• Who We Are

About Us

HEART is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to empowering the people of Africa to survive the HIV/AIDS pandemic. We are a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the United States and a registered TRUST in Kenya.

HEART stands for Health Education Africa Resource Team. Founded by Vickie Winkler in February 2000, HEART is empowering the people of Africa to survive the HIV/AIDS pandemic by providing medical care, education, and income generating activities to create a healthy, sustainable, disease-free life.

We have offices in California, Colorado, and Kenya. Our compound and lodge in Nairobi, Kenya serve as our headquarters for Africa.


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


HEART and our partners are empowering current and future generations of the people of Africa through disease prevention, education and economic strengthening, to promote physical, spiritual and emotional health as a Christian faith-based organization.


  • Commitment to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Chief Executive Officer of HEART!
  • Compassion as we serve with respect and fairness to all regardless of their culture and religion.
  • Integrity in all we do by embracing Christian ethics.
  • Excellence in our work.
  • Unity within HEART and our Partners.

Guiding Scripture

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” Hosea 4:6


Stabilize → Empower → Thrive
(this new Motto can be remembered by the Acronym “SET” refers to “Set to Live” !)

President’s Message

Winkler_Vickie_HDWe started HEART in 2000 for one reason—to empower the people of Africa to survive the HIV/AIDS pandemic that has swept across sub-Saharan Africa like a raging fire. It has left behind 14.8 million orphaned children.

With the help of our donors, sponsors, and supporters, we have focused on orphan prevention verses orphan care by concentrating on caring for HIV positive mothers. We have seen hundreds of women with AIDS pass through the “Lazarus Syndrome’ (coming from  a near death to life experience) and  become strong, confident women. They graduate from our 18-month WEEP program with a job and the knowledge and skills care for their own children.

Our ministry provides hope and empowerment to over 100,000 people in Kenya through our various projects including WEEP (Women Equality Empowerment Project), Kids for School, and Freedom for Girls. Over the past few years, HEART has received international recognition, including the “Portraits of Compassion” award from President George Bush. In 2012, Dr. Jill Biden visited one of our centers in Kenya because of our effective income-generating activities that have made the word “empowerment” a living reality.

HEART is a Christian organization that has experienced an amazing journey of faith as we accomplish the work God has called us to do.  HEART serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. We would love for you to become a HEART partner and help us transform more lives in Africa. Together…we can change the world!

Vickie Winkler, RN, President & Founder

Our Impact

HEART Accomplishments

Through the generous support of our partners and donors, HEART is making a huge, lasting impact in the nation of Kenya.

Orphan Prevention and Self-Sustainability Projects

  • 409 women served by Women Equality Empowerment Project (WEEP) an rphan prevention program providing women living with HIV/AIDS with health care, nutrition, shelter, education, protection, psychosocial support for them and their children, skills and business training to support their own children upon.
  • 12 women have purchased their own property.
  • 201 women are active alumni in the project.
  • 100 women are currently participating in the WEEP project in 8 Counties in Kenya.
  • 73,946 Malaria prevention nets made by our WEEP participants and distributed by HEART and our partners throughout Kenya, reaching over 221,838 children and pregnant mothers.
  • 18 Community Development Organizations have been supported through HEART. 15 Community Based Organizations (CBOs), 1 CBO graduated to a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and 2 Self-Help Groups (SHG) through developing good governance, leadership, financial accountability, management and funding at the grass roots level in the 13 locations that HEART works. 2 CBO’s are led by WEEP Graduates!

Generational Impact of HEART

  • 187,671– Girls in School!  Through the Freedom for Girl project a year’s supply of sanitary towels, under garments and an educational pamphlet are distributed in various public Schools throughout Kenya. They also receive health education training.
  • 190 from the remote Maasai Village of Oldonyonyokie have been educated because of the dorm that was built by the community and furnished by HEART. HEART continues to support the dorm girls with monthly upkeep where they are provided with care and protection to stay in school through 8th grade. Secondary education fees are paid for those that qualify to continue their education!
  • In collaboration with APHIAplus Western Kenya 6,943 Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) supported with Shelter, Nutrition, Health, Education, Protection and Psycho social support based on OVC service standards through Kids for School Project.
  • 2107 OVC support in education they have been supported with school fees; most are children of women in the WEEP program. We have 2 graduates that are now medical doctors serving the nation of Kenya, 1 lawyer and 18 others undergoing various courses about to graduate.
  • Over 3,042 children in 1,014 households reached with solar lamps through the Kids for School project in 4 Counties providing light for the children to study and light for the homes. This enhances education, health and provides the family with savings (no more kerosene) is used to charge cell phones as an income generating activity.


  • The HEART Lodge complements Africa HEART; it has the capacity to house up to 40 guests a day and bed occupancy of over 4,000 guests annually.
  • The Lodge’s profits support Africa HEART programs by providing offices, internet, utilities, security and conference facilities for 12 program staff and 10 Mission staff. We are also currently using our facility for WEEP programming making malaria prevention nets and various WEEP trainings.

All this is done through HEART Teams and our Partners which include:

  • Women Leaders in Action/ SEGAL Family Foundation,
  • Bowman Family / Norris-Rugel Charitable Foundation
  • Imago Dei Fund/Doshi Group of Companies
  • Rotary Clubs US & Kenya/ Lift Up Africa
  • Multiple Public and Private Donors

Financial Accountability

HEART is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax deductible in accordance with IRS regulations.

HEART is committed to financial transparency, and is a member of Guide Star, an accountability organization for non-profits and charities.

Guide Star

2010 Audit Report

2011 Audit Report


HEART is led by an international team of distinguished doctors, nurses, educators, accountants, business leaders, pastors, and highly trained professionals who are devoted to transforming lives in Africa.



Executive Director

My passions are to always respond to God’s call in my life and to be a life-long disciple of Jesus Christ.  I have seen God’s overwhelming faithfulness to me and my family, and desire to consistently give witness to God’s love, mercy, grace, forgiveness and faithfulness.

After serving in leadership positions with several large insurance companies for over 15 years, God opened the door for me to transition into full-time ministry.  I have had the privilege of serving in senior and executive leadership roles with World Vision, Awana Clubs International, and CSB Ministries.  I have had the privilege of leading in both large and small organizations with particular focus in the areas of; strategic planning, communications, fundraising, and operations.  I am excited to contribute to a ministry that serves the under-resourced through holistic ministry and in building authentic relationships and partnerships.  I am thrilled to be part of HEART!

Board of Directors


President & Founder


Vickie is a retired RN. She has traveled all around the world championing the cause of humanitarian aid for Africa. As a widow herself, Vickie can emphasize with the pain of the millions of widows and orphans in Africa, and has turned that compassion into a movement. Vickie first began traveling to Africa in 1979 with her late husband, Kenn. She founded HEART in 2000.



Chairman of the Board

Dr. Russell Tweet has been a Family Practice doctor in Auburn, California since 1979. He has traveled to Swaziland, Kenya, Zambia, India, Thailand, China, and Mexico on medical mission trips. He is an elder in his local church, Sierra Grace Fellowship.


Administrative Secretary

Stephanie’s area of expertise is in Healthcare Quality Management and has been employed by Sutter Health for 28 years. She has served HEART as an Advisory Board member since 2000. She has served as Co-Chair for our annual fundraising event, HEART on Safari for several years. Stephanie joined the Board of Directors in 2012 and serves as Secretary.


Board Member

Lauri Harris is our newest board member stating in 2016. She currently works for Varsity Spirit Corporation as the west coast regional        manager where she has lead training and education in the spirit industry for over 20 years. Her husband is a pastor at Bayside Church where they are both involved in outreach ministries.  Lauri has traveled extensively around the world, 3 times to Kenya – twice leading trips to    HEART.


Spiritual Advisor

Pastor Stan Koon is a much-loved pastor in the Northern California area. He has pastored for over 18 years. He is currently traveling full-time,   preaching and ministering all around the world with his wife, Julie.

Rob Perkins


Business Advisor

Rob Perkins joined HEART’s Board in 2014!  He is the Vice President of Property Management for Hines Interests – an international commercial real estate firm.  Before relocating to the west coast to start his career in university administration, Rob received his Bachelor and Masters degrees from a private and state university located in western state New York.  He switched his career to commercial real estate nearly 25 years ago.  Rob and his entire family have remained closely involved with HEART since their family’s first trip to Kenya in 2012.



Tom Propp is a CPA in Northern California and has practiced public accounting for over 30 years. Tom received his Bachelor of Science and MBA degrees with an emphasis in finance from the University of California, Berkeley. He serves his local community as a member of the board of directors of the Placer Community Foundation.


Medical Consultant

Dr. Benjamin Williams has been a valued and committed member of the HEART Board since HEART was founded in 2000. Having personally served in Kenya and traveled to the various projects, he has gained insight into the administration and needs of HEART. Ben has a busy orthopedic surgery practice in Auburn, California.