CARE places special focus on working alongside girls and women to fight poverty. When explaining why we focus on girls and women to our supporters, we usually talk about CARE program participants whose personal stories exemplify the great impact girls and women can have on the lives of others.
However, in 2014 we learned of a donor who exemplified the same qualities we highlight in program participants. That year, CARE's Planned Giving team received a generous check from the estate of Maura Bean. In conversations with Bean's niece, we learned she was a prominent agricultural scientist who successfully dedicated years of her life to improving the nutritional properties of staple grains.
Bean held several patents, including U.S. Patent 3949093 A, April 1976, "Process for improving quality of protein-fortified baked goods". Long-time family friend and fellow agricultural scientist Leo Kissell recalls Bean as someone who cared not only for the people around her but, through her work in nutrition, for people she'd never met. Kissell says Bean spent a considerable amount of time in Bolivia in the early 1980s, working with Bolivian scientists on programs to improve the quality of local grains.
"We used to pick her up from the airport," Kissell says. One time Bean shipped back a small amount of bread flour from Bolivia to test its nutritional properties in her lab. Kissell recalls with a smile how Bean was worried U.S. customs officials might mistake the flour for an illicit substance. "It would be hard to prove on the spot it was bread!" he laughs.
Bean was a great example of what CARE means when we say that, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. She did it in life and, by naming CARE in her will, made certain she continued doing it even after she was gone.