Emile Khattar Launches a Nonprofit to Serve Healthcare Workers on the Front Lines
Emile Khattar graduated from Scalia Law School in December 2019 and sat for the bar two months later. This newly-minted attorney was looking for a job in corporate law, but then COVID happened. Khattar has family on the front lines, friends who have contracted the virus; some who have lost their lives.
“My brother-in-law is a physician in Philadelphia. He instilled the sense of urgency in me and my family about how bad this pandemic would become,” Emilie stated. Moved by healthcare workers’ desperate need for protective equipment, Emilie found his mission.
He reached out to some of his smartest friends, and within weeks, he and his team launched a 501(c)(3), Humans Helping Project. “I knew that if we did this responsibly, we could really make an impact,” said Emile.
The Humans Helping Project empowers people to make medical personal protective equipment (“PPE”) for people on the front lines of this pandemic. While Emile’s organization is currently focused on isolation gowns, he is working with other companies and nonprofits that are supplying masks and face shields. The project is currently being beta-tested in the city of Richmond, Virginia.
Here is how it works: Humans Helping Project supplies kits for making gowns. Volunteers show up at a designated location to receive a kit of 100 gowns-worth of material, assemble them at home, and one week later return the finished gowns. Proper sanitization processes are in place, and all these pick-up and drop-off operations function within the guidelines of safe social distancing, under the assumption that anything or anyone could be carrying the virus.
“The kits are uniform and include everything they need to assemble the gown properly,” Emile explains. “Many people want to help, but lack the proper guidance to produce something that healthcare professionals can actually use.”
Emile is quick to mention that you do not need to know how to sew. The material is created in such a way that it can also be adhered through heat with a household clothing iron. Emile, who does not know how to sew, laughs, “If I can do it, anyone can.”
INDEVCO North America has donated the material for the first 500 gowns. Humans Helping Project is truly a family affair. Emile’s mother helps with the sewing and his girlfriend is his right hand in the operation. “I couldn’t do it without her,” Emile says.
“I’m doing the legal work, as well as running the organization. I’m working 26 hours a day,” Emile reports, clearly energized by his mission. “I’m looking for a law firm that will take this on pro bono.”
How does someone just out of law school know how to launch a fully operational 501(c) (3) in record time?
Emile credits what he learned at Scalia Law. “The corporations class I took with Professor Kevin Douglas taught me all about corporate formation and my fiduciary duty to the organization.” He also points to his Steiger Fellowship, which gave him the opportunity to work in the Attorney General’s office in Richmond. “I learned a lot about 501(c)(3)s while working in the Consumer Protection Division, cracking down on deceptive practices and unethical charities.”
Once the beta test in Richmond is fully operational, Emile and his team want to expand to other cities and regions. They are currently looking at Northern Virginia, Raleigh, NC, and Longview, TX.
Soon his organization will be helping not only first responders, but also those people most impacted by the financial toll of this pandemic. Humans Helping Project will soon expand its volunteer model to include a paid model for people who need work. “For people who are disabled or the elderly stranded at home, this is a way for them to help out and earn income at the same time.”
“People are feeling helpless right now. We are providing them an opportunity for them not to feel helpless, giving them the tools they need to make vital PPE for medical workers.”
Eventually, Emile wants to go into corporate law and step back into a board member role for Humans Helping Project. But right now he’s on a mission and he’s not slowing down anytime soon.
For more information on Humans Helping Project, please go to: https://www.humanshelpingproject.org/