New York, NY, February 22, 2016 – The American India Foundation (AIF), the leading U.S. philanthropic organization working in the U.S. and India, today announced that its Board of Directors named Alex Counts as the organization’s next President and Chief Executive Officer, effective March 29. Counts is the founder of Grameen Foundation and became its President and CEO in 1997, after having worked in microfinance and poverty reduction for 10 years. As President and CEO of AIF, Counts will continue to build and scale AIF’s presence by leveraging its strong spectrum and networks as well as ensuring that AIF stays at the cutting-edge of innovative solutions for poverty alleviation and economic development in India.
After training under Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, the founder and managing director of Grameen Bank, Counts leveraged a $6,000 seed grant to grow Grameen Foundation to a global leader in international development with a $20 million annual budget. Counts’ thought leadership in the field include the award-winning book, Small Loans, Big Dreams: How Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus and Microfinance Are Changing the World and Voices From the Field, and numerous contributions to The Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and many more.
“Alex is a highly regarded development leader who built one of the most successful international humanitarian organizations in the world,” said co-founder of AIF and Co-Chair Lata Krishnan. “He not only has the management experience, passion and drive, but also deep experience in India and South Asia to create the strongest development programs in India.”
“I am honored to have been selected to lead AIF in its next phase of growth. The achievements and capabilities of this organization are remarkable,” said Counts. “I look forward to leading the team to build on its impressive achievements and become an even more impactful, respected, and resilient organization that disrupts poverty and accelerates poverty reduction in exciting and innovative ways.”
Counts succeeds M.A. Ravi Kumar, who joined AIF as CEO in September 2012, and led the company through a significant growth trajectory. “I’m proud of the AIF team and I’m optimistic about how we will build on a foundation of innovation to succeed in the future,” Kumar said. “It’s been an honor to have led such dedicated teammates for more than three years, and I am deeply thankful to the Board, Trustees, Chapter leads, Volunteers and all supporters and well-wishers.”
“Alex is a rare professional who combines the drive of a social entrepreneur with the intellect of an academic. We look forward to working closely with Alex to innovate, build and scale AIF across India in the years to come,” remarked AIF Co-Chair Ajay Banga.
About the American India Foundation:
The American India Foundation is committed to disrupting poverty, catalyzing social and economic change in India, and building a lasting bridge between the United States and India through high-impact interventions in education, livelihoods, public health, and leadership development, with a particular emphasis on empowering girls and women to achieve gender equity. Working closely with local communities, AIF partners with NGOs to develop and test innovative solutions and with governments to create and scale sustainable impact. Founded in 2001 at the initiative of President Bill Clinton following a suggestion from Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee, AIF has impacted the lives of 2.5 million of India’s poor and aims to reach 5 million by 2018-2019. Learn more at www.AIF.org
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