the potential to benefit many— to overcome long standing economic, cultural, and gender barriers that keep women and families trapped in poverty.

We apply technology and partnerships to create new tools, strengthen the functioning of inclusive institutions, and develop market linkages that give women and men greater access to financial, agricultural, and health information and services, and greater access to and control over resources. We are committed to impacting the poor and especially the very poorest, with a focus on women and gender issues.

To accomplish our goals, we work in three primary areas:

1) We expand financial inclusion to the poor, with a focus on women. Through developing and delivering appropriate financial products and services for women, we aim to open new gateways to greater savings and safety nets, higher incomes, and better lives.

2) We empower smallholder farmers to improve their productivity and incomes. Our agriculture program addresses the daily problems that confront smallholder farmers—the majority of the world's poor and hungry— whether those challenges are access to finance, farm inputs, weather information, technical assistance, or markets. We use information and communication technologies to enable the agricultural system to operate more sustainably, inclusively, and efficiently to help all farmers improve their lives.

3) We enable health financing and access, with an aim to improve a woman's health knowledge, ability to pay for care, and access to health services and products. In doing so, women and families will no longer need to forego care until it is too late or until an emergency hits. Absent a health crisis, adequate access to health financing and service will improve the general health and nutritional status of adults and children, supporting their labor productivity and learning across the life cycle.

Several basic principles inform our strategic approach. First, because a woman is often the most impacted by poverty and key to solving it, we place the needs of a poor woman at the center of our solution design process. We believe that the most important breakthroughs are hers: She begins to save, takes out a loan, talks to her husband about planning their family, and adopts healthy behaviors or farming practices. But such practical changes are not necessarily straightforward. We research to understand her challenges in accessing financial services, health services, and nutritious food, as well as in having her voice heard, her needs recognized, and her capabilities mobilized. Recognizing the complexity of social change, Grameen's work includes structured gender dialogues that enable women and men to re-evaluate and change gender norms that impede a women's ability to escape poverty and hunger.

Second, we use digital technology to solve the age-old problems of poverty and hunger. As never before, digital technology and data-derived insights can be leveraged to better understand the nuanced needs of the poor, and to deliver a wider range of solutions to basic needs that are both personal and scalable. We make use of the mobile phone that is in nearly every household to break through barriers of distance, cost, and literacy, and to give people a formal financial identity so they can finally participate in the formal economy.

Third, we work with partners to develop solutions that are scalable and sustainable. We bring together all partners crucial to a successful solution: Microfinance institutions; technology, agribusiness or financial companies; NGOs; government agencies and more. We work in ways that strengthen local partner organizations, improve efficiency and bottom line, and support partners to embed solutions in their business models. Every innovation is designed to be economically sustainable for our partners and end beneficiaries.

Applying these strategic principals, we create integrated solutions that typically address some combination of: Digital Financial Services for Women; Digital Innovation for Agriculture; and Health Financing and Access. Our products and services are designed to measurably reduce poverty through access to financial services and essential information and services related to agriculture and health.

Grameen was founded in 1997 to combat global poverty through supporting development of microfinance institutions, and by 2009 Grameen Foundation had helped to fund and develop a global network of 52-member organizations that provided micro-loans and other services to 11 million people.

Since then, Grameen has broadened its approach to attack poverty from different directions, applying digital technology to address root causes of household poverty and the drivers of progress out of poverty.

In October 2016, Grameen and the global nonprofit Freedom from Hunger joined forces, integrating Grameen's expertise in digital innovation to end poverty and Freedom from Hunger's 75-year focus on providing the world's poorest women with self-help tools to reduce hunger and poverty, including through expertise in training and adult learning, and a methodology to promote gender dialogues that empower women within the home and the community.

Today, Grameen Foundation's work is carried out by a global staff, 70 percent of whom are in the field. Grameen directly supports breakthroughs to end poverty and hunger in 17 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, while partners of Grameen and Freedom from Hunger continue to implement programming in 11 additional countries. This work takes a variety of forms in different countries.

In India we work closely with Freedom from Hunger India Trust, and with our fully owned subsidiaries Grameen Foundation India and Grameen Foundation Social Impact, to empower poor women in India through access to financial, health and nutritional information and services. Meanwhile, our fully owned subsidiary, TaroWorks™, offers digital technology data solutions for nonprofits and social enterprises globally.

The work of Grameen Foundation staff and programs is further amplified and scaled through engagement with strategic partners, whether a local MFI or a global agribusiness. Together with our partners, we create innovative solutions that help the poor generate income, build assets, smooth consumption, and manage risk.

Our global network of staff and consultants bring a range of subject-matter expertise and functional specialties. These assets allow us to pioneer industry-level breakthroughs in Digital Financial Services (DFS), Digital Innovation for Agriculture and Health Financing and Access that work for women and the poor.

Subject-Matter Expertise
● Microfinance
● Banking
● Digital finance
● Alternative delivery channels
● Savings and self-help groups
● Agricultural finance
● Health finance
● Financial literacy/education

Functional Specialties
● Client-centered solution design
● Client behavior change
● Project management
● Technology implementation
● Process re-engineering
● Business model development
● Organizational change management

We are on track to achieve our goal of measurably improving the lives of 25 million people by 2025, having already reached 9.3 million beneficiaries since 2015.

Recent successes:

● Bringing financial services to poor communities: Our Community Agent Network in the Philippines engaged nearly 1,900 agents, 75% of whom are women who operate small local shops. From 2016-2017, CAN agents facilitated more than 4.3 million transactions valued at $24.9 million. CAN agents can now use the specially designed digital financial services platform to help remote customers to send payments, transfer money to loved ones, deposit money into a digital account and more.

● Providing financial and farming advice: In FY2017, we connected 305,645 farmers in Ghana to vital farming advice and support using digital technology and targeted radio programs;

● Improving agriculture for smallholder coconut farmers: In the Philippines, where 60% of coconut smallholder farmers live at or below the poverty line, our FarmerLink program engaged 27,557 smallholder coconut farmers with SMS campaigns containing good agricultural practices, cash management practices, weather alerts, and pest and disease information.

● Educating on nutrition, improving food security: In India, we worked with Freedom from Hunger India Trust to help provide nearly 166,000 beneficiaries with education on nutrition, anemia and health practices and financial management. As a result, food security for participants in one project improved from 23% to 53%, and more than 4,500 women in a second project began saving monthly for health care needs.

● Improving health access through rural savings groups: With two local NGO partners in southern Bénin, Grameen Foundation introduced a health intervention package designed to increase access to health financing and services through education. While initially targeting 3,000 savings group members and their families, we reached over 15,000 through the project. These members now have access to health through negotiated benefits with 43 public and private health providers.

● Grameen's Bankers without Borders® mobilizes the talent and skills of private sector volunteers to support the missions of poverty-focused social enterprises. In just FY2017, these volunteers provided $3.6 million in in-kind services to social enterprises.

● TaroWorks™ LLC, a subsidiary of Grameen Foundation, is a social enterprise whose mobile-based data tool enables organizations serving poor and remote areas to efficiently collect, analyze and act on field data. In FY2017, 40 organizations used TaroWorks to manage their operations.

Part of our work is to develop better solutions and to share them with the development community. Our website shares lessons learned in the field, news about efforts to expand access to financial and information services for the poor, and research results, as well as individual success stories:


Grameen Foundation USA

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Grameen Foundation USA

Board of directors
as of 10/26/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Peter Cowhey

Interim Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, UC San Diego

Beverly Armstrong

CFO, Atlantic Council

Marie-Renée Bakker

Senior Finance Manager/Financial Specialist, The World Bank

Ellen Breyer

Former President and CEO, Hazelden Foundation

Carlos Fonseca

International Markets Head, Strategy, Planning & Analytics, Transunion

Vikram Gandhi

Founder and CEO, VSG Capital Advisors

William Hamm

Managing Director, Berkeley Research Group

Elisabeth Rhyne

Managing Director of the Center for Financial Inclusion, Accion

Marianne Udow-Phillips

Director of the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation, University of Michigan

Jenny Darlington

Senior Results Analyst, Capital Group

Katharin Dyer

Board Member, Strategic Advisor, CMO and AI Professional

Arthur Goshin

Secretary Founder/President/CEO, HealthyWorld Foundation

Leslie Hyman

Co-Founder and CEO Circa

Neela Saldanha

Founding Director The Centre for Social and Behaviour Change (CSBC) Ashoka University

Daniel Wolfson

Executive Vice President, ABIM Foundation

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/26/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data


No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data