Himalayan Children’s Charities Founders
Co-founder and President
After a successful entrepreneurial career in IT and real estate, Bruce has dedicated his life to philanthropy and service. In 2000, Bruce and his wife, Susan, established Himalayan Children’s Charities, and he has served as its president ever since. He has also serves as an advisor and board member of several other international charities. In 2006, he established The Keenan Foundation which supports the care and education of children around the world, as well as providing aid for at-risk animals. Bruce graduated from Ohio State University with a BS in Theoretical Mathematics in 1976.
Co-founder and Board Chair
Susan co-founded one of Atlanta’s premier convention services companies and served as president for over 12 years, delivering event production and personnel services to national corporations and associations. She discovered her passion for helping young people succeed in life when she volunteered at a non-profit organization from 1993-99, mentoring students to access their inner resources and develop leadership and communication skills. After a trip to Kathmandu in 2000, Susan witnessed the challenges and terrible conditions faced by abandoned children in Nepal, and with her husband Bruce, established Himalayan Children’s Charities. As co-director, she has worked to provide educational and life-skills training opportunities to serve the needs of at-risk children in Nepal. She has fostered effective scholarship and mentoring programs for HCC students, including a program to bring wifi technology and e-learning to remote schools, and the most recent initiative, the HCC Youth Ambassador Council, connecting US and Nepali-based high school students via social media to promote a stronger understanding of each other’s cultures. Susan graduated with a BA from the Newhouse School of Communications, Syracuse University.
Himalayan Children’s Charities Staff
Dinesh Raj Sapkota
In-country Director, Creating Possibilities, Nepal
Dinesh was born in Bhojpur, an Eastern hill district of Nepal. He graduated in 2005 with his masters degree in English Literature from Tribhuwan University and now lives in Kathmandu with his wife and two sons, 11 and 4. Dinesh serves as HCC’s In-country Director in Nepal and has been working with HCC since 2009. His work includes ensuring the smooth operation of all aspects of HCC’s work in Kathmandu, and overseeing HCC’s financial operations. He also plays a major role in the lives of HCC students, providing much needed emotional and physical support and advocacy throughout their childhoods and into young adulthood. His passions include travel, spending time with family, and working on behalf of the underprivileged children and women in Nepal. He believes in teamwork and cooperation.
Director of Student Programs and Hostel Services, HCC
Hira Niraula Sapkota is HCC’s Director of Student and Hostel Services and has been working with HCC since 2009. She is the house mother at Khushi Ghar, HCC’s youth home in Kathmandu. She looks after the day to day needs of the home, plans different activities for the children, and most importantly, serves as a counsel and guide to them as they grow and develop into adults. Hira provides much needed, daily stability in the lives of the children, and teaches them the necessary skills required to be a part of a family and part of society. She also plays an enormous emotional role in the lives of the children and youth, and takes on the role of college counselor when students are preparing to go to a university, guiding them to programs fit their dreams and academic goals. Hira grew up in the small town of Inurawa, in the Terai, and now lives in Kathmandu with her husband and two sons. She graduated with a degree in Sociology from Tribhuvan University (TU), and is currently pursuing a postgraduate certificate in psychology at TU, with the plan of starting her master’s program in psychology in 2018.
Sadie is a non-profit consultant who is committed to working toward social and environmental justice, with a focus on women, children, and global development issues. She joined the HCC team in 2015 as the Director of Nepal Program Development based in Kathmandu to directly serve with HCC students and staff. In 2020, her role shifted to focus on fundraising, marketing, research and development, but she continues to provide support for program and staff management, community outreach and advocacy, and organizational capacity building. She currently lives between the USA and Nepal, and enjoys spending her free time outdoors, amidst music and dance, and with kindhearted people. She holds an MA in South Asian Studies from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, where she graduated as an East-West Center scholar in 2015.
Mun Maya Rawal
Executive Director, HCC-Nepal
Mun Maya Rawal is HCC’s program coordinator. She joined the HCC team in 2016 and helps with the development, implementation, and evaluation of HCC programs and projects, namely HCC’s signature program in Kathmandu and HCC’s Earthquake Orphan Scholarship Programs. Mun Maya was born in the remote Jumla district, and has been living in Kathmandu since she was admitted into the orphanage at age 7. She is a former HCC student herself and graduated with her undergraduate degree in Business Studies (BBS) and from the HCC program in early 2016. She is currently pursuing a postgraduate certificate in psychology, with plans to pursue her graduate studies in the near future.
Administrative and Finance Officer, HCC-Nepal
Laxmi Karki is HCC’s Administrative Coordinator. She joined HCC’s team in 2015, and her main roles and responsibilities include helping to manage HCC’s finances, organizing HCC programs and providing administrative assistance to HCC staff and volunteers. She has also been instrumental is HCC’s post-earthquake initiatives, including the Dhading Children’s Initiative, which currently serves nearly 90 orphaned students throughout the devastated Dhading district. Laxmi graduated from the HCC signature program in 2016 with an undergraduate degree in Business Studies (BBS) from Southwestern State College. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Masters in Business Studies (MBS).
Sarah is a Brooklyn based writer and wine professional. She manages the various social media accounts and New York based fundraising and event planning. She graduated Cum Laude from Florida International University in 2003 with a BA in Creative Writing. She joined the team in 2018.
As the eldest daughter of the HCC founders, Sumir has volunteered with HCC for many years, making the first of many trips to Nepal in 2007. In 2016, Sumir began working for HCC grant writing and managing data. Currently, she wears a number of hats – assisting with grant writing, fundraising and working with staff in the U.S. and Nepal on data management. She has a PhD in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Lyon, France and the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.
HCC 2021 Board
Chair: Susan Keenan
Treasurer: Bruce Keenan
Secretary: Joy DiBennedetto
Members: JP James, Lauren Hines, Mark Seal, Chad Merrill & Karen Robinson Cope
Himalayan Children’s Charities Board
Joy DiBenedetto is the founder and CEO of Human Unlimited Media, the world’s first and only all-nation content and information agency. Her career has been dedicated to creating a global community by providing information and news from countries underrepresented in the international news media, through the lens of humanitarian leadership, cooperation, and friendship. Ms. DiBenedetto worked for over 20 years as a producer and manager at CNN Worldwide, during which time she received a George Foster Peabody Award, an Alfred I. DuPont Columbia Broadcast News Award, and a Jack Myers Media Award for Innovation. She is also a Marshall Memorial Fellow and a UN Foundation Global Health Press Fellow who sits on numerous advisory and directorial boards, including as an esteemed member of HCC’s Board of Directors.
Over the past two decades, James has helped start, acquire, restructure, and scale stagnant ventures in their management strategy, business process automation, back office automation, and capital solutions – having built ventures from startup to hundreds of millions in valuation. He has invested and advised fast growth ventures since 2004, and has lectured on Quantitative Computational Finance and Entrepreneurship at Georgia Tech and Georgia State. In partnership with several foundries, James has built blockchain architecture for global multi-currency lending and distributed ledger management for microfinance in developed and emerging markets. James is Board Chairman at Hive Financial Systems, LLC and Libreum International, LLC. He is also a shareholder at Lending Science DM Inc. James studied Computer Science and Management at Georgia Institute of Technology, Entrepreneurship Certificate from Georgia Tech’s College of Management.
Karen Robinson Cope
Karen Robinson Cope is an entrepreneur who has successfully built and sold three companies, been named Woman of the Year in Technology, and is one of only a handful of women who have raised over $100 million USD in the Southeast. She most recently was Executive Vice President for NanoLumens, Inc. an award-winning privately-held corporation heralded by The Wall Street Journal for innovative digital LED displays and by Forbes as one of the most promising companies in America. Previously, Karen was CEO of Prime Point Media and was Chairwoman, President and CEO of Enrev Corporation, which was sold in 2001.
Karen is passionate about working with women entrepreneurs worldwide and has served on the boards of several micro lending non-profits that collectively have helped over 20 million individuals work their way out of poverty. When not working, can be Karen can be found travelling the globe with her husband Rick and daughter Alex, exploring other cultures and supporting the causes she believes in.