It all started in early 2006, when Vinesh Nambiar (Co-founder) was playing with his three year old son, Shivam. As they were playing with Shivam’s toy barnyard and the barnyard figures, Vinesh was struck with an idea to use the figures to enact stories that taught Shivam human values. In this way, Vinesh felt they could have fun playing, and Shivam would learn valuable lessons at the same time.
After playing “barnyard” a few times, it became difficult for Vinesh to think up new stories while maintaining the natural rhythm of playing. As a result, Vinesh began to write down the stories in advance of each barnyard session. Upon reading a few of the stories, Vinesh’s wife, Dorothy (Co-founder), commented on how good they were. This encouragement inspired Vinesh, and gave him the courage to continue writing and sharing what manifested from a place deep within his heart. And so began this Love story.
By March 2006, Vinesh and Dorothy thought that it would be wonderful to turn these stories into children’s books. For years, people had been urging Vinesh to write a book, but children’s books were not something that he, nor anyone else, had ever imagined. However, Vinesh recalled a dream that his brother-in-law, Richie Shankaran, had years earlier. It was a multifaceted dream in which he was directed by a Divine Personality to write children’s books. Richie could not understand the dream at the time because the events surrounding it were actually occurring in the lives of Vinesh and Dorothy. Years later, the dream made total sense to Vinesh.
As if it were a sign for himself, Vinesh became committed to the idea of turning the stories into children’s books, and resolved to complete 108 stories on 108 distinct human values. The first challenge in doing this was finding an artist to draw the pictures for the stories. After some thought, Vinesh became determined to ask his brother-in-law, Brannon Collins, if he would be willing to do the artwork. Vinesh knew that Brannon was a gifted artist, and he was certain that he was the right person for the job. After hearing about the idea, Brannon not only agreed to do the artwork, but miraculously, he had no expectation of monetary compensation or reward.
At about the same time, Vinesh had a discussion with his wife’s uncle, Mahen Nair, that gave him an idea to start a nonprofit corporation to serve as a vehicle to deliver the children’s books. The only challenge was that neither Vinesh nor Dorothy had any idea as to how to do this. Thus, Vinesh began researching the steps involved, and in doing so, he discovered that the nonprofit could do much more than he expected. He realized that the nonprofit could actually be used as a foundation from which all kinds of innovative products, projects, and programs could be created, nurtured, and delivered to contribute to human values education for children everywhere.
May 19, 2006
By May 19, 2006, The Human Values 4 Kids Foundation was officially incorporated in the State of California for charitable, educational, and literary purposes. The next major challenge was applying for tax exempt, public charity status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This was a significant undertaking, but Vinesh and Dorothy navigated the complex laws governing the process, and sent in an application package to the IRS on August 7, 2006. In the meantime, Brannon began to produce artwork that translated Vinesh’s words into brilliant pictures. The artwork was far beyond anyone’s expectations. Then another challenge emerged. They had to figure out how to layout the text and the art in a book format. Again, neither Vinesh nor Dorothy had any idea as to how to do this.
Vinesh again began researching this process. After much research, he determined that a professional graphics design software suite needed to be purchased. However, the cost was prohibitive. Vinesh was at a loss as to what to do. Then, miraculously, he received an e-mail message from his workplace, which indicated that the exact software suite that they needed was selling at a drastically reduced, educational discount. With help from Vinesh’s parents, Vidya and Vijay Nambiar, they made the purchase. After a couple weeks, Vinesh realized that it would take many months for him to just figure out how to use all of the programs effectively. He was again at a loss because there wasn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. Then, once again, a miracle occurred. Vinesh’s cousin, Jesse Nambiar, was visiting the United States from Amsterdam, Netherlands. Unbeknownst to him, Jesse had just graduated in graphics design and had started working in the graphics design field. Within weeks, Jesse and another cousin, Justin Nambiar, paid a visit to Vinesh and Dorothy upon their request. And within a few hours, Jesse had laid out the entire first book, so it could be used as a template for all of the future books.
Work continued on the books throughout the rest of 2006, while Vinesh and Dorothy awaited a response from the IRS. A response was finally received on February 26, 2007. However, it wasn’t what they had hoped for. There were a number of clarification questions and issues that the IRS stated had to be resolved before they would give The Human Values 4 Kids Foundation nonprofit, tax-exempt status. At this point, Vinesh and Dorothy almost gave up, but something pressed them to keep moving forward. Within weeks, they expanded the Board of Directors from two to nine members per the request of the IRS. They enlisted the help of Brannon Collins, Veena Nambiar, Suman Reddy, Mukesh Reddy, Jim Scott, Makoto Ishii, and Greg Kim-Ju. Not only did these individuals agree to sit on the Board, they were excited and honored by the prospect. This gave Vinesh and Dorothy the necessary encouragement needed to put together a response package to the IRS.
March 28, 2007
By March 28, 2007, confirmation was received that The Human Values 4 Kids Foundation was an approved tax exempt, public charity with the IRS. The state of California tax exemption soon followed.
May 24, 2007
On Thursday, May 24, 2007, Vinesh completed the drafts for all 108 stories for the children’s books.
July 28, 2007
On Saturday, July 28, 2007, The Human Values 4 Kids Foundation held its First Annual Board Meeting with all nine Board members. This meeting served as a new beginning for The Human Values 4 Kids Foundation on a journey filled with both challenges and miracles. The birth of The Human Values 4 Kids Foundation is a telling tale, which shows that life is filled with challenges no matter how worthy the cause or how pure the intention. However, it also proves that there is no challenge in life that cannot be met and overcome with a dream to hold onto and the miracle of Love.