Critical Impact Award
The Council on Foundations presented Seva with this prestigious award for "revolutionizing" community-based eye care programs by helping to launch Aurolab.
Ram Dass on Seva
Watch a 5-minute video with Ram Dass, Larry Brilliant and others telling the story of how Seva Foundation began.
in TIME 100!
Seva co-founder Larry Brilliant was chosen as one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People.
Remembering Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs, before he was famous, provided the funds that started Seva. 30 years later, millions of people who were blind have had their vision restored.
Dozens of artists have raised millions of dollars to support Seva's work over the past 30 years.
Compassion in Action
Seva Foundation started as a small group with a big idea, and the idea was this: To be fully human, we must translate our compassion and concern into useful service.
That simple statement conveys something about the nature of compassion that is expressed in most spiritual traditions around the world — that compassion is not just about helping those less fortunate than ourselves, it's about the realization that we are all connected as one human family.
That sense of compassionate service motivates all of Seva's work, as we build programs that support people around the world in their efforts to build healthy communities.
Seva's programs, spanning many cultures and countries, share certain fundamental principles:
In 1978, after working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to end smallpox in India, Dr. Larry Brilliant (currently President, Skoll Global Threats Fund), and his wife Girija Brilliant, a public health specialist, published an article entitled Death of a Killer Disease. It was a personal account of their decade in Asia, first as youthful travelers, then as spiritual seekers, and eventually as part of WHO's successful smallpox eradication team.
They concluded the article with an appeal to readers to find the compassion and understanding to support international health programs to benefit those struggling with poverty.
Serving the Underserved
Our programs serve people who have been economically, politically, or otherwise marginalized. We change our program approach to relate to their culture and circumstances, reaching out in very different ways, for example, to nomads in Tibet, women in Tanzania, or indigenous Mayans in Guatemala. Our aim is to build a bridge of compassion between our donors and the people we serve — people around the world who have the fewest resources.
Building Healthy Communities
Seva embraces an expanded concept of health, recognizing that spiritual and cultural renewal, economic self-sufficiency, and basic civil and human rights are as important to well-being as medical care.
Seva's programs foster self-reliance and aim to reduce dependence on outside assistance. In the communities where we work, we share skills and technology appropriate for local conditions, assist local decision-making, and help launch projects that will become financially self-sufficient. This transfer of knowledge enables communities to care for their own, now and into the future.
Working Through Partnerships
We form long-term partnerships with those we serve. By developing close relationships with local organizations and community leaders, we build trust, mutual respect and cultural understanding. We honor the ability of communities to define their own solutions to the challenges they face.
"Helping out is not some special skill. It is not the domain of rare individuals. It is not confined to a single part of our lives. We simply heed the call of that natural impulse within and follow it where it leads us."
Co-Founder and Honorary Lifetime Board Member