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Wade C. Roberts BA’04 PhD’09

In 1999, I paused my academic and athletic endeavors to serve a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints among refugees in California who survived the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia. I gained a deep love for them and became aware of the immense suffering they were experiencing. I wanted to be a part of the solution. 

Upon my return to school, I took a course that opened my eyes to the extensive grip of global poverty and guided my academic journey toward economics, culminating in a Ph.D. My dissertation research focused on the pervasive issue of landmines in Cambodia, leading to practical, life-saving policy solutions. My desire to help those trapped by extreme poverty continued to grow.

Over the span of the next 15 years, I taught economics at various universities, while continuing to explore the complexities of poverty in Cambodia. In 2022, I embarked on a new chapter, transitioning from academics to nonprofit work. Together with Dr. Tyler Elmore and my entrepreneurial brothers Rhett, Ben, and Lloyd, who founded LoanPro, a Utah fintech unicorn, we created the charity Become More. Our mission is to decrease extreme poverty and increase fulfillment.

Become More empowers entire villages in rural Cambodia to escape poverty through our health, education, and Fat Cow initiatives. A healthy foundation is established by providing villages with safe drinking water, prenatal vitamins, dental care, and feminine hygiene supplies. Educational support removes barriers preventing children from attending school by supplying books, uniforms, tuition, and bikes, and even offering rice for going to class.

Additionally, our education programs teach financial literacy and English. Families can also enroll in our Fat Cow program where we transform skinny cows into fat cows through proper nutrition, vaccinations, and modern farming practices. The Fat Cow program decreases mortality, speeds up reproduction, and doubles the weight of offspring, resulting in a fivefold return on investment. This program creates a vehicle of savings and development for families while generating enough revenue to continue funding the health care and education needs of whole villages. If you want to learn more, visit becomemorecharity.org.


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  1. Being a daughter of Cambodian refugee immigrants, this initiative is really wonderful work that hits close to home! Fantastic story.

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