East Coast meets South Coast: Global friendships span the test of time

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Friend and colleague Heeten Kalan visited San Francisco for a long overdue visit. Inevitably, as we caught-up on our latest projects in South Africa and news about friends and family, we began to reminisce about our past. Heeten recalled how our friendship started under an unlikely set of circumstances¬†nearly two decades ago when he was a young, Dartmouth graduate with a dream of starting a non-profit organization. We met over the telephone. I called with the unpleasant task of informing him that his proposal to South Coast Foundation was unsuccessful. However, after we reviewed the proposal, Heeten not only convinced me to reconsider, but in less than a month, he received his very first grant from us. Though new to fundraising at the time, Heeten’s talent was not to be missed! From there, Heeten’s career blossomed as a gifted speaker, development strategist and advocate for social justice. He founded the South Africa Environmental Exchange Program and has been key to the burgeoning environmental justice programs in South Africa, initiating innovative environmental protection programs around toxic waste and emissions in disenfranchised communities. Currently, Heeten is with The New World Foundation and a board member of the South Africa Development Fund, which was the recent recipient of a multi-million dollar grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support HIV/Aids programs in South Africa. It’s an honor to be his friend and to have had the opportunity to support him in the early days.

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