Submitted by: Urban Partnership Bank
Posted: Nov 12, 2007 – 06:00 AM EST
Nov. 12 /CSRwire/ - WASHINGTON, D.C. - November 12, 2007 - U.S.News & World Report, the nation's leading source of news analysis and service journalism, today unveiled the 2007 issue of America's Best Leaders(www.usnews.com/leaders), highlighting the country's finest leaders and exploring the critical elements of leadership in today's society. Included on this year's list are the co-founders of ShoreBank Corporation, Ronald Grzywinski, Chairman, and Mary Houghton, President, who created the country's first community development and environmetal bank and proved that a for-profit financial institution can serve as a catalyst for social change and urban renewal.
Under Grzywinski and Houghton's leadership, ShoreBank began as a vehicle to stimulate the redevelopment of disinvested neighborhoods on Chicago's South Side. Soon, though, the bank extended its geographic reach and broadened its mission to include a focus on the environment and energy conservation. ShoreBank, together with its affiliate, ShoreBank Pacific, were the first banks in the U.S. to recognize the connection between environmental sustainability and economic development. From these connections, ShoreBank developed a unique lending program that offers free energy audits and conservation loans to encourage green design and energy-efficiency.
By demonstrating that it is possible to do well by doing right, ShoreBank fundamentally changed the way financial institutions view low-to-moderate income, inner city and rural neighborhoods around the world. Grzywinski was the only commercial banker to testify in support of the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, which banned redlining and encouraged financial institutions to meet the credit needs of the entire community. In the early 1980s, Grzywinski and Houghton were invited to Bangladesh, where they joined Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, to start the Grameen Bank – a microcredit pioneer, and ultimately, ShoreBank International. A few years later, at the invitation of then-Governor Bill Clinton, they helped create a community development bank in Arkansas that was modeled after the one on Chicago's South Side. In 1993, the ShoreBank model became former President Clinton’s inspiration for the Community Development Finance Institution Fund, which has since invested more than $2 billion to redevelop urban and rural communities across the U.S.
Today, ShoreBank is taking on the mortgage lending crisis. In Chicago, thousands of qualified homeowners risk foreclosure as their Adjustable Rate Mortgages from other institutions reset to higher rates. The Chicago bank's Rescue Loan program helps these homeowners reduce monthly payments and build equity by obtaining a traditional fixed-rate mortgage from ShoreBank. And just last month, ShoreBank became one of the nation's first community development banks to launch an online High Yield Savings Account to help fund its Rescue Loan and conservation lending activities (www.sbk.com). Additionally, a ShoreBank affiliate, Center for Financial Services Innovation is leading the charge designing and implementing new strategies to serve the underbanked that are profitable for both institutions and consumers.
Its 34 year track record of investing in people and their communities to achieve positive social change led Bill Clinton to say that "ShoreBank is the most important bank in the country," as quoted in Richard Douthwaite's book "Short Circuit".
Although public confidence in the current state of American leadership may be spiraling downward, according to a Yankelovich poll also released today by U.S.News and Center for Public Leadership (CPL) at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, there's no shortage of candidates with the vision, character and public support to fill the growing void, as evidenced by Grzywinski and Houghton, and the 16 others featured in U.S.News & World Report's annual America's Best Leaders, November 19 issue (on newsstands today). They join the country's foremost individuals who embody and define leadership today, including:
James Baker and Lee H. Hamilton, Chairmen, Iraq Study Group, 9/11 Commission (Washington, D.C.)
Kenneth Chenault, Chairman and CEO, American Express Company (New York)
Kenneth Fisher, Chairman, and CEO, The Fisher House Foundation (New York)
Dr. William H. Foege, Senior Medical Advisor, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Washington)
Michael J. Fox, Founder, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (New York)
Andrea Jung, Chairman and CEO, Avon (New York)
Nicholas Kristof, Columnist, The New York Times (New York)
Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense (Connecticut)
Yo-Yo Ma, Founder and Artistic Director, The Silk Road Project (Rhode Island)
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives (California)
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor, State of California (California)
Ruth J. Simmons, President, Brown University (Rhode Island)
Pat Summit, Head of Women's Basketball Coach, University of Tennessee (Tennessee)
Shirley M. Tilghman, President, Princeton University (New Jersey)
Dr. Harold Varmus, President and CEO, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York)
"America's Best Leaders are the true embodiment of authentic leaders," said Kelly. "These men and women have taken bold, positive steps to bridge the nation's leadership gaps and inspired others to address some of our more urgent national issues. From Nicholas Kristof's willingness to put himself in harm's way to give a voice and a face to the world's most threatened and exploited people, to Dr. William Foege's work on the front lines of the worldwide immunization battle, to Ruth Simmons, a great-granddaughter of slaves, becoming the first African-American president of an Ivy League school, these leaders have embraced, challenged and defied convention to lead in authentic and effective ways and, in doing so, genuinely inspire the rest of the world."
In a collaborative effort between Harvard's CPL and U.S.News, the leaders were chosen by a nonpartisan and independent selection committee, convened and organized by the Center, without the participation of U.S. News editors. The selection committee based its decision on a set of criteria outlined by the CPL which listed the qualities, characteristics, and accomplishments that typify excellence in leadership, e.g., the ability to inspire a shared vision, to challenge established processes, and to achieve measurable results in their respective fields.
The 2007 edition of America's Best Leaders explores the issue of leadership and profiles America's foremost current leaders. The issue will also examine the complete results of the 2007 National Leadership Index (NLI). Additional information about the NLI and the honorees' profiles will be available at www.usnews.com/leaders.
About the Center for Public Leadership (CPL) at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Established in 2000 through a generous grant from the Wexner Foundation, the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government was created to serve the common good by promoting excellence in leadership research, education, and development. CPL provides cutting-edge teaching and research as well as hands-on training in the practical skills of leadership for people in government, nonprofits, and business. Under the directorship of David R. Gergen and Betsy Myers, CPL has extended its reach by partnering with Harvard Business School Press to create a joint book imprint, and with the Harvard School of Public Health to create the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative. For more information about CPL, go to www.ksg.harvard.edu/leadership.
About U.S.News & World Report
Founded in 1933, the weekly national news magazine U.S.News & World Report is devoted to reporting and to analyzing national and international affairs, politics, business, health, science, technology and social trends. Through its annual editions of America's Best Colleges, America's Best Graduate Schools, America's Best Hospitals, America's Best Health Plans and America's Best Leaders, as well as its News You Can Use® brand, U.S. News has earned a reputation as the leading provider of service news and information that improves the quality of life of its readers. The U.S. News website (www.usnews.com) extends that brand promise and delivers the best, most accurate information online, organized in an easily accessible way.