A statement from Grameen Foundation

August 25, 2016

Stephen Braun and Eileen Sullivan
Associated Press
1100 13th St NW,
Washington, DC 20005

Dear Mr. Braun and Ms. Sullivan,

We request an immediate correction to your AP article of August 23, 2016, “Many donors to Clinton Foundation met with Hillary Clinton at State Department.”

The article incorrectly states that Muhammad Yunus “runs” Grameen Foundation, and implies that Grameen Foundation received USAID money based on unethical means, rather than through standard competitive processes and based on the merit of our organization and programs.

Professor Yunus was a founding member of the board of Grameen Foundation in 1997.Heserved as a board member until 2009, andhas been an Emeritus member since that time, providing invaluable guidance and inspiration. But Professor Yunus does not run Grameen Foundation.  Grameen Foundation is an independent United States-based nonprofit organization with its own leadership and staff.

Your article also incorrectly implies that Grameen Foundation’s original partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and subsequent grant funding, were the result of a meeting between Professor Yunus and Hillary Clinton in April 2009.

On the contrary, the partnership entered between USAID and Grameen Foundation in 2009 was based on both organizations’ strong commitment to microfinance as a path out of poverty for the world’s poor. Grameen Foundation had worked in microfinance since its founding in 1997.  The partnership, formalized by a Memorandum of Understanding signed in October 2009, was to extend $162.5 million as loan guarantees in support of microfinance institutions in poor countries, thus enabling those institutions to support more low-income individuals and small businesses with microloans, as a pathway out of poverty.  These funds were not provided to Grameen Foundation. They were used to provide credit guarantees to enable microfinance institutions in poor countries to serve low-income clients. Grameen Foundation placed credit guarantees alongside those of USAID in support of these local organizations serving the poor.

The article also implies that the money received by Grameen Foundation from USAID between 2012 and 2016 was unethically procured or sourced. In fact, Grameen Foundation competed for USAID-funded grants, participating in its rigorous and strictly regulated competitive bid process.  During that time, we were awarded four grants totaling $3.1 million to design and implement projects aimed at improving child and maternal health, and improving the financial security of the poor.  In addition, we were sub-grantees on an additional six grants totaling $2.2 million. We were selected as subgrantees not by USAID, but by the prime grantee based on the merit of our work and expertise of our staff.

The allegations in your articlemisrepresent our work, our history, and our values.

We are proud of our history, and of our long-standing relationship with Professor Yunus.  As the founder of microcredit, Professor Yunus has helped to change the lives of tens of millions of poor people the world over.  He founded and ran the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, and ultimately founded a whole family of associated organizations and social enterprises in that country.  Based on this work, Professor Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.  His work has demonstrated how it is possible to create self-sustaining institutions that operate within the market system and serve the needs of the poor.  These are models all people, enterprises and governments can learn from as they strive to address the deep-seated problems of poverty, inequity and hunger.

Grameen Foundation, an independent US organization, was founded on this vision.  We have continued to develop and build on our original work in microfinance, and today focus on using digital technology to help the world’s poorest people improve their livelihoods, enhance their health, stabilize their finances, and strengthen their resilience.

We request and expect a correction to the inaccuracies and insinuations in the August 23 article, “Many donors to Clinton Foundation met with Hillary Clinton at State Department.”


Sincerely,

Steve Hollingworth
President & CEO

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