Founder & CEO
Born and raised in South Africa, Nandie is a young social entrepreneur dedicated towards creating lasting positive social change in our world. As early as high school, Nandie started her first venture which successfully raised money and awareness for the crisis in Darfur. For her efforts, Nandie received the Washington Youth Philanthropist of the Year award in 2007. In 2008 Nandie was awarded the Youth Venture Startup Grant which helped her start up Hand & Heart Organization. Later in 2008, Nandie was recruited to work along-side His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and in 2009 was named USA Young Immigrant of the Year for the incredible contributions she has made to the world at such a young age. Over the years, Nandie has been the inspiration for several start-ups in Seattle and has also served on the boards of several organizations in the US. Nandie recently graduated with distinction from the University of Washington with degrees in Business Administration and Sociology. She was awarded the Howard B. Woolston Award for Academic Excellence and was chosen to be the graduation speaker at the graduation ceremony. Nandie’s dynamic nature coupled with her deep passion and commitment towards supporting African change-makers and working WITH them to improve the African continent, is what sets her apart. Hand & Heart is Nandie’s baby as she likes to call it. It is something she cares deeply about, something she always seeks to improve and nurture and something she plans to devote her entire life to.
Jaco Van Den Berg
Director of Travel Programs & Social Media
Jaco has a love and passion for South Africa that very few people can surpass. He understands the serious problems and challenges facing South Africa, but he sees these problems as exciting opportunities of growth and advancement. Jaco is currently studying Computer Science at the University of South Africa, and at the same time manages Hand & Heart’s various social media channels and co-manages all the H&H Travel Programs to SA. On top of this already full load, you can always find Jaco at some kind of fundraiser or outreach project, adding smiles to others’ faces and helping out in the community. He is someone who always has time for community service and philanthropy, simply because he MAKES time for it. Hand & Heart is very fortunate to have such a passionate and lively Ambassador and Project Coordinator. Jaco gives 130% to every Hand & Heart project and will do whatever it takes to see to it that our projects succeed and that Hand & Heart truly leaves a positive footprint in the heart of every person that ever comes into contact with Hand & Heart.
Director of Partnerships & Growth Strategy
Jacobus is a social entrepreneur, personal performance specialist and construction professional driven by the passion and desire to always help individuals reach their full potential, and get the most out of life. Born and raised in South Africa, Jacobus left his home country to work and travel around the world after achieving a Bachelors of Science degree at the University of Pretoria. Living and traveling all around the world shaped and educated Kobus about the world’s struggles and the ways in which people try to address these struggles. He started to really like helping people and charitable organizations perform to their full potential and got involved with a variety of different organizations where he could assist and learn as well. After 6 years he returned to his home country of South Africa, to look at SA through a different lense and find ways to make an positive impact. After various involvements, Kobus decided to partner up with Nandie to live out Hand & Heart vision in South Africa. Growing Hand & Heart in South Africa therefore has become one of Jacobus’s most important personal goals in life. “I believe we all have an inert potential waiting to be uncovered. We already have all we need inside us, we just need to awaken it.” – Jacobus Malan
Director of Marketing & Partnerships
Melinda is one of Hand & Heart’s most dedicated team members and Ambassadors, as she is also the mother of Nandie Oosthuizen, founder and executive director of Hand & Heart Organization. Melinda has worked her way up the ladder since high school in the Media World in South Africa and currently works in Advertising Sales at Media 24, the unbrella Media Corporation of nearly all media sources in South Africa. Melinda’s work brings her in contact with numerous businesses and professionals, which has been a huge asset for Hand & Heart in the past when it comes to finding potential investors, corporate sponsors etc. Another huge asset also off course has been the constant media exposure Hand & Heart’s projects get thanks to Melinda’s connections in the Media world. Melinda is really great at managing people and has a talent for connecting the right people at the right time. She is someone who loves putting her skills and connections in the Media and Advertising world to good use. We are very grateful to have Melinda on our team!
Director of Information & Training
Ken is such a valuable addition to our team. He brings with him years of experience in education and skills training. Ken’s passion for empowering others, through education and training, is exactly what Hand & Heart is all about and why Ken fits so perfectly with our mission and our team. Ken has an incredible talent and ability to teach and motivate people, especially young people to achieve their goals and exceed their own expectations. Manager and Director of Poynting Direct, Ken is also an experienced entrepreneur and brings to the table a wealth of experience in project management and business operations. Ken is a very valuable asset to Hand & Heart as all our projects always have strong educational and training components to it.
Director of Fundraising & Recruitment – USA region
Heide is well known in Seattle’s Philanthropy circles. Heide is the founder of several organizations and board member to many more. Heide’s main passion is Mentorship, putting her years of experience to good use by taking young aspiring changemakers under her wing. Heide has been part of Hand & Heart since the very beginning when it was simply a dream expressed by Nandie on the stage with the Dalai Lama at Seeds of Compassion Conference in Seattle in 2008. Since then, Heide has been an important mentor in Nandie’s life, supporting her every step along the way. Heides patience, passion for mentorship, wealth of connections and experience as founder of several organizations and former main fundraiser of Children’s Hospital’s Charitable Fund, enables Heide to be an incredible mentor, as she has been to Nandie, since 2008. Nandie owes much of her and Hand & Heart’s success and accomplishments to Heide and her ongoing support and guidance.