Today's philanthropists struggle to balance crisis contributions with investments in longer term, lasting solutions. HealthRight International exemplifies a nonprofit that leverages relatively small resources for a significant and sustainable impact in underserved communities around the world. And business investors love it.
Founded in 1990 by the late Jonathan Mann, M.D., HealthRight International builds access to healthcare services for communities that are discriminated against. People served include survivors of human rights violations, people with HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria who are stigmatized in their communities, and women, orphans and vulnerable children who are marginalized. As Mila Rosenthal, Executive Director, HealthRight explained to me in a private interview, the organization works throughout the world to "deliver life-saving care and services through partnerships with local organizations, government, and health workers; train and equip local health and social service providers to enable them to deliver care long after our projects are completed; strengthen systems by improving data collection and analysis; and advocate for equal access to care by mobilizing communities, documenting gaps in services, and providing roadmaps to lasting solutions."
It's evident from the composition of HealthRight's board and donors that business investors who believe in systemic change are particularly drawn to this organization's high-impact approach. Based on personal interviews with two HealthRight board members and a donor who serves on HealthRight's Advisory Council, here are their perspectives:
"We make permanent change through local partners. Then we move on to our next project. This is a results-oriented, sustainable approach that appeals to me as a business person."
"I was drawn to HealthRight because I am originally from Kenya, and HealthRight works in Kenya. What I love about this organization's model is that you are establishing partnerships with local people, and training and empowering them to create and provide the programs and services to treat their own communities. This is a sustainable approach."
Mohsin Meghji, Principal and Managing Director, Loughlin Meghji & Company; Board Member, HealthRight
"I invest in HealthRight because this model builds local capability that stays. We help to create the infrastructure for the delivery of healthcare and human rights on an ongoing basis."
Harri V. Taranto, Partner, Symphony Capital; Advisory Council Member, HealthRight
HealthRight has worked in over 30 countries, most recently and currently in India, Kenya, Kosovo, Mexico, Nepal, Romania, Russia, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, the United States, and Vietnam. Rosenthal shared with me that there are useful lessons and elements of programs that can be carried from one community to another.
HealthRight International seems particularly effective at drawing together the expertise and resources to build enduring solutions—both at the ground level, and also among board members and donors. Through partnerships, effective governance, and the combination of nonprofit and business approaches, HealthRight is pursuing long term impact for some of the world's toughest challenges.
A family affected by HIV in Vietnam meets with a HealthRight-trained community health worker
Women from the Pokot people of rural western Kenya during an outreach clinic