One-time Microsoft program manager was inspired by a talk by Mohammad Yunus to work directly to fight global poverty.

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Darwin Cruz

What do you do? [At Grameen Foundation in Seattle], I connect amazing donors to poor women and families around the world by sharing inspiring stories and photos. For example, Eunice in Ghana (the woman pictured above), credits her healthy pregnancy to special messages sent to her mobile phone through Grameen Foundation’s MOTECH platform. She learned what foods to eat and what foods to avoid, and she was also better prepared to deliver her baby in a clinic.

How did you get started in that field? After studying computer science at Stanford, I worked as a PM [program manager] at Microsoft until one day I attended a talk in the next building over by Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus. This inspired me to work more directly to fight global poverty. Eventually I left my job, did some volunteer work, and applied to Grameen Foundation where Dr. Yunus is a board member emeritus. Six years ago, I started on the marketing team and three years ago I moved to fundraising.

What’s a typical day like? Every day I spend time thanking our donors by phone, email, a handwritten note or an in-person meeting. Some days we have team brainstorming for new (and sometimes wacky) ideas to get people excited about fighting poverty. Other days I lock myself away to write donor communications or edit a special campaign video.

What’s the best part of the job? Working with incredible colleagues. Whether in our field offices (in the Philippines, India, Ghana, Colombia and more), our headquarters in D.C., or in our Seattle office, people’s dedication for our mission of eliminating poverty is inspiring. People work hard, and we like to have a lot of fun together. Besides that, it’s probably the chance to travel to the field occasionally and meet women like Eunice so I can share their stories.

What surprises people about your work? The generosity of our donors and their passion to help complete strangers all over the world. We partner with all types of supporters – from tech entrepreneurs to a kindergarten class in Wyoming that recently raised $300. Also, some people are surprised to learn just how much technology, like our MOTECH platform, can change the lives of poor women and children. We just launched a program nationwide in India that will likely reach 10 million women and children. There’s amazing progress being made – but a long way still to go!

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