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Feature Story
reed magazine logoAutumn 2007
Reedie Teamwork Across Time Zones

When it comes to long-shot idealistic endeavors, it doesn’t always take a village. Sometimes it just takes a couple of really determined Reedies.

Kinari Webb ’95 dreamed of opening a medical clinic in a remote corner of Indonesia for years. She had the medical training, the connections in Asia, and the passion to generate support for her cause. All she needed was longtime friend Julia Riseman ’89, a nonprofit specialist with 12 years of experience developing programs, to mastermind the organizational and business aspects of her plan. Riseman had completed her MBA at Boston’s Simmons School of Management in 2002, and was itching to apply what she’d learned.

From her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Riseman pulled together a board of directors and drew up a business plan for Health In Harmony, the stateside nonprofit created to coordinate volunteers, medical supplies, and funds in support of Webb’s work in Indonesia. In the beginning, Riseman says, Health In Harmony was literally based at her desk. She answered all the emails and phone calls; the organization’s phone number and her own were one and the same.

Riseman and Webb first met in 1989, when Riseman was a senior psychology major working in the Reed admission office. She interviewed Webb as a prospective student and remembers her from the very beginning as “motivated.” After graduation, Riseman stayed on at Reed and founded Community Service Project, the forerunner of SEEDS (Students for Education, Empowerment, and Direct Service), which is still the primary campus organization coordinating student social service efforts. “I’m really proud that SEEDS has stuck,” Riseman says.

As a new student, meanwhile, Webb became an active volunteer. She was in Borneo for her junior year when Riseman gave birth to her second daughter—and named her Kinari. Riseman says she loved the sound of the name; plus, she thought Webb would be a good role model. “She radiates a sense of well-being and joy,” Riseman says. “Those are things I wanted for my daughter.”

Since beginning work on Health In Harmony in July 2005, Riseman and her team have made steady progress: the organization incorporated as a nonprofit in November of that year, and raised enough money to open the clinic in Indonesia this past summer. Volunteering her time while holding down two part-time jobs, Riseman helped craft the agency’s business plan and wrote grants. She rounded up a team of volunteers from around the world, among them board member Preetha Rajaram ’94, a public health epidemiologist in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Rajaram and Webb met their first week at Reed, were lab partners, and have been close friends ever since.

Before leaving the country in September to travel with her family for a year in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, Riseman helped shape the current strategic plan, which includes a five-year goal of raising $2 million to build a teaching hospital. Riseman plans to visit Webb in Sukadana to see her handiwork first-hand next year.

reed magazine logoAutumn 2007