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About Us

See Our Gifts

Seva Foundation provides financial resources and technical expertise to help communities build sustainable solutions to poverty and disease.

The projects evolve, but our approach is always the same — we build partnerships that respect the cultures and traditional wisdom of the people we serve, and we focus on solutions that can be sustained by local communities.


We are dedicated to finding skillful means to relieve suffering. We call this compassion in action. Our work is guided by the following principles:

* We affirm both the rational and the intuitive in all our work. We respect the spiritual and cultural roots of individuals and communities in helping them to create sustainable solutions.

* We seek long-term solutions that will support economic independence while remaining committed to methods that are environmentally sound.

* We promote solutions to problems that come from within individuals and communities. This principle is inherent in Seva's concept of self-reliance.

* We listen attentively to the people with whom we work and to each other. This kind of listening deepens inter-cultural understanding, allows lasting relationships to develop, and brings "wholeness" to our work.

* We are flexible in responding to the changing needs and conditions of the people and programs we help. We follow their lead in establishing goals and setting schedules.


In 1978, after working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to end smallpox in India, Dr. Larry Brilliant (currently Executive Director of, and his wife Girija Brilliant, a public health specialist, published a personal account of their decade in Asia, first as youthful travelers, then as spiritual seekers, and eventually as part of WHO's successful smallpox eradication team.

Readers were moved, and soon $20,000 of donations arrived in Larry and Girija's mailbox — with the first $5,000 coming from not-yet-famous computer inventor, Steve Jobs.

Inspired, the Brilliants convened a conference of friends and colleagues to consider what to do next now that smallpox had been eradicated — how could they best be of service?

Using their personal Rolodex of health professionals and cultural activists, the Brilliants invited an eclectic group that included the World Health Organization’s Dr. Nicole Grasset, spiritual teacher Ram Dass, and Berkeley activists Wavy Gravy and Jahanara Romney.

And Seva was born.


SIGHT PROGRAM: Nearly 80% of the world's 45 million blind people would be able to see again if they had access to eye care services. We're working on it.

NATIVE AMERICAN PROGRAM: For over 25 years, Seva has partnered with Native Americans working to build healthy communities, sustain their culture, and protect sacred lands and the environment.


Please visit our website to view our Annual Report and other such documentation:


Jack Blanks


Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Tanzania, United Republic of, United States


Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota


1786 5TH ST

BERKELEY, CA 94710-1716

Phone: (510) 845-7382

EIN: 38-2231279

A Gift Card


Seeds for Change

1 acre communal garden

This gift will provide seeds for a 1 acre community garden. Healthy traditional foods such as corn, beans and squash help Native Americans fight an epidemic of diabetes on their reservation.


The Gift of Sight

One cataract surgery

The bandage is removed, a moment of surprise, then a radiant smile beams as the patient sees the faces of the loved ones for the first time in years. A Gift of Sight is the miracle of vision restored. Offering a whole new world to its recipient, this gift provides for vision correcting surgery, medication and follow-up.