To Catch a Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America
This thought-provoking and powerful documentary follows Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus as he brings his revolutionary microfinance program to the United States, establishing Grameen America. The first stop: Queens, New York, 2008, just as the financial crisis explodes and the American economy plummets.
The groundbreaking Grameen Bank in Bangladesh was built on the radical notion that if it loaned poor women money within the context of peer support, not only would they repay their loans and sustain the bank, but they would also elevate their communities in the process. But will the principles of solidarity that work so well in the Third-World translate to an ethnically diverse group of inner-city women in this country? Can nonprofit financiers really succeed in importing revolutionary Third-World social-justice enterprise to the very bastion of First-World capitalism?
With an intimate camera eye and a deft editing hand, the film relates the compelling stories of the first women borrowers, capturing moments of both triumph and despair. It incisively explores the challenges the women face and the successes they achieve as they learn sustainable methods to rise from poverty by starting and growing their own businesses with the education, support, and collateral-free microloans they receive.
At the same time, the film also examines the experiences of the young Grameen America workers, showing how their hope and idealism are deeply tested by the realities of their jobs in organizing and motivating the micro-entrepreneurs in a collapsing economic environment.
To Catch a Dollar is alternately intense, humorous, heartbreaking, and exhilarating. It provides an unflinching, honest, but ultimately hopeful portrait of the initial audacious work of Grameen America. It will certainly capture and hold student attention and inspire thought, discussion, and analysis in a wide variety of courses in American studies, economics and development issues, sociology and social problems, women’s studies, social psychology, and intercultural communication, among many others. It was produced by the much-lauded documentary filmmaker, Gayle Ferraro.