Above and Beyond

Beyondorders.org helps U.S. service members “rise above the call of duty” to aid Iraqi civilians. Tin-Yun Ho ’07 (’08) thought up and helped create the website last year, after reading about a civil-affairs officer who had organized a school-supplies drive for Iraqi children among her friends and family back home. “She was able to channel so much good will into an Iraqi neighborhood,” he says. “I wanted a way to link more soldiers in Iraq with Americans who want to help.”

The project is a kind of “Craigslist for soldiers and marines in Iraq,” explains cofounder Katharine Buzicky, J.D. ’07, now a military lawyer. The group aims to make it “easy, secure, and efficient” for military personnel to request items needed by ordinary Iraqis—eyeglasses, shoes, bandages, soccer balls, mechanics’ coveralls, sewing machines—from anyone in America “willing and able to assist,” and for donors to offer supplies that may be useful. Beyondorders facilitates matches, provides donors with APO addresses for the military recipients, keeps tabs on shipments, and posts on its website the recipients’ accounts, and often their photographs, of how the donations have been used in Iraq.

“Small things can have a big impact,” says cofounder Matthew Scherrer, M.B.A. ’07, who spent four years in the army in Afghanistan and Iraq before attending the Business School. He and Ho, who was busy trying to put his idea into practice, were introduced by a House tutor and began organizing a network of fellow students, including Buzicky, who helped with such legal details as incorporation. (“Beyond Orders is a great model for how [Harvard] schools that tend to be fairly segregated can work together,” says Scherrer.) They approached alumni, and Scherrer contacted and rallied military units behind the exchange program: to date, Beyondorders has registered more than 30 service members and completed more than 100 donations—one with 750 packages of school supplies.

Board members Buzicky, Ho, Scherrer, and West Pointer Rajiv Srinivasan continue working to get more military and civilian volunteers involved. When Ho, who took a semester off to set up the site (tutoring to raise money to keep it going), was interviewed by a local TV station, he told viewers, “I need you to get on the site, register, and tell the troops in Iraq what you can do.” That’s still true.

Sub topics

You might also like

Historic Humor

University Archives to preserve Harvard Lampoon materials

Academia’s Absence from Homelessness

“The lack of dedicated research funding in this area is a major, major problem.”

The Enterprise Research Campus, Part Two

Tishman Speyer signals readiness to pursue approval for second phase of commercial development.  

Most popular

Poise, in Spite of Everything

Nina Skov Jensen ’25, portraitist for collectors and the princess of Denmark. 

Renovating Gund

Renovations on Gund Hall of Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) to be completed by next year. 

Claudine Gay in First Post-Presidency Appearance

At Morning Prayers, speaks of resilience and the unknown

More to explore

Exploring Political Tribalism and American Politics

Mina Cikara explores how political tribalism feeds the American bipartisan divide.

Private Equity in Medicine and the Quality of Care

Hundreds of U.S. hospitals are owned by private equity firms—does monetizing medicine affect the quality of care?

Construction on Commercial Enterprise Research Campus in Allston

Construction on Harvard’s commercial enterprise research campus and new theater in Allston