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Seva Foundation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Formation1978 (1978)
PurposePrevention of blindness.
Headquarters1786 Fifth Street
  • Berkeley, California, United States
Region served
Executive Director
Kate Moynihan[1]

Seva Foundation is an international non-profit health organization based in Berkeley, California, known for preventing and treating blindness and other visual impairments. It was co-founded in 1978 by Dr. Larry Brilliant, Ram Dass, Wavy Gravy, Nicole Grasset and Govindappa Venkataswamy. Steve Jobs served as an early adviser and major contributor.

Seva works with local communities in more than 20 countries around the world to develop locally-run, culturally appropriate, self-sustaining programs to increase access to eye care. Seva works with local eye health hospitals and clinics in central Asia, southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The foundation also works with Native communities in North America through its American Indian Sight Initiative.


Seva Foundation, based in Berkeley, California, was founded in 1978 by public health expert Larry Brilliant,[2][3] spiritual leader Ram Dass[4] and humanitarian activist Wavy Gravy. Other co-founders include Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy, founder of the Aravind Eye Foundation, and Nicole Grasset, the senior adviser for the World Health Organization smallpox eradication campaign.[5][6] Steve Jobs also participated as an adviser at early Seva meetings and provided the first significant cash donation along with an Apple II to enter and analyze eye care survey results in the original Nepal program.[7]

According to the Seva Foundation's website, "Seva (pronounced Say-Va) is a Sanskrit word meaning 'selfless service to others' and came to represent for us the dream of relieving suffering and reducing poverty in the most effective ways possible."[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Staff". Seva Foundation. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  2. ^ Strom, Stephanie (January 29, 2011). "Google Finds It Hard to Reinvent Philanthropy". The New York Times. Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  3. ^ "Larry Brilliant | Speaker | TED". www.ted.com. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  4. ^ "Baba Ram Dass, Spiritual Guru and LSD Proponent, Dies at 88". The New York Times. 2019-12-23. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  5. ^ "Celebrating 35 Years of Service: Seva Foundation's history of Compassion in Action". Seva Foundation. Archived from the original on January 6, 2014. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  6. ^ Grasset, Nicole; Organization, World Health (1978). "Programme d' éradication de la variole dans la République de Djibouti : évaluation de la situation actuelle et exécution des activités de surveillance : 6 novembre-30 décembre 1977 / par Nicole Grasset" (in French). World Health Organization. hdl:10665/68228. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  7. ^ Wingfield, Nick (November 20, 2013). "A Gift From Steve Jobs Returns Home". The New York Times. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  8. ^ "Seva's Mission - to restore sight and prevent blindness - Seva Foundation".

External links[edit]