IONA LECTURE SERIES
Where Arts & Sciences Meet Humanity
AN EVENING LECTURE & CONVERSATION
Thursday, October 20th
St. Columba's Episcopal Church
Alex Counts started Grameen Foundation with a $6,000 grant from Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus and a burning passion for social change. Facing burnout by his early 30's, he found a new way to live and thrive. His life lesson will inspire a new generation of changemakers.
12835 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Alex Counts is the author of Changing the World Without Losing Your Mind: Leadership Lessons from Three Decades of Social Entrepreneurship (Revised edition) (Rivertowns Books, 2021), an independent consultant to nonprofit organizations (including the India Philanthropy Alliance), was an affiliated faculty of the Do Good Institute at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy from 2017 to 2021, and is a senior adviser and ambassador at large for a)plan coaching.
He also wrote When in Doubt, Ask for More: And 213 Other Life and Career Lessons for Mission-Driven Leaders (Rivertowns Books, 2020), which prompted Ashoka founder Bill Drayton to say, “Alex Counts has been critical to creating and building the global microcredit movement from its start. He knows how to lead. And how to write! When in Doubt, Ask for More will help you be a more powerful leader—and have fun doing so.”
In 1997 he established Grameen Foundation with the support of Nobel laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus and became its President and CEO. He did so after having worked in microfinance and poverty reduction for 10 years, mostly spent living in rural Bangladesh. He ran the organization for its first 18 years, and remains a friend and volunteer of Grameen Foundation. He served as the President and CEO of American India Foundation in 2016-2017.
A Cornell University graduate, Counts’ commitment to poverty eradication deepened as a Fulbright scholar in Bangladesh, where he witnessed innovative poverty solutions being developed by Grameen Bank. He trained under Professor Muhammad Yunus, the founder and managing director of Grameen Bank, and co-recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Since its modest beginnings, sparked by a $6,000 seed grant provided by Prof. Yunus (who was a founding board member and continues as a director emeritus), Grameen Foundation grew to become a leading international humanitarian organization.
In addition to his most recent books, Counts’ writings include Small Loans, Big Dreams: How Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus and Microfinance Are Changing the World and Voices from the Field. Counts has also been published in The Washington Post, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Miami Herald, The Christian Science Monitor, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and elsewhere. In 2007, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Horace Mann School. While at Cornell University, he received the John F. Kennedy Memorial Award, given annually by the Class of 1964 to the graduating senior who is the best example of the ideal of public service articulated by our 35th President.