National microfinance organization Grameen America recently announced it has received a $500,000 gift from Robinhood Chief Creative Officer and Co-founder Baiju Bhatt and his family. Bhatt’s transformative gift strengthens Grameen America’s work in Oakland by providing affordable loan capital to economically underserved women of color historically shut out of the financial system.
“Grameen America shares a belief with Baiju Bhatt that by lending a hand up to financially excluded women we can meaningfully and measurably address financial inclusion in communities across the country,” said Andrea Jung, President and CEO of Grameen America. “We are grateful for this level of generous support by Bhatt to further empower low-income women of color in Oakland.”
Championing financial inclusion
Grameen America is the fastest-growing microfinance organization in the United States. It aims to improve economic mobility by providing low-income women entrepreneurs with affordable capital, credit- and asset-building, financial education and peer support. The organization has invested in more than 146,700 women since opening in 2008. It recently achieved a historic milestone of investing $2 billion in microloans to minority businesswomen across the United States.
Grameen America’s Oakland branch first opened in April 2012. Since then, it has invested over $136 million in loan capital through 42,400 microloans, impacting nearly 7,500 entrepreneurial women. Oakland has one of the country’s widest income gaps. A staggering 18.7 percent of residents live below the poverty line compared to the national average of 13.4 percent. Bhatt’s significant gift advances financial inclusion for residents in the Bay Area. It enables entrepreneurial women to improve their credit scores, boost their income and create jobs in their communities.
“Grameen America has done critical work in breaking down economic barriers for low-income women,” said Baiju Bhatt, Robinhood Chief Creative Officer and Co-founder. “I’m excited to support their work in Oakland to build greater opportunity and stronger communities in places that have been underinvested in by the traditional financial system.”
Bhatt’s gift will enable Grameen America to perpetuate impact in Oakland. The company will disburse $6.7 million in loan capital through 1,180 microloans over the next five years. Through the organization’s social capital model, every $1 loaned out will be repaid and redeployed 12 times over five years.
About Grameen America
Founded by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus, Grameen America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit microfinance organization. It is dedicated to helping women who live in poverty build small businesses to create better lives for their families. The organization offers microloans, training and support to transform communities and fight poverty in the United States. Since opening in January 2008, Grameen America has invested over $2.26 billion in more than 146,700 low-income women entrepreneurs. Opening originally in Jackson Heights, Queens, Grameen America has expanded to 22 cities in Austin, TX, Boston, MA, Camden, NJ, Charlotte, NC, Chicago, IL, Connecticut, Dallas, TX, Fresno, CA, Houston, TX, Indianapolis, IN, Los Angeles, CA, Memphis, TN, Miami, FL, Newark, NJ, New York City, NY, Omaha, NE, Oakland, CA, San Antonio, TX, San Jose, CA, Trenton, NJ and Union City, NJ.