The inaugural Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award for Social Entrepreneurship was presented to Dr.Muhammad Yunus this week. Yunus was humble and gracious as he gave thanks for the recognition. Yet the man who is regarded as the godfather of lending to the poor didn’t miss the opportunity to send a gentle, but crystal-clear message to the world’s ultra-rich. “Making money is a happiness. And that’s a great incentive,” he told the billionaires and near-billionaires over dinner in the United Nations Delegates Dining Room. “Making other people happy is a super-happiness.”
Yunus founded Grameen Bank and pioneered the concept of lending to the poor through microcredit, and has been recognized not only with the Nobel, but also the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and a host of other prestigious honors. His Grameen Bank began making loans to poor women when no one else would give them credit. Now the women Grameen serves own 97% of the bank themselves.