ATLANTA (Aug. 3, 2016) — Working in 95 countries, the global poverty-fighting organization CARE announced today that social entrepreneur Marilia Bezerra will join the leadership of its subsidiary CARE Enterprises, Inc., which accelerates and invests in for-benefit ventures worldwide.
Bezerra brings to CARE Enterprises more than 15 years’ experience in the social sector, leading strategy design and performance management for businesses and nonprofits. Before coming to CARE, she was CEO at Aldeia Works, a New York City-based consultancy she founded to support philanthropists, companies and nonprofits in the creation of significant social impact. Bezerra has worked at Purpose, mobilizing people against the world’s biggest problems, and at the Clinton Global Initiative, where she led a team that developed public-private partnerships and corporate commitments valued at more than $63 billion.
“We are thrilled that Marilia has joined us, and I know her vision and talents will move CARE Enterprises boldly toward its goal of lifting 1 million people permanently out of poverty through job creation and higher incomes,” said Michelle Nunn, CARE’s president and CEO. “She has a history of delivering results in the area of social impact, but she also brings with her a passion and heart for social justice.”
Launched in 2013, CARE Enterprises invests in for-benefit, financially viable ventures that alleviate poverty by creating dignified employment and access to markets. For-benefit describes those business ventures that aim to earn a profit while delivering on a social mission. The term is relatively new, but CARE has long employed the concept through market-based approaches to fighting poverty.
In Bangladesh, for example, CARE Enterprises is investing in Living Blue, a for-benefit business that creates employment for 240 artisans and supplemental income for 2,700 farmers across five districts in the Rangpur region. Living Blue harnesses the talents of local women weavers and the motivation of indigo farmers to produce high-quality textiles for worldwide export. In Zambia, CARE has invested in Live Well, a network of health entrepreneurs providing poor communities access to essential health and hygiene products.
CARE Enterprises brings to the table in-depth knowledge and a deep understanding of local customs, laws and politics. It mobilizes investors, donors and corporations in order to identify, fund and launch successful poverty-fighting enterprises.
Bezerra will lead CARE Enterprises’s strategy to develop new investment vehicles to address and further scale for-benefit enterprises that create economic opportunity for the poorest of the poor. Bezerra joins current managing partner Francois Jung-Rozenfarb in leading this venture.
“Business and capital markets can be uniquely powerful forces for positive social change, because they can reach the tremendous scale of the challenges we face,” said Bezerra. “I am thrilled to join CARE Enterprises, because that is precisely the potential we have: to create economic opportunity at scale for the poorest of the poor. By leveraging the good name and 70-year history of CARE — with its deep knowledge of what the real needs are among consumers in the world’s poorest communities — and by developing win-win partnerships with investors, businesses and philanthropists, we will take the impact of CARE Enterprises to a whole new level.”
Bezerra earned her Bachelor of Arts and law degrees from the Federal University of Ceará in Brazil and her Master of Science degree in Global Affairs from New York University. She serves on the board of social-impact organizations such as Rhize and Breakthrough and will be based in New York City.
Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. That’s why women and girls are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to improve education and health, create economic opportunity, respond to emergencies and confront hunger. Last year CARE worked in 95 countries and reached more than 65 million people around the world. To learn more, visit www.care.org.
About CARE Enterprises, Inc.
CARE Enterprises is CARE’s social enterprise venture that links producers in the world’s poorest communities with the formal markets necessary for those producers to sell their products and services. It focuses on business ventures with the potential for exponential growth and to become game-changers in the fight against poverty.
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