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Carrying the torch: Cabell Brand's living legacy

By Tamim Younos

Younos is president and CEO of the Cabell Brand Center for Global Poverty and Resource Sustainability Studies.

Edward Cabell Brand, the Roanoke Valley titan, passed away on Jan. 13. There were several articles in The Roanoke Times remembering and honoring Cabell. I worked with him closely during the past few years to revitalize the Cabell Brand Center (established in 1987) as his living legacy for generations to come. Cabell was always ahead of his times, a man with timeless ideas that embodied past, present and future simultaneously. Now the torch has passed, and as a member of Cabell’s team, I am honored to carry the torch to future generations.

The Cabell Brand Center motto is “Think globally, act locally.” Cabell thought that for an organization with a mission to bring benefit to society, it is imperative to think not only about our immediate and local problems but think holistically about the issues facing the world and seek solutions locally that address current and future global problems. Organizations that understand how global issues directly connect to their local mission are better prepared to impact their community.

The Cabell Brand Center for Global Poverty and Resource Sustainability Studies enacts the “think globally, act locally” mindset by working to inspire social responsibility and global citizenship through education and outreach. The center provides opportunities for understanding world resource issues and environmental trends that are threatening the planet and undermining the human prospect— and facilitates local efforts to address them. This approach is an effective way to reduce global problems to manageable size and to apply the understanding and creativity of dedicated people to enhancing the quality of life for their neighbors and beyond. To “think globally and act locally,” the overarching goals of the center are:

  • Create awareness of society’s most critical and interrelated issues — use of world resources and poverty;

  • Translate awareness into local action with increased public understanding and participation; and

  • Transfer to younger generations the wisdom and experiences of the older generation and the importance of learning and participation.

The center’s primary focus continues to be on cultivating the next generation of global thinkers and local actors. We are inspired by a spirit of self-interested civic generosity among young people who often express not only their aspirations for personal career success but also a desire to make a difference and leave the world a better place for coming generations.

Thus, the center provides opportunities for college students to study and participate in global issues with local hands-on projects through a competitive scholarship and internship programs. This is an appealing way to involve students, using real-world social and environmental problems as hands-on laboratories not only to understand the nature of these issues, but also to inspire them to seek practical solutions.

In addition, the center hosts public forums, symposia and workshops featuring internationally, nationally and locally renowned experts. It connects people and organizations, encouraging synergy among organizations and the pooling of resources for collective impact to better address these critical issues. It funds local research projects with global implications.

To honor Cabell’s legacy, the center has established the Cabell Brand Legacy Fund. Donations are accepted online at

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