Friends of Barefoot College Switzerland is an Swiss-based organization designed to champion the work and values of proven global solutions for the rural poor. We support Barefoot College and its solutions for the transformation of rural communities through the empowerment of women.
By applying rural wisdom and knowledge, the Barefoot Approach demystifies and decentralizes sophisticated technology for appropriate use. We support Barefoot’s belief that formal education is not required for women to bring renewable energy and entrepreneurial activities to their communities. This approach has been proven and tested for more than 45 years in more than 90 countries, touching more than 500,000 lives.
Katherine is half English and half German and speak 4 languages fluently and live in Geneva. She has a master’s degree in Strategic and Financial Management.
A veteran public relations and community affairs executive, Aura Reinhardt is the Managing Director at HillSTORY Marketing, a fully integrated and creative marketing communications agency headquartered in New York City.
Ms. Reinhardt’s career spans more than 30 years in the wine & spirits and lifestyle industries where she led the public relations department of LVMH/ Moet Hennessy USA and most recently the communications team at Bacardi USA. As a Vice President, Communications at Moet Hennessy USA, Reinhardt was responsible for leading all trade and lifestyle press initiatives as well as special events for legendary brands like Moet & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Dom Perignon, Hennessy, Belvedere Vodka and more. During her tenure, she was also responsible for strategic partnerships and entertainment marketing for the brands in television and film.
In 2007, Reinhardt moved from New York to Miami to become Vice President Corporate Communications and Community Relations at Bacardi USA. Under her leadership, Bacardi USA saw significant increases in brand activity thanks to award winning PR programming for iconic brands Bacardi Rums, Grey Goose Vodka, Dewar’s Scotch and Bombay Gin to name a few. Believing in Corporate Social Responsibility, Reinhardt built partnerships in sectors such as education, health and wellbeing, culture and local government; she was instrumental in making Bacardi USA a champion of the arts and historic preservation.
A resident of Coconut Grove, Reinhardt is committed to building a culture landscape in Miami that endures and is distinctive. She accomplishes this by playing leadership roles in young arts organizations such as the Coral Gables Arts Cinema, the Wolfsonian/FIU Museum in South Beach and the Gables Community Foundation which touches all aspects of life from education to health and historic preservation. Ms. Reinhardt is tri-lingual in French/Italian/English and has two sons who live and work in New York.
Currently translating over 25 years of experience as a lawyer, consultant and entrepreneur in IT, semiconductor, health care, and medical device industries into
execution of and hands on management of investment in start up companies in these areas on behalf of German and Swiss investors, particularly for companies with technologies converging these areas and seeking to scale up into both the European and US markets.
John has been a Global Head Finance for Ciba-Geigy Ltd. a major global life sciences company, board director of 5 public companies including NYSE listed companies,
a venture capital Partner in Schroder Venture Lifesciences, CEO of a US specialty chemicals company, a Partner in Deloitte and CFO of a world leading eye care firm. He is presently Managing Director of SBV a strategy advisory firm and Chair of Etymologie a natural and organic cosmetics company. He serves as a Governor of Aiglon College and is a member of The Explorers Club and the Swiss Alpine Club.
"Now, more than ever, in our fast changing and modernizing world, there is such a need to focus attention on helping communities - everywhere- that are being left behind. I want to be a part of the effort by Barefoot College to empower forgotten communities to be self reliant, and gives them access to what is every persons right, clean water and light"
- Aura Reinhardt, US Board Member
"To me, Barefoot College represents pure good in the world...Education, renewable energy, empowerment, sustainability, and improved health, are just a few of the qualities that it brings to people's lives and communities. I absolutely want to be a part of that!"
-Khrystyne Haje, US Board Member
“The simple empowerment of the poorest villages in the developing world, will do more to educate, improve health and provide a more secure future locally in the community, positively offsetting the simple migration of the poor to city slums”
- David Van de Wiel, US Board Member
Our funding beneficiary: Barefoot College
Barefoot College is a 45 year old not-for-profit entity registered in India. In order to create a way for USA based donors to support barefoot's missions, Friends of Barefoot College International USA, a 501c3 was created to support specific projects in Barefoot College's global expansion activities.