April 09, 2024

BRAC USA announced Julia Roberts as its new CEO, following a comprehensive, six-month search. Julia succeeds Donella Rapier, who retired at the end of February.

NEW YORK, NY – BRAC USA is pleased to announce Julia Roberts as the organization’s next Chief Executive Officer. She will join the team on April 29.

Julia will lead BRAC USA in an ambitious chapter of growth, supporting the global organization, headquartered in Bangladesh, as it scales programs throughout Asia and Africa to help 250 million people rise out of poverty by 2030.

Julia brings nearly 30 years of experience to the role. She comes to BRAC from Population Services International (PSI), where she was the Vice President of Global Fundraising and Communications. Since 2008, her skills and leadership grew out of delivering programs across the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia. Prior to this, she worked for USAID, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and was a Peace Corps Volunteer. She holds a master’s degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University and is a Chartered Advisor of Philanthropy.

As the world’s largest NGO, I have long admired BRAC’s steadfast commitment to community-driven solutions,” Julia says. “Over the last 50 years, BRAC has grown to reach over 100 million people living in poverty and I am energized by the opportunity to scale this impact for the next 150 million. I am fully committed to creating new opportunities to realize human potential—honoring the past while building for the future.”

“We are excited to welcome Julia to the BRAC family as our new CEO,” says Ray Offenheiser, Board Chair at BRAC USA. “She brings to BRAC a breadth of experience as manager of field programs, an accomplished senior manager, and a skilled fundraiser. We feel confident that, under her leadership, BRAC USA will be well positioned for its next phase of growth.”

Asif Saleh, Executive Director of BRAC in Bangladesh, underscores the importance of Julia’s appointment. “For 52 years, our programs have provided individuals the tools to come out of poverty,” he notes. “Our strategy sets out a bold path to advance our innovative programs throughout Asia and Africa, in particular looking at the intersectionality of climate change and poverty. To do this well and to scale up our rigorously proven models, we look towards our U.S. team to deepen relationships with partners in the region, and introduce more Americans to BRAC’s critical and path-breaking work. I am excited to work with Julia as she charts a fresh course to expand BRAC’s profile and partnership in the U.S.”

The search for a new CEO began in September 2023, after the previous CEO, Donella Rapier, set February 2024, as the date for her retirement.

Ray adds, “We are indebted to Donella for her eight years of inspired leadership. I’m grateful to our board members, who generously contributed considerable time and effort over these past months in guiding our search process to a successful conclusion. I also want to acknowledge our staff who have worked with diligence and commitment throughout this transition process in support of our mission to work alongside individuals experiencing poverty, so that they can access the skills and tools to power their ambitions.”


Notes to the editor


BRAC is an international development organization known for its community-led, holistic approach and delivering long-term impact at scale. BRAC works with communities in marginalized situations, hard-to-reach areas and post-disaster settings across Asia and Africa, with a particular focus on women and children. BRAC innovates, pilots, perfects, and scales poverty solutions. Born in Bangladesh in 1972, BRAC today reaches more than 100 million people in 17 countries.


Based in New York City, BRAC USA is an independent 501(c)3 organization that strengthens BRAC’s impact by raising awareness and mobilizing resources to support and amplify its programs for the people we serve.


Media contact


Sarah Allen, Communications Manager