568: What It’s Like To Start a Foundation in Your 20’s With Alex Counts, Grameen Foundation [Main T4C Episode]
Alex Counts is the former CEO of the Grameen Foundation which he established in 1997, after having worked in microfinance and poverty reduction for 10 years. He trained under Professor Muhammad Yunus, the founder and managing director of Grameen Bank, and co-recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Today Alex..
“The lesson from which the book draws its title, When in Doubt, Ask for More, is a lot of people who are not experienced in fundraising, they feel that fundraising is a zero-sum transaction where they’re trying to talk someone out of their money and leaving them with less and the fundraiser with more. And so they say, well, ‘I don’t want to impose on them too much.’ And I say, that’s just a wrong way of looking at fundraising … But I said, listen, develop a robust, exciting partnership. And that probably is going to be asking for more than you would initially be comfortable with. Take a risk, make it exciting for everyone involved. And they’re not obligated to say yes, but why not put in front of them your biggest, most exciting vision of the partnership?”
Best Career Advice
“[In] the early years of Grameen Foundation, I pushed myself so hard that my mental and physical and emotional and spiritual health was severely compromised. And again, some of my early mentors almost viewed that as a badge of honor, that they were sacrificing their wellbeing for the good of the cause. But I came to believe that that was misguided. I came to believe that you can actually take care of yourself … Many of the lessons in When in Doubt, Ask for More are about, how do you care for yourself so that … despite how hard you’re working and the setbacks, that each year you’re a little bit healthier emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally? But it took me almost bombing out and burning out early in my career to get serious about that.”
Fundraising, Research, Social Entrepeneurship