Submitted by: Ashoka: Innovators for the Public
Posted: Mar 05, 2007 – 01:40 PM EST
CHICAGO, IL - March 5, 2007 - Ashoka, a global organization supporting the field of social entrepreneurship, announced today that Ron Grzywinski and Mary Houghton have been named to Ashoka’s Global Academy. The Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship consists of global leaders who provide conceptual and representational guidance for the field of social entrepreneurship. Grzywinski and Houghton, cofounders of ShoreBank, the nation’s first community development and environmental bank holding company, will join Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus and seven other leading global social entrepreneurs as members of this highly selective group.
As pioneers of the community development banking industry, Grzywinski and Houghton have demonstrated how to harness the mechanisms of capital to close the gap between private gain and public good. Under Grzywinski and Houghton’s leadership, ShoreBank has been providing minorities with access to the financial resources and information that have created new development opportunities and helped transform underserved neighborhoods into vibrant communities and catalyzed positive social change since 1973. Former President Bill Clinton calls ShoreBank, "the most important bank in America."
"Houghton and Grzywinski exemplify the best qualities of a social entrepreneur," said Bill Drayton, Founder and Chairman of Ashoka. "Over the past several decades, they have continued to innovate an array of new social financial tools that are critical to catalyzing the expansion of worldwide social change."
"Ron and Mary are great social entrepreneurs because they were the first bankers to provide loans in underserved markets that help revitalize communities and reinvigorate peoples’ lives while simultaneously being profitable," notes Susan Davis, Chair of Ashoka’s Global Academy. "They are role models for every MBA and Public Policy student. They were instrumental early advisors to Professor Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank, as well as to the first investors in BRAC Bank in Bangladesh and Afghanistan." As members of the Global Academy, Grzywinski and Houghton will share their expertise and insights and serve as global leaders for the field of social entrepreneurship.
"We are honored to be recognized as social entrepreneurs and look forward to collaborating with the Ashoka Fellows and other members of the Global Academy to make a difference," said Grzywinski. "It’s exciting to think what we will be able to achieve by sharing information and insight into creating new paths for entrepreneurs to use as business models to create community benefits."
Grzywinski and Houghton are the eighth and ninth members of the Global Academy, joining Muhammad Yunus, Fazle Abed, Peter Eigen, Oded Grajew, Bill Drayton, Ela Bhatt, and Alice Tepper Marlin.
Headquartered in Chicago, ShoreBank is a triple bottom line company—measuring performance equally by its impact on people and the environment as well as profitability. Since its inception in 1973, ShoreBank has invested more then $2 billion to help finance the purchase and renovation of more then 49,000 affordable housing residences and the creation of more then 10,000 new jobs for local residents. ShoreBank has banking locations in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and Ilwaco, Washington; nonprofit affiliates throughout the Midwest; and international consulting offices operating in more then 40 countries. (www.shorebankcorp.com)
Since its founding in 1981, Ashoka has built a network of more than 1,800 leading social entrepreneurs in over 60 countries. Ashoka, along with its Fellows and collaborative networks, designs and builds new ways for the citizen sector to become more entrepreneurial, productive and globally integrated. Ashoka works to create communities of innovators while building a vibrant citizen sector that not only supports those creating change today, but empowers everyone to become changemakers tomorrow. For more information, visit www.ashoka.org.