Eight ways to learn more about BRAC

May 23, 2014

Reading Time: 2 minutes

People often ask what BRAC stands for, and why they should support a nonprofit with such a strange name. BRAC is among the most credible and cost-effective nonprofit organizations in the world, but I think people should remain skeptical of such claims, even when they come from a cause that seems worthy.

People often ask what BRAC stands for, and why they should support a nonprofit with such a strange name.

BRAC is among the most credible and cost-effective nonprofit organizations in the world, but I think people should remain skeptical of such claims, even when they come from a cause that seems worthy.

Here are eight ways to check the facts on BRAC:

  1. The book Freedom From Want by independent development professional Ian Smillie tells “the remarkable success story of BRAC, the global grassroots organization that’s winning the fight again poverty.”
  2. The charity watchdog Charity Navigator gives BRAC USA four stars, their highest rating, for staying true to our mission and keeping costs low. BRAC’s overhead costs are less than 8%, and its US affiliate, BRAC USA, is among only 18% of US nonprofits to receive four stars from Charity Navigator two or more years in a row.
  3. See this short article in The Economist about BRAC and its founder, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed. The world’s largest nongovernmental organization, BRAC “has probably done more than any single body to upend the traditions of misery and poverty in Bangladesh,” writes the magazine. The Economist also covered BRAC’s role in the transformation of Bangladesh in a longer 2012 article.
  4. Check Philanthropedia’s report on the top-ranked microfinance institutions in the world, which placed BRAC at No. 1. Philanthropedia is a division of GuideStar, an independent reporter on nonprofit performance.
  5. “Why I’m Giving Money to BRAC,” by blogger Daniel Levine. BRAC’s approach to poverty “breaks up invidious tendencies to cast poor countries always in the victim, never in the agent role,” he writes.
  6. The Top 100 nongovernmental organizations in the world, from Global Journal. Again, BRAC is ranked No. 1.
  7. Read the “BRAC’s Impact” section (p. 6-7, PDF download) of BRAC USA’s annual report, which cites rigorous independent research, including randomized control trials, into the impact of many of BRAC’s largest programs.
  8. Read what others have said about BRAC, or better yet, watch them say it themselves in the two minute video below.

What does BRAC stand for?

BRAC used to stand for Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (and originally, Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee), but we’ve dropped those names in part because we’ve expanded far beyond Bangladesh. Now it’s just BRAC. We now work in a dozen countries, employing mainly locals – with about 120,000 full-time employees, we’re hardly a committee any longer – in order to give those in poverty whatever tools they need to take control of their own lives.

This includes micro-loans, healthcare, education and more, but the approach is always the same: Creating opportunities where none existed, knowing that poor people don’t have to be passive recipients of other people’s aid.

That’s what BRAC stands for: Doing what works to end poverty.

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