A mutual love of travel and a commitment to service brought Gina Febbraro and Ajay Kapoor together in 2006. Giving to international organizations is one of many values they share, and it’s a critical component of how they are raising their six-year-old daughter, Priya, to be globally conscious. “We’re very committed to serving people who face different challenges from us, and don’t have the same opportunities or access,” says Febbraro.
In April 2015, when the earthquake struck Nepal, they made their first gift to Humanity & Inclusion (the new name of handicap international), a decision that wasn’t made lightly. “We did a lot of research before donating,” says Kapoor. “Gina has a background in public health and has been involved in making grants to organizations, so effectiveness is important to us.”
After ten years administering state and federal funding for maternal and child health programs in Colorado, Febbraro has come to appreciate what makes effective programs and strong organizations. “We try to be very thoughtful about what makes organizations sustainable and who we are giving to so our gift makes as much of a direct impact as possible,” she says.
Kapoor, who runs a small technology firm in Colorado, believes hiring local people provides a better return on investment, and was pleased to learn that Humanity & Inclusion hires local physical therapists and service providers. “More people receive benefits from every dollar spent when locals are providing the service. It has a multiplying effect, which makes more sense to me.”
But it wasn’t just the data that led them to choose Humanity & Inclusion. “The stories are really impressive,” says Kapoor. In fact, reports about Handicap International’s many beneficiaries are one of the biggest reasons why Kapoor and Febbraro continue their leadership support.
“The moment I felt like we were going to have a longer-term commitment to Humanity & Inclusion was months after the earthquake, when we received a letter and a summary of the services provided,” Kapoor recalls. “The number of people impacted was awesome to see, but grounding that data in the individual stories was so important.”
“I love the way the stories are told over time,” adds Febbraro. “It’s very powerful.” In particular, it was meaningful to follow the progress made by Nirmala, a little girl around the same age as their own daughter, who lost her leg in the earthquake. The family followed Nirmala’s story as she received physical therapy, graduated to a prosthetic leg, and re-learned how to walk, hop, and run. Today, Nirmala is thriving at school.
Looking to the future, Kapoor and Febbraro say they’ll continue their support of Humanity & Inclusion. “The dollars are going to places that are close to our hearts,” says Kapoor.
“And if the organization can depend on consistent sources of funding over time, it can make even more of an impact,” Febbraro adds. “HI is an important investment that is making a difference, and we want to be part of a sustainable effort.”
This story was originally featured in the Spring 2017 edition of The Next Step.
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