Vitamin Angels founder Howard Schiffer is out to make sure children around the world get the nutrients they need.
Author Jayme Otto Photography Brigitte Sire
NAME • HOWARD SCHIFFER, 60
MISSION • Reduce child mortality worldwide by supplying infants and children under five with vital nutrients, especially vitamin A. Entrepreneur Howard Schiffer was running a natural products business in 1994 when an earthquake hit Southern California. After receiving a call from a relief agency seeking vitamins for displaced families, Schiffer coordinated a truckload. Vitamin Angels was born three weeks later. Since then, “it’s been like a rocket ship,” says Schiffer. Last year, Vitamin Angels reached more than 11 million children in 40 countries. This year, Schiffer aims to help 20 million worldwide.
MOTIVATION • Natural health has always been a priority for Schiffer. Amazed at how quickly Vitamin Angels’ reach expanded, he stepped away from his commercial business in 2005 to devote himself to his new calling. “It costs about twenty-five cents to provide a child with two high doses of immune-boosting vitamin A per year,” he says. “This can increase that child’s survival rate by twenty-three percent. There’s no better investment you can make.”
IN HIS SPARE TIME • He’s been rebuilding his home. “It burned to the ground in a wildfire after I returned from a visit to a refugee camp in Kenya, where people had been living under tarps for over a year due to war. Relatively speaking, my family and I were okay.”
For more information, go to www.vitaminangels.org.