It all started 7 years ago when Heather Newlin was living in California. It was a Saturday and she was getting ready to move when she received a call from Erna Grasz, her professional mentor, asking if she could stop by. They sat down on the steps of Heather’s empty house and Erna asked Heather about her preferences on logo designs. It was the first time Heather heard that Erna was considering starting a nonprofit organization, and it wasn’t the last.
Heather was excited about becoming involved in education for children in East Africa because she had studied developing nations and was passionate about Africa. She had also completed an International Studies seminar in South Africa as a part of her MBA program at the University of California, Berkeley. “I really wanted to be a part of this start-up organization that was approaching development in a very unique way: working from within by providing inspiring local leaders with the funds needed to further their vision for solving their community’s problems faster.”
Heather jumped right in and started out as an adviser for Asante Africa Foundation in 2006, two years ago she officially joined the Board of Directors. She serves as a Board Secretary and is a member of Asante Africa Foundation’s Development and Governance Committee. Her body of work with Asante Africa Foundation is highlighted with numerous local and global activities that contribute to raising awareness, creating education programs and achieving fundraising goals.
Besides volunteering her time as an Asante Africa Foundation committee and board member, Heather coordinates some of the organization’s fundraising efforts, resulting in a culmination of funds that have impacted the education and futures of approximately 1,800 East African children. “So little money is needed to truly transform lives in East Africa and provide the means for students to become capable leaders, identifying and implementing solutions to tough problems. In less than seven years, the transforms witnessed are outstanding, both within East Africa and within the Foundation’s understanding of the need and how to best address it. For example, shifting activities away from infrastructure projects for an increased focus on leadership development skills and enabling students and teachers to solve problems with skill development and encouragement.”
In 2012 Asante Africa Foundation received a $5,000 grant from Northrop Grumman on behalf of Heather. She was honored with an “Excellence in Volunteerism” award for her outstanding work with Asante Africa Foundation. Northrop Grumman’s annual Employee Recognition Program honors employees who have demonstrated dedication, excellence and commitment through their volunteer efforts with nonprofit organizations and Heather was recognized with this distinction for her impressive and multi-faceted support of Asante Africa’s mission.
Heather currently lives in Virginia and works as a program manager and executive with Northrop Grumman. She is married with children that keep her very busy. She enjoys running and yoga which she credits to keeping her energy high and stress low. Heather’s favorite food is chocolate but she prefers healthier options, like Chobani Coffee Chocolate yogurt bites.
Heather is one of Asante Africa Foundation’s amazing volunteer board members who give their generous time, expertise and effort to support the organization’s vision.