Chris Gates, BS '09
At the age of 5, Chris Gates proudly announced to his kindergarten class on career day that he wanted to be an exotic animal veterinarian in the Serengeti National Wildlife Park. He made his grandmother, Janada L. Batchelor, promise to take him on a wildlife safari when he was a teenager. When his 15th birthday arrived, Janada stuck to her promise, but the bargain had a twist. She required her grandson to perform community service in Tanzania, before his prized safari. Chris Gates grudgingly agreed, only to fall in love with the country and the people.
After three summers of volunteering at a Tanzanian boy’s home, Gates realized there were very few options for young girls living on the streets. He decided to start his own non-profit, the Janada L. Batchelor Foundation for Children or JBFC, named for his grandmother. Gates started the organization before his freshman year at New York University and managed it from abroad, until he graduated in 2009 and moved to Kitongo, Tanzania.
After observing the inadequate education available in his village, Gates started his own school in 2010. JBFC’s Joseph & Mary Schools now educates nearly 300 primary and secondary students and is ranked in the top 100 schools in the country. In 2012, Gates innovated yet again. Constantly striving to make the organization as sustainable as possible, JBFC opened an on-campus restaurant with the profits going to support the organization’s home for abused and abandoned girls. In 2013, JBFC received an East African Philanthropy Award for its work.