In memory of Elaine Wolfensohn

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A message from BRAC USA President and CEO, Donella Rapier


BRAC is deeply saddened by the loss of Elaine Wolfensohn, a committed and long-serving member of the BRAC USA advisory council who passed away on August 19, 2020.


The BRAC USA board of directors, staff, and the entire BRAC community extend their condolences to Elaine’s family and loved ones. We are thankful for her important contributions to BRAC’s work to empower women and girls to lift themselves out of poverty and realize their potential.


A former teacher, Elaine’s passion for education fueled a lifelong commitment to promoting education equity. She created teen tutoring programs in under-resourced urban schools in the United States and was active on the boards and advisory councils of several educational institutions. Elaine also played a critical role in putting education at the center of the international development agenda while her husband, James Wolfensohn, served as president of the World Bank from 1995 through 2005.


Throughout her life, Elaine was a strong voice for children living in poverty and a determined champion for early childhood development, gender equity, and the arts.


Her passion led her to become a strong ambassador for BRAC. She served for several years as a member of the BRAC USA board of directors, and then joined the advisory council after her retirement from the Board. Elaine and her husband were close friends of BRAC’s late founder, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed. During her tenure on BRAC USA’s advisory council, Elaine contributed to BRAC’s impact in global education and early childhood development. Elaine’s life and legacy are highlighted in detail in her August 24, 2020 obituary in the Washington Post.


Elaine will be greatly missed by everyone at BRAC. I am profoundly thankful for her friendship and her contributions to our mission.


Donella Rapier

President and CEO


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