About Virtue Foundation

The Virtue Foundation is a non-profit organization with Special Consultative Status to the United Nations. The Virtue Foundation mission is to increase awareness, inspire action and render assistance through healthcare, education and empowerment initiatives. Comprised primarily of volunteers, Virtue Foundation is guided by the principle that true global change must begin within each of us – one person at a time, one act at a time.


Virtue Foundation seeks to provide both short-term impactful and long-term sustainable development solutions to communities across the globe. Our goals are to remedy pressing, immediate community concerns while establishing lasting partnerships to create and implement initiatives for development and advancement in the areas of health, education and empowerment.

Guiding Principles

Virtue’s innovative model of sustainable development includes five guiding principles:

  1. Invest in local women leaders as agents of change to sponsor development projects.
  2. Create collaborative models among local and international organizations to maximize efficiency and impact.
  3. Collaborate with local leaders, NGOs, and other global partners to map specific evidence-based interventions through interdisciplinary research and analysis.
  4. Build capacity and train local professionals in and through evidence-based, high-impact service delivery.
  5. Facilitate public-private partnerships to create and implement appropriate and sustainable solutions for development.


Virtue Foundation collaborates with individuals, organizations, agencies, and institutions to implement high-impact, evidence-based initiatives across the globe. Some core past and present partners include: the United Nations, UNESCO, UNICEF, Refugees International, Dun & Bradstreet, Apple, Microsoft, Toyota, Avon, Standard & Poor’s, the Rockefeller Foundation, iCivics, Cornell University, Asia Society, FilmAid International, Nickelodeon, ABC, NBC, CNN, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, Columbia University, Harvard University, The Rockefeller University, MIT, and UC Berkeley.

Executive Committee


George C. Biddle

Senior Vice President of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a leading non-sectarian, voluntary organization providing relief, protection, rehabilitation, and resettlement services for refugees and victims of oppression or violent conflict, George C. Biddle has lectured at numerous conferences and symposia over the past 20 years, with his commentary being carried on radio, television, and in the press. From 1997 through 1999, Mr. Biddle was Vice President of the International Crisis Group (ICG), a private, multinational organization committed to strengthening the capacity of the international community to understand and respond to man-made crises. Previously, Mr. Biddle was President of the Washington-based Institute for Central American Studies (ICAS), a nonprofit organization he founded in 1989 to assist post-Cold War Central America in its transition from violent conflict to peace and democ-racy. Before founding ICAS, Mr. Biddle served as Assistant to the President at the Institute for East-West Security Studies in New York from 1984 to 1986. He also serves on the EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE of the Coalition for International Justice and The Friends of the Bronx Charter School, the Advisory Board of Harvard University’s Project on Justice in Times of Transition, and the Advisory Council of The Harbor in New York City, an educational institution helping children in East Harlem. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Ebby Elahi

Dr. Ebby Elahi is Director of Global Health and International Affairs at Virtue Foundation, the Director of Fifth Avenue Eye Associates and FACES™, Associate Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology and Global Health at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and an attending at the Beth Israel Medical Center. A board certified surgeon, Dr. Elahi is a fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and the American College of Surgeons. He has also served as co-director of Mount Sinai’s Ophthalmic, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship program.

For the past twenty years, Dr. Elahi has been actively involved in issues surrounding global health. He has led several global health projects and multiple medical missions to various regions around the world, including Mongolia, Liberia, Burundi, Cambodia, Tonga, and El Salvador. Dr. Elahi also serves on the steering committee of Cornell University’s Avon Global Center for Women and Justice.


Joan LaRovere

Currently serving as Associate Director of the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at The Royal Brompton Hospital in London, Dr. La Rovere is also an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Medicine and a Member of the Admissions Committee at Imperial College in London, one of the top five universities in the United Kingdom. Having graduated from Harvard and Columbia Universities and completing her postgraduate medical training at Children's Hospital in Boston and Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, she is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric intensive care in both the United States and the United Kingdom. She is a member of the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the European Society of Paediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care. A keen advocate of medical education, Dr. LaRovere is Director of IMET (International Medical Education Trust) 2000, a charity aimed at promoting links and cooperation between the western and developing world, including the development of virtual medical education. Recipient of the Schleisman Award from Harvard University/Boston Children's Hospital in 1996, Dr. LaRovere is a frequent lecturer on ethical issues and is currently developing an undergraduate course at Imperial College focusing on ethics as a scientific discipline to commence in October 2003.


Richard W. Murphy

Having followed Near Eastern developments for over 40 years, 34 of which were spent as a career Foreign Service Officer, Mr. Murphy holds A.B. degrees from Harvard and Cambridge University. After service in the U.S. Army he joined the State Department's Foreign Service and from 1955-68 served in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe); Lebanon; Syria; Saudi Arabia; and Jordan. In 1971 President Nixon nominated him as Ambassador to Mauritania and in 1974 he became Ambassador to Syria. He then served as Ambassador to the Philippines and Saudi Arabia. From 1983-1989 he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs. Mr. Murphy has received the President's Distinguished Service Award three times and the State Department's Superior Honor Award twice. In 1985 he was named Career Ambassador, a title held by only five serving officers at any given time. Retiring from government service in 1989, Mr. Murphy joined the Council on Foreign Relations in New York as the Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for the Middle East and has continued to visit that region several times a year. He is a frequent commentator for NPR, CNN, and the BBC, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Financial Times, among others. He is a trustee of the American University of Beirut, on the Board of the Near East Foundation, and Chairman of the Middle East Institute in Washington.


Joseph Salim

Dr. Salim is Founder and Executive Director of Virtue Foundation working tirelessly to raise awareness of prevalent humanitarian issues and to motivate people of all ages and backgrounds to become actively involved in charitable activities and programs in their local communities.  He practices cosmetic and general dentistry as President of Sutton Place Dental Associates.  He completed a postgraduate program in biogenetics and cancer research at the University of Nice in Southern France, received a Doctorate in Dental Medicine from Temple University, and completed post-doctorate training at the Lutheran Medical Center in New York.

Dr. Salim sits on the board of several multinational companies and charitable organizations, including The Nour Foundation and the French Institute Alliance Francaise, and also serves on various committees of several other nonprofit organizations, including the Asia Society and Witness.  He also lectures on ethical issues in dentistry and healthcare.  He has been instrumental in inspiring both children and high school students to develop their civic leadership skills and to participate in various volunteer and externship programs at the United Nations, including the rehabilitation of child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Advisory Committee


Kim Azzarelli

is a business, philanthropic and legal advisor with significant experience in launching and leading corporate and philanthropic initiatives relating to women and girls. Ms. Azzarelli is a Founding Partner of Seneca Point Global. Most recently Ms. Azzarelli has served as Senior Vice President of Tina Brown Live Media and the Newsweek Daily Beast Company where she led strategy, partnerships, and philanthropy for Women in the World. Prior to her work at Women in the World, Ms. Azzarelli held senior legal and philanthropic roles at organizations including Goldman Sachs, where she led Goldman Sachs Gives, the billion dollar donor advised fund, advising individuals and organizations on high-impact philanthropy. Ms. Azzarelli has also helped launch significant brand development and philanthropic programs for Avon Products Inc., the global direct selling company, where she served as Vice President, Legal and Public Affairs and Corporate Secretary. Prior to joining Avon, Ms. Azzarelli worked for the law firm of Latham and Watkins where she practiced corporate and securities law, advising global companies on corporate finance, venture capital and general company representation matters.

Ms. Azzarelli began her career at JP Morgan as a financial analyst in the private equity group and is a graduate of Cornell Law School, Cornell University and Friends Seminary in NYC where she was born and raised. She is the co-founder and Chair of the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School and serves on the Board of the Avon Foundation for Women. She also serves on the Advisory Board of Cornell Law School, the Trustee's Council of Cornell University and is a member of the President's Council for Cornell Women. Ms. Azzarelli serves as an adjunct professor at Cornell Law School and is an author on matters relating to women and girls, most recently co-authoring "Sustainable Development, Rule of Law and the Impact of Women Judges" with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and "At Davos Investing in Women Emerges as a Business Strategy" with Ambassador Verveer.


Erica Steinberger

Erica H. Steinberger is a Steering Committee member of the Avon Global Center. Prior to her retirement on January 1, 2010, she was a partner in Latham & Watkins, LLP, specializing in the area of mergers & acquisitions, in which she represented corporations, private equity firms and investment banks in connection with hostile tender offers, tender offer defense, proxy fights and negotiated mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, as well as in public and private offerings of debt and equity securities and exchange offers. She also advised public and private clients and their boards of directors on corporate, securities and governance issues. While at Latham, Ms. Steinberger was active in its pro bono program and a founder of its women's initiative, Women Enriching Business (WEB). Prior to joining Latham in 1987, she was a partner in Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and, from 1983 to 1987, a consultant in the Hong Kong office of Coudert Brothers, handling securities and corporate law matters, including U.S. acquisitions and investments, for their Asia Group practice (Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo). Ms. Steinberger is a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (Member and Former Chairman, Special Committee on Mergers, Acquisitions and Corporate Control Contests), the New York State Bar Association and the American Bar Association. She also serves on the Securities Law advisory panel for ALI-ABA. She is the co-author of Takeovers and Freezeouts (Law Journal Seminars-Press), in addition to numerous articles and outlines.


Michael Corriero

Judge Corriero is the Executive Director and Founder of the New York Center for Juvenile Justice. He served as the Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City from July 2008 to July 2010. The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters is to provide mentors to all children who need caring adult role models. He previously served as a Judge in the New York State courts for 28 years. He was appointed to the New York State Court of Claims in June 1990. From September of 1992 to February of 2008, Judge Corriero presided over Manhattan’s Youth Part, a court set aside within the adult court system to deal exclusively with the cases of 13, 14, and 15-year-olds who are charged with the most serious and violent crimes.

Honorary Committee


Kenneth H. Bacon

The late Kenneth H. Bacon

Kenneth H. Bacon was the president of Refugees International, an advocacy organization in Washington, DC. Refugees International helped save lives by generating support and protection for refugees and displaced people around the world. From 1994-2001, he was Assistant Secretary, Public Affairs, at the U.S. Department of Defense, where he advised the Secretary of Defense and other top officials on public affairs strategy, served as Pentagon spokesman and managed a large internal communications operation for the U.S. military. From 1969-1994, he was a reporter, editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal based in Washington, DC. There he concentrated on defense, banking, economics and international finance. He received his BA from Amherst College and an MBA and MA in Journalism from Columbia University. Bacon was the co-chairman of the Partnership for Effective Peace Operations, and he served on the boards of The American University in Cairo, Population Action International and InterAction. He was an emeritus trustee of Amherst College and the Folger Shakespeare Library. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He published articles and op-ed pieces on humanitarian issues in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Newsday, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and World Policy Journal.


John A. Bradley

A management consultant with a diverse international practice, Mr. Bradley has counseled and advised a broad spectrum of public and private organizations, including industrial and service corporations, national governments and agencies, operating and private foundations and trusts, and public and private joint ventures. Having completed his graduate studies at Columbia (TS) and Yale, Mr. Bradley was the recipient of a Lilly Endowment and Carnegie Grant from the Commission on Higher Education and completed an eighteen-month lecture trip to 106 graduate schools of philosophy and theology throughout the country. While a principal in Wallace Clark & Company, one of America's oldest, established firms, he and a group of senior professionals organized Atwater Bradley & Partners (Management Consultants) to provide consulting services worldwide to business, philanthropic institutions, and governments. From 1960 through 1985, Mr. Bradley guided the Atwater Bradley Consulting Group through more than 1500 assignments around the world and was Managing Partner and Principal in the firm's major engagements. Since 1985, he has continued to consult for clients with a primary focus on strategic planning. In 1991, Mr. Bradley was appointed to an international arbitration tribunal at The Hague, deciding multinational disputes for final adjudication.


Jim Fowler

One of the world's best-known naturalists and host of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, Jim Fowler has presented information about wildlife and the wilderness to the American public for more than 30 years. As Executive Director of Mutual of Omaha's Wildlife Heritage Center, he is a frequent guest and speaker at fundraising events throughout the country, supporting zoos, nature science centers, conservation organizations, and state and federal wildlife agencies. Graduating with degrees in zoology and geology, Mr. Fowler has worked with numerous wildlife and conservation projects throughout the world. He is President of the Fowler Center for Wildlife Education in New York, and sits on the boards of the Explorers' Club, Friends of Conservation, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, and Global Communications for Conservation (GCC). He recently received the prestigious Explorers' Club Medal, the club's highest honor, as well as the 1995 Safari Planet Earth award for his outstanding achievements in caring for our planet. The National Council of State Garden Clubs, Inc. also awarded Mr. Fowler with its highest achievement award, the Gold Seal, in recognition of his contributions to environmental causes. With GCC's support, he recently founded O.W.L., a national organization for professional wildlife lecturers that sets standards for this important educational method. Mr. Fowler's first book, "Jim Fowler's Wildest Places on Earth," was published by Time-Life and Mutual of Omaha's Wildlife Heritage Center in the fall of 1993.


Sara James

Sara James is an award-winning Correspondent for Dateline NBC, where her work has earned her an Emmy, several Gracies and a Headliner award among others. Since joining the broadcast in December of 1994, she has covered a wide range of stories in the U.S. and overseas. James won a 2004 Headliner award for her report, "Meet Jane Doe" on the final September 11th victim to be released from the hospital. James also received a 2004 Gracie Award from the American Women in Radio and Television for her report "Life in the Fast Lane" about the devastating impact of methamphetamine addiction on women.

Domestically James has covered a host of watershed events, including the Oklahoma City bombing and the first World Trade Center bombing trial. Her story on the crippling effects of obsessive-compulsive disorder won top honors from the American Psychiatric Association. Internationally her reporting duties have taken her to the former Yugoslavia to report on the Bosnian War Crimes Tribunal, throughout Asia to report on medical experiments conducted on prisoners of war by the Japanese during World War II, to London to cover the death of Princess Diana and to Sudan for an investigation of present-day slavery. The Sudanese slavery story earned James the prestigious 1997 National Press Club award for international reporting. Furthermore, James is also the recipient of the New York Festival Award and an award from American Women in Radio and Television for her story on the first American woman to be considered for the space program.

Prior to her present post, Sara James served as national correspondent for NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw from November of 1994. She reported on the U.S. mission to Somalia; her coverage of the starvation and fighting took her deep into the countryside before the arrival of the U.S. Marines. James also traveled to Haiti, in the tumultuous days of the Cedras regime, where she reported on the killing squads that terrorized the local populace. James joined NBC News as a general correspondent based in New York in November 1992. Before that, she served as the first anchor of NBC Nightside, the overnight affiliate service produced by the NBC News Channel in Charlotte, N.C. since November 1991.

James has also co-written the book, The Best of Friends: Two Women, Two Continents and One Enduring Friendship, set to be released in July 2007. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia. James was born in Durham, N.C. and raised in Richmond, Virgina. She is married to Andrew Butcher and they have two daughters.



Carlo Sartori

Secretary General of the Prix Italia, the longest running competition for radio-television programs founded and organized by RAI (Radiotelevisione Italiana), Carlo Sartori is a professor of Mass Communication, a journalist, and a writer. Recently appointed as Chief of Radio and Television at the United Nations, Prof. Sartori has previously served as Director of Thematic Channels and New Media Department (RAISAT) from 1996 to 1998; Director of External and International Relations of RAI from 1994 to 1996; Publishing Director of Nuovo Eri from 1992 to 1994; Director of External and International Relations of the Mondadori Group from 1983 to 1989; Special Correspondent to daily newspaper "La Stampa" from 1975 to 1978; and President of the National Association of Radio and TV Critics (Nuova AICRET) from 1992 to 1997. A frequent lecturer on Mass Communication Theory and Techniques at the School of Communication Sciences at the University of Rome, Prof. Sartori was also a visiting professor at Barnard College from 1980 to 1981. He is the author of numerous books, many of which have been translated into several different languages.