New York, NY, United States
BRAC is a global leader in creating large-scale opportunities for the poor. Founded in Bangladesh in 1972, it is now the world’s largest nongovernmental organization. Over 100,000 BRAC workers touch the lives of an estimated 126 million people in 11 countries, using a wide array of tools such as microfinance, education, healthcare, legal rights training, and more. BRAC USA is a US affiliate created in 2007 to advance and support BRAC's global mission.
BRAC is a development success story, spreading solutions born in Bangladesh to 10 other countries around the world—a global leader in creating opportunity for the world’s poor. What started out as a limited relief operation in 1972, in a remote village of Bangladesh, has turned into the largest development organization in the world. Organizing the poor using communities’ own human and material resources, it catalyzes lasting change, creating an ecosystem in which the poor have the chance to seize control of their own lives. We do this with a holistic development approach geared toward inclusion, using tools like microfinance, education, healthcare, legal services, community empowerment, and more. Our work now touches the lives of an estimated 126 million people, with staff and BRAC-trained entrepreneurs numbering in the hundreds of thousands, a global movement bringing change to 11 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, with operations in our newest country, the Philippines, in 2012
BRAC’s vision is to improve the health, wealth, and well being of millions of the poorest families primarily in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. BRAC’s work enables people a chance to transform their lives. BRAC invests in training and building human capacity in each country where we work. We organize the most vulnerable, particularly poor women, for their own self-empowerment, rights, protection, work, and collective voice, enabling them to fully develop themselves and contribute to their communities.
What is BRAC USA?
BRAC USA, founded in 2007, shares the same mission and vision as BRAC. Our vision of success is to foster a better world by increasing BRAC’s visibility as a development success story, harnessing the power of its friends, and ensuring support for a growing number of BRAC organizations around the world to unleash the potential of millions of poor households to create better futures for themselves and their communities. We do this through three main program areas: public education, strategic and program services, and grantmaking.
Susan Davis, President & CEO, BRAC USA
Ms. Davis is a thought leader in international development and civil society innovation and co-author with David Bornstein of Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know published by Oxford University Press in 2010. She is the founding President & CEO of BRAC USA, a grantmaking affiliate of BRAC, an international development organization started in Bangladesh in 1972 and now working in the Philippines and 10 countries across Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. She is currently on the governing boards of BRAC and BRAC International and serves as chair for BRAC Sierra Leone and Liberia microfinance companies. In addition she was a founding board member and Chair of the Grameen Foundation and is a current board member.
Since its inception, Ms. Davis has served as a Senior Advisor to New York University’s Reynolds Program on Social Entrepreneurship. Previously she led Ashoka’s Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship, co-founded the University Network for Social Entrepreneurship and oversaw Ashoka’s expansion to the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. She serves on Ashoka’s international board committee that selects Ashoka Fellows. In addition she served as a Senior Advisor to the Director General of the International Labor Organization. Prior to that, she led the global advocacy group, Women's Environment & Development Organization. She has extensive microfinance experience including from her years with the Ford Foundation in Bangladesh and from her work with Women's World Banking. She also served as a funder and volunteer representative to start Ashoka Bangladesh.
Earlier she was the Assistant Director of the export trading company of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. She serves on numerous other boards including Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund, and African Women’s Development Fund USA. She is involved in the Dalai Lama Scholars and Fellows Program, Dalai Lama Center Connecting for Change, Global Fairness Initiative and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She was educated at Georgetown, Harvard, and Oxford universities.
Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder & Chairperson, BRAC
Born in Bangladesh in 1936,
Abed was educated at Dhaka and Glasgow Universities. The 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh had a profound effect on Abed, then in his thirties, a professional accountant who was holding a senior Corporate Executive position at Shell Oil. The war dramatically changed the direction of his life: he left his job and went to London to devote himself to Bangladesh's War of Independence. There, Abed helped initiate a campaign called "Help Bangladesh" to organise funds to raise awareness about the war in Bangladesh. The war over, Abed returned to newly independent Bangladesh to find the economy of his country in ruins. Millions of refugees, who had sought shelter in India during the war, started trekking back into the country. Their relief and rehabilitation called for urgent efforts. Abed decided to initiate his own, by setting up BRAC to rehabilitate returning refugees in a remote area in northeastern Bangladesh. This work led him and BRAC to deal with the long-term task of improving living conditions of the rural poor. He directed his policy towards helping the poor develop their capacity to manage and control their own destiny. Thus, BRAC's primary objectives emerged as alleviation of poverty and empowerment of the poor. Under Abed’s leadership, in the span of only three decades, BRAC grew to become the largest development organisation in the world in terms of the scale and diversity of its interventions.