Donor Profile:
John Harper

Dear Seva,

There was a line in one of your videos that said something like, "we are a group of people with compassion in our hearts and needing a place to direct it." That is exactly what I feel, and think is something that is common to most people who have had the moment of realization where the idea of "us and them" vaporizes and empathy rises like the sun.

I have been looking for a project that really got me excited, that is vetted well, and that has a menu of services that allows people of all means to participate. You do that! And you are working at restoring sight, which is so fundamentally beautiful.

And you work in the Himalayas! I was lucky to have the time to take a long walk in Nepal and grateful to spend time among a people for which I have long had a strong affinity.

I really, really appreciate what you do. I wish that I could be trained to do the eye surgeries myself. I'd leave next week!

So here is a bit of my story.

15 years ago, I moved into a large old house in Portland, Oregon. I was painting at the time and decided to have a show at the house. It was a wonderful evening and it became quickly obvious that I could do that for other visual artists, musicians, and poets.

Now, once a year we have a silent auction and all proceeds go to a charity we want to support. It is the combination of these elements that pulse in my life, celebrating and practicing creative arts and generating goodwill. We introduce people to organizations like Seva and create an opportunity for donations.

I've included a couple of photos, one of me and one of Beth Wood who was our artist for the evening. Beth is extraordinary and way beyond the scope of our “local talent” focus, but she is a friend and lives in Portland. We hosted her in January, when she was home and between seasonal touring.

Above: John Harper talks about Seva at his fundraising event.

Below: Beth Wood performs at John's fundraising event for Seva.

She played two sets between which we showed one of your videos introducing Seva. I followed up with a brief explanation of what we were up to that evening. After the second set we announced the results of our silent auction and once again talked about Seva. Simple enough. We raised about $1,500. Additionally, we leverage this by finding patrons either through grants, local businesses, or individuals who want to match funds that support the greater good. We had a matching donor, so the total for Seva was over $3,000, with a few more gifts still straggling in.

Goodwill generation is the simple point. Encouraging participation by having fun is the way.

– John Harper

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