Nonprofit organizations make a big impact in tackling social issues, such as poverty and lack of access to education. As charities conduct social work to bringing their visions of change to life, it is important to amplify their mission and impact. Urban Asian spoke to Sharmila Seth, the co-founder of Children Across Borders, a charitable organization that provides financial and non-financial support to children-focused, non-profit, grassroots organizations primarily in the areas of education, health, shelter, and wellness across the United States and India today and the world tomorrow.
What drove the vision behind Children Across Borders (CAB)? Are there any personal circumstances that drove you to initiate this organization?
When my children were in elementary school full-time, I wanted to go back to work in a meaningful and purposeful way, in a way that gave back to the community (Tampa Bay) and the country of my birth (India). My focus was always to ensure that all children no matter their class in society, be given a fair chance to a quality education. I believe education to be the single most important gift for your child. Coming from a middle-class upbringing myself, my family’s priority was to make sure I was given a full education, which led my father to spend his savings on a one-way ticket to send me to the USA, to continue my college education. As I began research into starting CAB, I realized that without access to healthcare, a roof over their heads and a nutritious meal and clean drinking water to live by, children would not be able to attend school and be educated. This motivated me to add health, shelter and wellness to the areas of focus, in addition to education.
CAB’s mission is to provide financial & non-financial support to children-focused, non-profit, grass-roots organizations primarily in the areas of education, health, shelter & wellness in the USA & India today and the world tomorrow.
What goes into selecting beneficiary organizations to support?
CAB supports programs within the organizations, which thereby supports the organization itself. Support for a new program/organization is usually done through referrals. The criteria we look for are the following:
- The program needs to directly impact the child (tangible programs).
- The program has to have a critical need for funds, i.e., mostly at the grass-roots level.
- The program needs to be sustainable over the long term so that it impacts the community as a whole.
- The program has to have strict standards of accountability and transparency.
- The program has to fall under the 4 pillars of impact – education, health, shelter & wellness.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of the work you do?
The most fulfilling aspects are as follows:
- Giving back personally and through Children Across Borders
- Making a positive difference for a global community of underserved children who are our future
- Representing my work as a model for my own children
- Being able to encourage family, friends & colleagues to join the movement
- Meeting and learning from similar minded people in the non-profit workspace
- Being recognized for CAB’s work in the global community
What events have Children Across Borders planned in the Tampa Bay Area? Are there any events we should look forward for?
Bollywood Nights, our spectacular signature black-tie fundraiser event is held biennially at the Tampa Museum of Art. However, the next one is scheduled to be held in Atlanta, the fall of 2021. Please keep an ear out for details on the event on our social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and our website. Check out the pictures from the most recent event here.
CAB Cricket Cup, a family-fun fundraiser is held annually at the Steinbrenner Field, in Tampa, FL. The next one is on January 10, 2021 from 12-4pm. For details, sponsorships & tickets on the event please visit our website.
What are some ways people can get involved with Children Across Borders?
We love it when people get involved with CAB. There are many ways.
- Have your company match your donations to CAB!
- Become a monthly donor for any amount you can afford. A small amount long ways.
- Sponsor a program or a fundraising event.
- Attend our fundraising events.
- Chair or volunteer one of our fundraising events.
- Host a smaller, more intimate fundraising event with your friends for the benefit of CAB.
- g. Be an ambassador, spread the word on our work and impact among your family, friends & colleagues.