Microfinance Proliferation and Education
In 2010, Grameen Research committed to providing access to financial resources for low-income, promising entrepreneurs; increasing awareness of microfinance in America; educating and activating Americans around microfinance; and changing the way Americans view poverty. Grameen Research is working with the filmmaker to deploy ‘To Catch A Dollar’ as a tool for action across communities in the US. ‘To Catch A Dollar,’ a 2010 Sundance Film Festival selection, documents the effort to bring Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus’s revolutionary microfinance program to the United States and features the inspiring journey of several of the borrowers.
Grameen Research will deploy ‘To Catch A Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America,’ a 2010 Sundance Film Festival selection, as a tool for action. Using mobile text-to-give, ‘To Catch a Dollar’ will solicit donations from theatergoers on the film’s premiere night and ask corporate partners to match audience donations with the goal of raising million to open the first ever publicly-funded Grameen America branch. Once the necessary funds are raised, a 6-week on-line participatory journey will begin that will educate our community about microfinance and give it a voice and vote on the location of the new Grameen America branch. Additionally, Grameen Research will partner with leading educators to educate America’s youth about microfinance and financial literacy.
A plan is now in development for the long-term educational component of this campaign. The campaign will feature the development and distribution of a curriculum or educational tool, focused on microfinance and entrepreneurship, for the demographic that is deemed most in need of this information. To Catch a Dollar is working with campaign partners in the field to make the determination of where there exists the greatest need for this material.
Grameen America began its operations in New York City in January 2008 and has assembled a top management team, including Chairman of the Board Professor Muhammad Yunus, to lead the organization’s efforts to help break the cycle of poverty through microfinance in disadvantaged U.S. communities.
‘To Catch A Dollar’ will tentatively premiere in early March 2011. Grameen Research has hired a social strategy firm, Cause & Affect, to build the strategy for the film’s premiere and social action campaign. Grameen Research is currently in discussions with theatrical distributors, fundraisers, web designers, and public relations firms to assist in the campaign’s execution. The final deliverables of the multi-year social action campaign will be a new Grameen America branch opening in early 2013 and education materials/curriculum.
Half of the world’s population is unbanked. In the United States, one of the richest countries in the world, 73 million Americans, 25% of the population, are financially underserved. The problem is exacerbated by a banking system which excludes all those who lack collateral, financial education, references, or a banking history. Grameen Research will deploy the film in communities throughout the US to highlight the need for financial services and the success of borrowers receiving microfinance loans.