Atlantans fund social enterprise in Bangladesh through CARE - CBS46 News

Atlanta family funds social enterprise in Bangladesh through CARE

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This week CBS Atlanta News is looking at CARE in our community. The nonprofit committed to ending extreme global poverty is celebrating 20 years in Atlanta, and there are Atlantan's focused on funding the work they're doing.

The Brooks family wanted to do more than just donate dollars. They also give their time and talents to help push progress in Bangladesh through social enterprise.

Toby and Martha Brooks have traveled all over the world through their expansive global business careers, and they feel an obligation to give back.

"We've seen the lives of 2 to 3 billion people that just aren't in the game and feel it pretty incumbent on us to do what we can to try and accelerate the progress of those folks," Martha Brooks said.

The couple took their combined experience and applied it to CARE's work in Bangladesh. It's a country of more than 150 million people, more than a quarter of them living below the national poverty line of $2 a day.

"Ultimately if there's no opportunity for economic advancement, if there's no jobs, no opportunity to participate in wealth creation, then there's no solution to dealing with poverty," Toby Brooks said.

The Brooks helped create and fund a unique social enterprise model called the Dairy Value Chain. Many families in Bangladesh have a cow, but aren't educated about how to best use it to make money and feed their families. 

"Looking at ways to address the delivery of health services and feed services, basic veterinary services for cows," Toby Brooks said.

"You can multiply the milk production by a factor of five, six almost immediately. It's a dramatic life changer for families. Because you created wealth, you created more milk," Martha Brooks explained.

The Brooks believe the formula for success is through economic development, education and a focus on women. That aligns with CARE's recipe for progress.

The Brooks' son, Connor, spent a summer internship in Bangladesh with CARE and witnessed firsthand how the lives of family's were transformed.

"That's what's so meaningful to me to know that one family at a time, you're really making a pretty dramatic difference," Martha Brooks said.

"What we certainly hope is you start to see it over time in the improved quality of life in the dairy farmers that are taking advantage of it," Toby Brooks said.

Because the work is education based, the Brooks feel it's sustainable. You create the model, people begin to earn their own economic return, and it keeps going.

The Brooks shared their story as way of celebrating CARE's 20 years in Atlanta. CARE will celebrate Friday, Oct. 11 with an art exhibit celebrating the International Day of the Girl at the Mason Murer Fine Art Gallery from 7 p.m. to  10:30 p.m. Click here to learn more and to purchase tickets.

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