Seva’s board had long aspired to reflect the values of the organization in its investment portfolio through social screening, not holding the stock of companies deemed objectionable (e.g., fossil fuel, tobacco, etc.). Unfortunately, given our size, a cost-effective socially screened option was not available, and the board decided to invest Seva’s assets in a low-cost passively managed target-risk fund. The purely passive implementation kept costs low but meant that Seva could not eliminate certain objectionable securities from its portfolio holdings.
In 2018, Seva received a sizable bequest which increased its investible assets meaningfully, although the portfolio is still small by institutional investment standards. At the request of Dr. T. Stephen Jones, Seva co-founder, honorary lifetime board member, and fossil fuel divestment advocate, a search was again conducted to identify an option that would allow for screening. This time though, another option was identified. Rhumbline Advisers (“Rhumbline”), a Boston-based investment firm, offered to create a custom strategy that substantively mimicked the risk profile of Seva’s existing investment program but would allow for social screening. The customized strategy consists of three accounts to be held at a custodian bank: a US equity separate account, a non-US equity separate account, and a US fixed income strategy. The two equity accounts are socially screened. The fixed income strategy is invested in an Exchange Traded Fund and is not socially screened. Rhumbline has the authority to rebalance among the asset classes in accordance with guidelines determined by Seva’s board.
Seva’s board elected to eliminate the producers and manufacturers of fossil fuels, tobacco, guns and ammunition, and prisons from its investment portfolio. Although the implementation of this strategy is more complex than buying and selling a mutual fund, our investment costs have not increased. The new investment program has been in place for nearly a year now, and we are pleased to report that the strategy is performing very much in line with expectations. The board is delighted that the organization’s values are now a part of the investment program!
Women have played an integral role in the field of eye care throughout history, from the development of new inventions to creating new models of care, to holding key leadership roles – they are transforming the eye care landscape day after day.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
One woman alone can create a ripple. When she’s joined by others, she creates a wave that moves the world. We know this because we’ve seen it in action around the world and we see it every day at Seva.
The Executive Director at Seva works diligently to lead the organization with purpose and vision, leaving no stone unturned in our mission to transform lives around the world by restoring sight. The Program Director and Researcher collaborate with partners around the world to implement innovative eye care solutions that address real needs.
“If we think of Covid-19 as a wildfire – and it surely spreads like one – we have failed to extinguish it. We still have fires burning all over the country,” says Dr. Brilliant, a world-renowned epidemiologist.
Dr. Brilliant together with W. Ian Lipkin, Lisa Danzig, and Karen Pak Oppenheimer published an article in the Wall Street Journal today. They discuss what’s to come next for the pandemic with new variants, vaccines, and planning for future public health challenges. The message is clear: We can still beat COVID-19 using many of the strategies leveraged in the past to deal with Smallpox, Ebola, Swine, and other viruses, but we must act fast and in concerted efforts.
I want to send a happy International Women’s Day today to all the amazing women like Happiness transforming the world with their courage and compassion.
As we celebrate and remember our power to transform the world let us also remember the millions of women around the world who still don’t have basic human rights. When we do, we can answer the call to amplify their voices.
On behalf of the most dedicated and talented teams, thank you for working toward a world that is a safe and inclusive place for women and girls.
Call it a cliché, but when you see it in action, you know you’re witnessing something special. Seva’s partners worldwide have faced some challenging circumstances over the past twelve months, making the provision of critical eye care to people in need more difficult. But thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, when the going got tough, the tough could get going!
Take for example, Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital (SCEH), one of our partners in Uttar Pradesh, India. When COVID-19 hit India hard last year, many people who needed eye care weren’t able to visit the clinic. So in the town of Naujheel, the clinic’s team took eye care to the people’s doorsteps instead.
The International Association of Blindness (IAPB) created the Vision Excellence Award to commemorate the end of its 21-year global initiative, VISION 2020: A Right to Sight. In recognition of their life-changing, world-transforming work in the field of humanitarian eye care, IAPB has recognized a total of ten Seva team members and partners with the prize.
“On behalf of the whole Seva family, congratulations to these extraordinary sight leaders and practitioners,” says Kate Moynihan, Executive Director of Seva Foundation. “Seva staff and partners consistently set the standard for patient-centered vision care. Today’s award winners share the commitment and quality of work that brings access to sustainable eye care to millions of individuals and their communities worldwide. I can’t wait to see how – together – we will continue to change the world.”
Thank you for supporting Seva and making these incredible accomplishments possible!
Wisely and from the start, founders and staff of the Seva Foundation knew to listen. We do now, as they did then. We listen to the local and international scientific/social/technical experts, we listen to one another, and most importantly – we carefully listen to the communities and individuals we serve. From listening, we can achieve a pathway to equity.
Equity has always been a stated core value for the Seva Foundation and continues to be the guiding light for our decision making.
Through our decades of service, we came to understand that women and girls were far less likely than men to receive treatment, and for severe vision loss, the inequity increases. With your contributions, sight-saving programs were developed, along with more healthy communities. Seva is here, driving change, unlocking local excellence to address the inequity. Regaining sight is transformative and it results in better futures, especially for women and girls.
The antidote to injustice is equity, and the mechanism for change is listening. Thank you for listening throughout the years and for supporting Seva to transform lives across the world.
A New Year brings a new opportunity to recommit to equity. Every day our staff, partners, and board of directors work tirelessly to ensure that one day, every child will wake up in a world where they have access to care for avoidable blindness.
AGILITY – I’ve been thinking about the meaning of this word lately. Thinking quickly, under pressure, and needing to make skillful decisions. Every one of us is agile these days.
I’m proud of the agility I see in my team and our partners here in the US and across the globe. Over the past several months, as the world changed, we leaned into our core values of compassion in action, equity, and respect. By doing so, we were able to support those in need. We saw agility in the form of innovations in telemedicine, new safety protocols, and diagnosing patients remotely.
While we understand the work we do is serious, we don’t take ourselves seriously. This wisdom is the gift from one of our most beloved co-founders, Wavy Gravy. He celebrated his birthday earlier this year under quarantine and via a live stream concert. His opening welcome was videotaped at his home, and the footage used was pulled from earlier shows.
There are 19 million children worldwide under the age of 15 who live with impaired vision. In 2018, moved by this alarming statistic, Seva made a commitment to screen 1 million children and provide all necessary follow-up care by December 2020. This major undertaking was supported by Seva’s corporate partner, MODO, and other Seva supporters.