Priya Haji

Priya Haji 1993 Global Fellow

Free At Last

with David Lewis

Poverty Alleviation & Economic Development

North America, United States

Priya Haji 1993 Global Fellow

Bold Idea 

Reduce exceptionally high rates of substance abuse and HIV infection and to break the cycle of addiction by institutuing community-based, culturally appropriate bilingual treatment, intervention, and prevention services.

To treat the most marginalized, disadvantaged, and hard-to-reach substance abusers, ideally the service provider needs to be accessible and located within the community. In a small closed community like East Palo Alto, people are more open to treatment when the role models are people with whom they identify. Free at Last provides community-based, culturally appropriate prevention, intervention, bilingual outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment services for adults, intervention services for at-risk youth, and transitional housing and aftercare for alumni. The organization’s primary goals are to break the cycle of addiction and rebuild families, provide alternatives to incarceration, prevent the spread of AIDS, foster education and economic self-sufficiency, and contribute to the health and safety of the community.

Priya Haji, an extraordinary serial social entrepreneur and pioneering visionary, died on July 14, 2014 in San Franciso, CA. She was 44 years-old. Priya was the CEO and co-founder of SaveUp, which created a mobile web game to engage users in saving money and paying down their debt. Previously, Priya was the CEO and co-founder of World of Good, a venture-backed start-up that assisted thousands of artisans in 55 countries to access the US market. She also served as the Executive Director of Free at Last, a national model for substance abuse treatment, HIV prevention, housing, employment, and a comprehensive continuum of services for African Americans and Latinos coming out of the criminal justice system, and off the streets in East Palo Alto, CA. Priya received a BA from Stanford University, and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley.