The Greater Himalayas Foundation is a non profit organization which was created to honor the legacy of Mingma Norbu Sherpa, by continuing conservation and humanitarian efforts in the Himalayas. The Foundation was established in Washington DC in 2007.
The activities of the Greater Himalayas Foundation include providing scholarships to inspire younger generations, encouraging community leadership, preserving the culture and tradition of Himalayan communities, and supporting humanitarian efforts in remote Himalayan communities.
The Greater Himalayas Foundation Board of Directors
Chair and Founder
Phurba Sherpa is the wife of the late Mingma Norbu Sherpa. Phurba was born in Solu Khumbu, Nepal, but has lived internationally between Nepal, Bhutan, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. With involvement through Mingma’s work in conservation and interactions with international and local leaders, Phurba grew inspired in development and non profit work. Phurba currently serves on the board of directors of the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation of Canada. Phurba travels regularly to project sites in Nepal to personally oversee the completion and success of the Greater Himalayas Foundation projects. She strongly believes that even small charity work can make big impacts, and envisions the Foundation to create such influences.
Dawa Sherpa is the daughter of Mingma Norbu Sherpa. Dawa grew up inspired in conservation and development work by traveling with her father to his many project sites. She witnessed the rhino translocation at Chitwan National Park, saw her first tiger in Bhutan’s Manas National Park, and trekked with a National Geographic team through Everest National Park. Dawa has gained experience working in international development with various organizations such as the United Nations Development Program, Bhutan Health Trust Fund, Students Partnership Worldwide, and the Morang Innovative Neonatal Interventions project in Nepal. She is currently Program Director of the Bhutan Foundation, a non profit based in Washington DC. Dawa received her B.A. from Virginia Tech and her M.H.S in Global and Community Health from George Mason University.
Brian Menkes is the secretary and general counsel to the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, Brian was a member of the international law firm of WilmerHale, where he represented and assisted in organizing, obtaining exemption for, and counseling leading US and foreign non-profit organizations. Brian has received numerous accolades for the provisioning of pro bono services to non-profit organizations. He is the former chair and vice-chair of the DC Bar Association Taxation Section, Exempt Organizations Committee, and is an author and frequent speaker on issues affecting non-profit organizations. He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Bhutan Foundation and an officer of Youth Entrepreneurs Kansas. He earned his masters in law, JD, and bachelor’s degree from New York University School of Law, Western New England College School of Law, and Central Connecticut State University. Brian oversees and advises on the Greater Himalayas Foundation’s legal and tax matters.
Secretary and Webmaster
Tenzing Sherpa is the son of Mingma Norbu Sherpa. Tenzing currently works in the cybersecurity sector for Northrop Grumman. Tenzing graduated with a BS in Business Information Systems from Virginia Commonwealth University. He has interned for international nonprofit organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund US and the Nature Conservancy. He has also worked for the Conservancy for Tibetan Art and Culture. During the summer of 2010 Tenzing volunteered to teach English and computers to middle school students at the Khumjung School in Nepal where the Greater Himalayas Foundation has ongoing projects. With Tenzing’s background in computers, he is also the webmaster behind www.theghf.org
Dr. Bruce Bunting
Dr. Bruce Bunting was formerly managing director and vice president of World Wildlife Fund US, where together with Mingma, they established the WWF Nepal and Bhutan offices, and developed conservation programs in Asia Pacific. Bruce has served as an advisor and on the boards of several organizations including the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation , the Marine Aquarium Council, and WWF Philippines. Bruce also served as a consultant for TRAFFIC USA, as president of Animal Health Services, Inc., and as consulting veterinarian for the Greenpeace Foundation in Canada. Bruce is currently President of the Bhutan Foundation. He received a B.S. in zoology and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Michigan State University.
Lisa Choegyal is based in Kathmandu with a wide range of affiliations. Since 2010, Lisa is New Zealand Honorary Consul to Nepal. With over 30 years experience in the tourism sector, most of her international consultancy work is undertaken with TRC Tourism of Wellington, New Zealand. A specialist in planning, developing, operating and marketing pro-poor sustainable tourism, Lisa Choegyal has undertaken consultancy roles throughout the Asia Pacific region. Her clients include governments, tourism boards, development agencies, NGOs, local communities and industry operators. Lisa also has worked for over 20 years with Tiger Tops and Tiger Mountain Nepal and remains associated as a director of Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge. Lisa works on related areas of environmental preservation, conservation awareness, and community, government and media liaison. She serves on a number of boards including GlacierWorks Inc, Chance for Change, International Trust for Nature Conservation, Rotary Club of Kathmandu Mid-Town and Nepal Heritage Society. She is a writer, photographer, editor of travel and guidebook publications, and widely experienced in film handling. Lisa plays a lead role in facilitating the Mingma Norbu Sherpa Memorial Scholarships at Lincoln University, New Zealand. She is a key member of the Mingma Norbu Sherpa memorial scholarship committee based in Nepal, which advertises and selects students for the MNS scholarship. Lisa coordinates, advises, and keeps in close communication with the MNS scholarship recipients.
Kathryn Fuller is on the board of trustees of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Kathryn currently serves as chair of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, on the board of directors of Alcoa Inc, World Wildlife Fund, and the Summit Foundation. Previously she was Chair of the Ford Foundation. Prior to that, she was President and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund US for over 15 years, where she developed a close relationship working with Mingma in the Eastern Himalayas. Kathryn’s emphasis was on innovative conservation methods such as debt-for-nature swaps, conservation trusts, inclusion of women in grass roots projects, and creative partnerships to conduct conservation on large, eco-regional scales. Kathryn received her B.A. from Brown University, and J.D. degree from the University of Texas Law School.
Anne B. Keiser
Anne Keiser is a freelance photographer based in Washington, D.C. From 1972 to 1986 Keiser worked as a photo editor and photographer for the television division at the National Geographic Society. Her assignments took her all over the world. One of Keiser’s final assignments was photographing Sir Edmund Hillary in the eastern Himalaya for the documentary Return to Everest. The film focused on the humanitarian work Hillary did with the Sherpa people, whom he befriended during his historic ascent of Everest. Motivated by Hillary’s work, Anne returned to the Himalaya with Hillary numerous times following her initial trip. She compiled the images she shot from these trips in a book, Sir Edmund Hillary & The People of Everest. Anne has also produced two children’s books on Hillary. As a freelance photographer, she has focused on photographing public health and conservation issues in developing countries. Anne continues to contribute images to the Image Collection and serves as the official photographer for several nonprofit organizations. In addition to the Greater Himalayas Foundation, she serves on the National Council of The World Wildlife Fund US, is a member of the Smithsonian Women’s Committee and serves on the boards of The Choral Arts Society of Washington, Chorus America, The Middle East Institute which her father founded, and the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation. Anne graduated from the Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, MD and Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT.
Jim Ottaway Jr.
James Ottaway Jr. was Chairman and CEO of Ottaway Newspapers, and Senior Vice President of Dow Jones and Company until his retirement in 2003. Jim was also Chairman of the World Press Committee, an umbrella group of media organizations fighting against restrictions on the freedom of press around the world. He now serves as a trustee of Bard College, the Storm King Art Center, and Words Without Borders. Jim graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy and Yale University.