Frustrated by the lack of emphasis on and funding for global surgery, Mrs. Carmella Kletjian, Dr. Mack Cheney, and John D. Freeman founded the Kletjian Foundation with a mission to promote global health equity through collaborative networks and supporting entrepreneurial leaders.
It all started on a bench...
While sitting on a bench, waiting to leave for a hospital gala, Carmella Kletjian asked Dr. Mack Cheney: "What is the best way to help hospitals?"
Feeling that she could potentially make a larger impact than by simply donating money, Carmella and Mack thought they could start a foundation, one that emphasizes global surgery. Carmella was an nurse anesthetist and Mack, a surgeon. The fit was perfect.
After many discussions and outside advice, both grew increasingly excited to establish a presence in the world of private foundations. They broadened discussions with John Freeman, who agreed to join them in the venture. With his business background and their medical expertise, the trio started honing in on the foundation's focus.
For decades, healthcare-related philanthropic efforts had been focused on issues such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, yellow fever, malaria, and Ebola. The group identified global surgery is an area in which there was not only a funding gap, but an incredible opportunity for impact.
In order to improve surgical access around the world, the Foundation directors felt that the best strategy would be to support committed individuals with a proven track record, and to promote global partnerships and collaboration.
The Steven C. and Carmella Kletjian Foundation was officially established in 2012.