Alex Counts founded Grameen Foundation and became its President and CEO in 1997, after having worked in microfinance and poverty reduction for 10 years. 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 director emeritus), Grameen Foundation has grown to a leading international humanitarian organization with an annual budget of approximately $25 million.
Counts has propelled Grameen Foundation’s philosophy through his writings, includingSmall Loans, Big Dreams: How Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus and Microfinance Are Changing the World. Counts has also been published in The Washington Post, theInternational Herald Tribune, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Miami Herald, The Christian Science Monitor and elsewhere. In 2007 he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Horace Mann School.
Counts chairs the Fonkoze USA board of directors and is the immediate past chair of Project Enterprise’s board. He sits on the Advisory Council of the Center for Financial Inclusion, the Advisory Board of the ThinkGlobal Arts Foundation, and he co-chairs the Microenterprise Coalition. He serves on the Board of Directors of two social businesses: Grameen-Jameel Microfinance Ltd. and YouChange PuRong Information Advisory Co. Ltd., which promote microfinance and related efforts in the Arab World and China respectively.
Before leading Grameen Foundation, Counts served as the legislative director of RESULTS and as a regional project manager for CARE-Bangladesh. He speaks fluent Bengali and lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, Emily, and their cat, Seymour.