Thursday, June 23, 2011

Introducing BRAC USA

Summer trips, brief as they may be, separate me from my computer and the research needed for my blog posts.  But, I want to share one e-mail exchange I had today with BRAC.

As I was going through a backlog of e-mails, I opened this piece from BRAC.

Given that I receive many mailings from organizations that only identify themselves by some acronym, I decided today to write back to BRAC asking them who they were. After all, as I told them, I live in the Bronx and receive material from the Bronx River Art Center, aka BRAC.

Our (local) BRAC always clarifies who it is, and I know that it can’t possibly be partnering with UNICEF in Uganda or working with a woman community organizer in Liberia named Cecilia Doe. So I asked this (other) BRAC, “who are you?”

I never expected a response, but I did get a moment’s satisfaction from taking out my annoyance at the many organizations that assume that everyone knows who they are by their acronyms.

However, within twenty minutes (maybe less), to my surprise and delight, I received a response from Michelle Chapin, Program Manager, BRAC USA.  Here it is:

Dear Tyko,

Thanks for your question – I know it can be confusing! BRAC is actually not an acronym anymore. It formerly stood for “Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee,” but since we’ve moved beyond the borders of Bangladesh and do programs in both rural and urban areas, the acronym no longer applies. So now we are just BRAC, a small relief initiative that has grown into the largest anti-poverty organization in the developing world.

I hope that clarifies things, and please let me know if you have any more questions!

Best regards,


So, for any of my readers and followers who were as clueless as I about BRAC--or maybe as forgetful as I, for I clearly had received  material from them previously--I pass on this informative response from Michelle and encourage you to look at some of the work of this, the “largest anti-poverty organization in the developing world.”

BRAC's dedication to empowering the poorer people of our world is impressive, and the fact that an international organization will take the time to respond to a stranger's e-mail signifies an unusual breadth of commitment and concern for everyone.

Thus, what began, on my end, as a slightly peevish letter to BRAC has resulted in my decision to send them monetary support for their programs.  Maybe some of you will also choose to support BRAC.  

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