Congratulations to Vicky Colbert from Escuela Nueva Foundation! We are so happy that Vicky is being honored with this tremendous award. It is a well-deserved and hard-earned recognition.

This year’s award announcement brought back memories of my own experience in 2007. When I was awarded the second annual Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership, the news brought a whirlwind of excitement, gratitude, inspiration and exhilaration for all of us at the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC).

The Prize’s financial award had an immediate impact as it helped BRAC establish offices in the United States and United Kingdom. These offices have helped to support and grow BRAC’s programs beyond Bangladesh. Since 2002, BRAC has expanded to nine other countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Southern Sudan, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Uganda and recently Haiti.

The Prize helped not only to begin our work in the U.S. through BRAC USA, but also to give our new institution credibility in the U.S. Though BRAC began in 1972 and is today one of the biggest development organizations in the world, not many people living in the U.S. had ever heard of it and even fewer were aware of its remarkable history and successful track record. The recognition we received from the Kravis Prize allowed us to establish BRAC USA and begin telling our story to a new audience in America and the U.K.

Throughout 2010, BRAC USA has been working to tell the story of our organization’s successful approach to development. Members of the BRAC USA team have attended and participated in several conferences and panels in the last year. We also have successfully engaged with several media sources, including the Huffington Post and, to tell our story. It was especially significant when New York Times journalist Nicolas Kristof recommended BRAC as one of the best organizations to donate to in his December 2009 article “A Most Meaningful Gift Idea.”

Thanks to the Kravis Prize and support from other generous friends, BRAC USA has been tremendously successful in mobilizing support for BRAC programs throughout the world. Since its inception in 2007, BRAC USA has raised over $20 million in support for BRAC programs that women and their families need to create their own pathways out of poverty. This represents a significant social return on investment!

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed founded the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee in 1972 to employ a holistic and multifaceted approach to serving the poor. Since then, BRAC has grown into one of the largest development organizations in the world, serving more than 110 million people per year and achieving extraordinary impact in reducing poverty and empowering the poor.

For more information on how you can make a difference with BRAC, please visit its Volunteer Opportunities page, which lists teaching internship opportunities in Bangladesh as well as other opportunities throughout the world. You can also make a donation here.