Chandi Heffner

founder and President of CDHIF USA in Waimea, Hawaii

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A dedicated philanthropist, Chandi Heffner is the founder and President of CDHIF USA and CDHIFI India. Chandi Heffner's U.S. organization is a charitable foundation that financially supports the work of CDHIFI, which provides free medical treatment and other assistance to families in poor, rural communities in India, along with veterinary care for their farm animals and pets. The nonprofit now assists more than 80,000 patients and 50,000 animal patients annually.

With a love for all living things, Ms. Heffner maintains a U.S. ranch that takes in rescued horses, birds, donkeys, pigs, and many other animals. She has also been involved in equestrian sports and was the owner of the horse Authentic, whose rider took home the Gold Medal in show jumping for Team USA at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Although polo and horse jumping are her favorite equestrian activities, Chandi Heffner currently spends the majority of her time overseeing CDHIF USA and CDHIFI.

Chandi Heffner established her organization on a small scale by undertaking humanitarian work in the field. As the organization grew, she set up a program exclusively focused on serving people in rural communities where money, jobs, health care, and education are scarce. Officers and trustees notably do not receive pay or reimbursement for their work with the foundations.

In addition to providing medical and veterinary treatments at no cost, Ms. Heffner's organization supports underserved communities in other ways. CDHIFI distributes cooked and uncooked food, temporary shelter, blankets, clothes, and equipment such as wheel chairs. It maintains a program to support artisans who practice crafts that are slowly disappearing. In addition, the nonprofit leads major restoration projects, such as its clean-up of the Jamuna River, which employed several hundred workers for months.