Empowering the People of Africa to Survive and to Thrive Beyond the HIV/AIDS Pandemic

aka HEART   |   Auburn, CA   |


HEART and our partners are empowering current and future generations of Kenyan people through disease prevention education and economic development.  This is accomplished through Christian compassion, health intervention and resources as we promote physical, spiritual and emotional health.

Notes from the nonprofit

HEART believes the verse, “'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” NASV. We will accomplish great things as we see lives empowered, communities developed, individual potential unlocked in the lives of the women and children we serve. HEART is creating a generational impact in Kenya!

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Lori Powell

Main address

11960 Heritage Oak Place, Ste. 21

Auburn, CA 95603-2403 USA

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Formerly known as

Health Education for Africa Resource Team



NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (G01)

Women's Centers (P83)

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (T12)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The world has been turned upside down with COVID-19 and its impact on humanity worldwide. For HEART and our work in Kenya with HIV positive mothers and their children, the immediate (the next several unforeseen months), as well as 2021 and beyond, our goal is to continue working to help these women and their children, which numbers just over 300 and 1,000 respectively, to receive monthly provisions of food, as well as long-term food security through a poultry management program that is being implemented in upcountry Kenya with the financial support of individual and corporate donors from private and public sectors. In broader terms, HEART has been dedicated to helping mothers not only survive with HIV/AIDS, but to Thrive by being empowered with knowledge, skills, and transforming faith for the purpose of caring for themselves and their children. Since 2000, over 600 women have been helped, most of whom are thriving as a result of training and coaching they have received from HEART.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Women Equality Empowerment Project (WEEP)

Our project saves the lives of mothers
suffering from advanced stages of AIDS; therefore, their children are
spared from becoming orphans. Operating in impoverished areas, the Women Equality Empowerment Project (WEEP)
identifies mothers who have been widowed or abandoned.

WEEP commits to providing medical care,
nutrition, vitamins, rent assistance and access to ARV drugs; it also assures that their children continue with their school with assistance in tuition, required uniforms and needed educational supplies. Once physically stable, the mother is taught
a trade at a WEEP center where she becomes self sufficient and breaks through the impoverished cycle.
In a country where the unemployment is estimated to be close to 70%, a job allows the WEEP women to provide for their families in a way that would be impossible without this project. Beyond the devastatingly high unemployment level, the lack of information and the stigma associated with AIDS thwart any efforts for an HIV positive woman to secure
employment, support her children, or access ARV drugs. WEEP’s objective is to keep mom alive, healthy, and employed and prevent her vulnerable children
from becoming orphaned.

Population(s) Served
People with HIV/AIDS

The project is committed to providing education and hope for the next generation of Mothers with HIV/AIDS served by HEART.  The project provides school fees, educational support and uniforms for the children at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education.

These children, many of whom have been reared by elderly grandmothers, would not have the opportunity to attend school because they cannot afford a uniform or tuition cost.

HEART believes that mothers with HIV/AIDS have a great chance to not only survive but thrive if their children are cared for and have a fair chance to receive an education, thus breaking the cycle of poverty

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Through the Freedom for Girls Program, adolescent girls are provided with undergarments, sanitary napkins and education on their monthly cycle and the importance of waiting for sex until marriage.

FFG has enabled thousands of girls who would have missed upwards of five school days every month for lack of protection during their monthly cycle. Without HEART's provisions, these girls most generally fall behind in their studies and eventually drop out of school.

Studies show that educated girls are less likely to contract HIV and less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior that can lead to HIV infection. A Kenya study finds that girls who stay in school are four times more likely to be virgins than those who drop out of school.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls

HEART’S goal is to saturate rural Kenya with the prevention message of HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria, Typhoid, and Hepatitis B and testing for HIV through Mobile Voluntary Counseling and Testing (MVCT). HEART staff and volunteer teams travel throughout rural Kenya teaching age appropriate messages to adults, youth and children simultaneously.

Seminars about HIV transmission separate facts from myths and encourage alternatives to traditional African lifestyles which facilitate the spread of HIV.

HEART seminars are often the first exposure to basic disease and prevention facts. All teachings are based on basic public health messages and Christian principles. All adults receive a HEART health manual written in both English and Swahili; this publication can serve as a health resource manual for the entire family. HEART believes that education is the best vaccine for HIV/AIDS.

Population(s) Served

HEART is committed to providing clean water to Kenya.

According to The World Health Organization, three out of five infant deaths are caused by water-borne illnesses. Additionally, two-thirds of the 72 district hospitals in Kenya do not have access to clean water.

HEART is enabling Kenyans to purify their water through distributing a product called water guard, which kills bacteria responsible for killing so many children in the slums of Nairobi. We have also received grants from Rotary to purchase “PUR” for water treatment up country.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Women and girls

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

When HEART was established in 2000, the goal was NOT to be among the biggest and most expansive of ministries in Africa. Rather, the goal was to focus sharply on the desperate condition of women with HIV/AIDS, with the realization that if they could be rescued from the fatal grip of the pandemic in Kenya, if they could be coached and encouraged to take their life-saving medicine, to eat nourishing food and practice good hygiene, if they could be taught revenue-generating skills--like sewing, making jewelry, poultry management and farming--these ladies could beat the odds and Thrive, in spite of a society that has shunned and stigmatized them. If they could thrive, then they would have the ability and capacity--with HEART's assistance--to care for their own children. When their children are nurtured and encouraged to stay in school, then their chances of a better life and brighter future extend beyond a dream to a come-true reality. Now two decades later, HEART is seeing the fruit of this commitment in a second generation of young people--the children of these mothers--who are now leading responsible and productive lives. HEART's Founder and Executive Director, Vickie Winkler states the goal in this manner: "The aim of this ministry is not to be shallow and wide; the aim is to be narrow and very deep." The ultimate aim is to see women empowered in such a way that their lives are transformed spiritually, physically, economically and emotionally, so much so that they can provide for their own children and literally impact the next generation and beyond.

HEART’s overall strategy for reaching targeted program goals will be accomplished by unwavering commitment to embracing and building upon these corporate-wide strengths:
• A funding strategy that includes a broad-spectrum of individual giving from smaller giving levels to major gifts, monthly pledges, multi-year commitments. The scope of support includes: corporations, foundations, service clubs, schools and colleges, churches and partnering Para church organizations.
• A structure of leadership and management that: 1) keenly integrates the vision, purpose and decisions of a U.S.-based Board of Directors (BOD) and a Kenyan-based Board of Trustees (BOT); 2) fully integrates the strengths and contributions of Kenyan and U.S. staff members, engaged teams of volunteers, donor groups/individuals, and BOD/BOT, partnering support entities (i.e. Rotary International, Soroptimist, Lions, USAID, etc.); 3) employs frontline workers with knowledge, skills, experience and mission-driven passion to assist in myriad ways with program and management functions of seven HEART-supported Community Business Organizations (CBOs) throughout Kenya; 4) maintain a first-class for-profit lodge (HEART Lodge, Nairobi) for the purpose of a) generating profit to support the mission and programs of HEART, b) providing a well-suited headquarter location for the staff of HEART in Kenya (and visiting staff from the U.S.), c) to offer HEART volunteers and visiting teams a safe and centrally-located facility that comfortably meets the lodging needs over 100 volunteers and guests who come and stay annually at HEART Lodge.
• A programmatic commitment to excellence in every dimension of work and service that aspires to achieve the highest ethical standards and professional best practices possible. This is accomplished by cross-functional team efforts that pay diligent attention to financial accountability and stewardship, accurate and detailed standards of reporting and monitoring programs, events and activities orchestrated by HEART throughout Kenya annually.
• A faith-based, corporate-wide belief in this simple statement: “Jesus Christ is our CEO.”

HEART has been in existence for 20 years with a strong and highly respected presence in Kenya that has partnered with these international service clubs, Rotary, Lions and Soroptimist. These organizations, all of which have a presence in Kenya as well as California where HEART's U.S. office is located have all been part of HEART's past endeavors, as well as current programs of highest priority, including the present food crisis exacerbated by COVID-19. HEART has also maintained solid relationships with many churches, from mega-size to those of smaller size; these entities give not only annually but also on a case-by-case basis depending on the urgency of need. A number of major-giving foundations generously support the work of HEART, as well as a growing donor base of individuals who make one=time gifts and monthly pledges. On the programmatic side, HEART has been committed to leveraging financial support through the engagement of over 100 volunteers who have annually traveled to Kenya, providing labor, donations, instruction, medical assistance, training in nutrition and hygiene, as well as other identified priorities, determined by HEART's professional team of Kenyan specialists, that focus on improving the quality of life for HEART's mothers and children. The Kenyan team operates from an administration base in Nairobi and is supported by a field staff of coordinators in rural areas such as Kisii, Kakamega, Manga, Gucha, and Nyakach.

In the second quarter of 2020, HEART reports that since 2000:

611 HIV positive mothers and households have been served in the Women Equality Empowerment Project (WEEP). An Orphan Prevention program that provides health care, food and nutrition, shelter, education, protection, psychosocial support, income generation skills and coordination of care.

107,860 malaria prevention bed nets have been made by WEEP alumni and distributed by HEART and our partners throughout Kenya reaching over 323,580 children.

20 Community Development Organizations (CBOs) have been trained on good governance, leadership and financial management to serve their communities efficiently in 12 regions of Kenya. Focus is placed on empowerment, sustainability and learning how to manage external grants.

260,270 adolescent girls have benefitted from the Freedom for Girls (FFG) project which provides a year’s supply of sanitary towels, 4 under garments, and an educational pamphlet, “Keeping Girls in School”.

214 girls in the remote Maasai village of Oldonyonyokie have been supported through primary school education including a dorm for 64 girls’ education, rescue and protection.

767 children from the Kids for School and WEEP projects have been supported with school fees for an average of 3.2 years each; 3,729 children have been supported with uniforms and scholastic materials; 1,101 children have been mentored and offered psychosocial support.

4 schools have benefited from significant infrastructure improvements that have created conducive learning environments for thousands of primary school students.

8,841 children have been supported with OVC service standards: shelter, nutrition, health, protection, or support for psychological and social problems. This includes 2,044 children of WEEP mothers. This is creating an impact that reaches the next three generations.

3,042 children in 1,014 households have benefitted with solar lamps through the Kids for School (KFS) project in 6 counties to enhance children’s learning, light and income generation for the households.

330 WEEP mothers and 10 NextGen youth have been trained on fundamentals of Bible study and living Godly lives through discipleship as part of psychosocial support.

315 WEEP mothers have been trained on nutrition thus enhancing their knowledge on nutrition, immune system, physical activity improving the outcomes of antiretroviral drugs treatment.

In the months that remain in 2020 and the year that lies before us in 2021, HEART will continue to do everything in its power, with Guidance and Direction through the strength and prayers of our Christian faith and the acts of compassion that we provide to those who we are called to serve. In the midst of COVID-19, our greatest priority is to stay focused on helping our mothers and children survive these difficult times, so that they will ultimately THRIVE when conditions make that possible

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, other,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    The examples are many. Most recently, however, is how we have integrated feedback from supporters who are in the health profession. They have expressed very compelling arguments in favor of the women in our Kenyan program manufacturing and selling COVID-19 protective masks. Over the course of recent weeks, HEART's leadership orchestrated ZOOM discussions with these concerned individuals to specifically address numerous concerns, options, and practical solutions. It was a very positive and productive process.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Board of directors
as of 06/20/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Pastor Phil Sparling

Auburn Grace Community Church

Term: 2021 - 2023

Vickie Winkler


Doug Juday

No Affiliation

Phil Sparling

No Affiliation

Sandra Perkins

No Affiliation

Dave Page

No Affiliation

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Not applicable
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 6/21/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


No data