This interview has been edited for clarity.
Grameen America is the fastest-growing microfinance organization in the United States, giving very small loans to women in poverty to build businesses. They have helped over 70,000 women and have a remarkable payback rate of 99.6%, according to Andrea Jung, their President and CEO.
In this segment from The Business of Giving, Ms. Andrea Jung, who previously served as the CEO of Avon Products for 12 years, discusses the importance of social capital and outlines how to take a nonprofit to scale. She also shares how she is going about making Grameen America a sustainable enterprise and what inspired her to move from the corporate world to the nonprofit sector.
Denver: The United States has been very reluctant to take ideas that have shown great promise in the developing world, and with a little bit of tweaking, see whether they just might work here. But one organization that has broken with that convention and with remarkable success is Grameen America. It is indeed a great pleasure to have with us this evening the President and CEO of Grameen America, Andrea Jung. Good evening, Andrea, and welcome to The Business of Giving.
Andrea: Good evening, Denver. It’s great to be here with you.
Denver: Give our listeners a brief overview of Grameen America — the mission and goals of the organization.
Andrea: Grameen America is, today, the fastest growing microfinance organization in the United States. We are in 11 cities. We have 18 branches and essentially, we give non-recourse, very small loans to women and their families in poverty. They have to use them to build entrepreneurial businesses, and we help them be banked. For the first time, many women are not banked in poverty in the United States, and we also help them build a credit score. (more…)