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Adam Braun

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Adam Braun is an American philanthropist, bestselling author, and CEO of Pencils of Promise, an award-winning nonprofit organization that has helped build more than 200 schools throughout the world. Recognized by Forbes Magazine on their “30 Under 30 List” as well as Wired’s Magazine’s “50 People Who Are Changing the World” list, Braun has been instrumental in making education accessible to children in the developing world. Braun is also credited with establishing “for-purpose” and “profitable purpose” approaches to his global philanthropic efforts, both of which have shown that anyone can start a movement that will make a difference.

Born in 1983 to a conservative Jewish family in New York City, Braun attended Brown University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, Sociology, and Public & Private Sector Organizations. Upon graduation Braun partook in a Semester at Sea program that would prove to be instrumental in shaping his future. During his time in the program, he traveled to more than 50 different countries, something that piqued his interest in international development. On one such trip to India, Braun was moved by a young boy begging on the streets who told him all he wanted as a pencil. Braun’s company, Pencils of Promise, was born based on this interaction.

Beyond his work with Pencils of Promise, Braun authored a book entitled “The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change”, published in March 2014. The book debuted at #2 on the New York Times Bestseller list and continues to gain momentum and help spread Braun’s message of global education.

Companies and Investments

Pencils of Promise (CEO), Bain & Company (Senior Associate Consultant)

Lessons Learned

I have learned that our passions don’t always come without struggle and times of darkness. However, they are what motivate us and give us the energy necessary to push forward.

The resources to provide all children with an education are not what is missing; it is the commitment to do so that we need to work on.

I do not consider myself a “non-profit” person, but rather somehow who is an entrepreneur who is dedicated to encouraging global education.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned through my travels and experiences is that we need to focus on the local community and their commitment to education.

Education was always incredible valued in my family. This is something that has stuck with me throughout my entire life and is a huge reason I do what I do today.

I believe it is important to recognize that each morning we have the choice of whether to bring positivity or negativity into the world.

Within each person there is an extraordinary tale waiting to be told.

It is easy to create something new; it is actually creating something that has a lasting impression that is most challenging.

Turn your life into a story you are excited to share and tell.

I have realized that even the largest feats and dreams all start somewhere small.

Inspiring Quotes

Adam Braun 's Quotes

Its the presence of others who are smarter, kinder, wiser, and different from you that enables you to evolve. Those are the people to surround yourself with at all times

Adam Braun

In moments of uncertainty, when you must chose between two paths, allowing yourself to be overcome by either the fear of failure or the dimly lit light of possibility, immerse yourself in the life you would be most proud to live.

Adam Braun

We all have those things that even in the midst of stress and disarray, they energize us and give us renewed strength and purpose. These are our passions

Adam Braun

The single most powerful element of youth is our inability to know what’s impossible

Adam Braun

Influential Books