In the 1950s, Eva Yazhari’s grandfather moved his family, with six kids in tow, from the States to Tanzania to open a health clinic. The doctor and his wife later increased their brood to nine, including a baby girl adopted from a nearby village.
“I was always awestruck by them,” Eva says. “Now, more than ever, I’m realizing that those stories and the service orientation of my family made me go into what I’m doing.”
As co-founder and CEO of Dallas-based Beyond Capital Fund, Eva and her husband, Hooman Yazhari, invest in seed-stage for-profit companies with a social mission throughout India and East Africa. Recently funded companies include ERC Eye Care, which helps provide eyewear and cataract surgeries to rural villages in India, and Kasha, which simplifies the way Rwandan women receive access to essential health products — a constant struggle, since the topic remains taboo.
Eva is as elegant and eloquent as she is whip-smart. She studied mathematics at Barnard Collage in New York City, where her artist parents relocated from the Midwest in the ’70s.
“They dragged me around to different galleries throughout my childhood,” she says. “It made me a highly visual person.”
A career in finance followed (investment banking, private equity) before she fell in love. At the time, Hooman lived in Zurich, so the couple settled in Switzerland. After the birth of their son, a move to Dallas from Los Angeles two years ago proved ideal for the family — and the family business.
“There’s a strong culture of charitable giving here,” Eva says. “My emphasis is getting to know others who are doing it and finding ways to collaborate.”
An Arty Home
Eva Yazhari’s Dallas sanctuary is her contemporary-art-filled home — an avid collector, she makes stops at all the top global art fairs — designed by late architect Bill Booziotis. But she’s typically traversing continents for work and, occasionally, pleasure.
On a trip to Africa earlier this spring, she met with several companies financed by Beyond Capital, including East Africa Fruits Farm. Through the organization’s relationships with hotels, restaurants, and supermarkets, Tanzanian smallholder farmers are able to sell produce to a market that commonly imports fruits and veggies. Another company, Farmers Pride, gives farmers in eastern Kenya tools such as insurance and soil testing to help them build sustainable businesses.
The Yazharis migrate between London and New York, where they have family. Then there are the occasional jaunts to Zurich and L.A. They recently checked into posh Blackberry Farm hotel in the Tennessean countryside, and escaped to luxe resort Amangiri, tucked away in remote Utah.
“Dallas is a jumping-off point to so many cities,” Eva says. “Moving here has given me the opportunity to travel to places I may have never traveled to.”
In the nine years since Beyond Capital Fund launched, every philanthropic venture Eva pursued has been special, but one visit to Rajasthan a few years ago stuck with her — especially as a new parent. By investing in Karma Healthcare, Beyond Capital provided basic services that thousands of villagers, including a young girl, Sugna Meena, desperately needed.
“To see the impact it had on her family was touching,” Eva says. “People are no different in India than they are here. They invited us into their house; it was very sweet. Experiences like that keep me motivated to continue our work.”
Occupation: Co-founder and CEO, Beyond Capital Fund
Tools of the Trade: Grit. Globetrotting. Social Awareness.