Alex Counts is a consultant, writer and educator who founded Grameen Foundation and became its President and CEO in 1997, after having worked in microfinance and poverty reduction for the first ten years of his career, mostly based in South Asia. His teaching is largely based on his experiences building Grameen Foundation into a global humanitarian organization from its modest beginnings.
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 and sparked by a $6,000 seed grant provided by Prof. Yunus (who was a founding board member and continues to serve as a director emeritus), Grameen Foundation grew to become a leading international humanitarian organization.
Counts shaped and advanced Grameen Foundation’s philosophy through his writings, including his two books 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 International Herald Tribune (now the International New York Times), 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. 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.
Counts sits on the Advisory Council of the Center for Financial Inclusion. Previously, he has served as the chairman of Fonkoze USA and co-chair of the Fonkoze Family Coordinating Committee—two governance bodies of the largest microfinance institution in Haiti. He was a founding member of and served as co-chair of the Microfinance CEO Working Group. He is an adjunct professor at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland College Park and an affiliated faculty of the Do Good Institute.
Before leading Grameen Foundation, Counts served as the legislative director of RESULTS and as a regional project manager for CARE-Bangladesh. He is a Court Appointed Special Advocate in Prince George’s County, Maryland. He speaks Bengali and lives in Hyattsville, MD with his wife, Emily, and their cat, Seymour. He loves listening to and promoting live music in intimate venues, especially blues and bluegrass, as well as other genres.
- Nonprofit leadership and management, social entrepreneurship, microfinance/financial inclusion, philanthropy, fundraising for nonprofit organizations