Meet our Founders

Erik Luchs was raised in Zimbabwe.

For the past thirty years he has lived in the United States. In 2008, Erik was drawn back to his homeland. He witnessed communities struggling to fulfill basic needs in the face of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, massive food shortages, a nationwide failed infrastructure and a failed banking system. Deeply moved by the paradox of the extreme beauty and extreme suffering found in Victoria Falls, he decided to start there. Erik spent 5 months in Africa, investigating and defining ways to give back to bring about positive change, and so Friends of Shamwari was born. Erik was in the financial world for over 18 years and his extensive experience in global financial strategic development will provide a strong backdrop to helping Friends of Shamwari accomplish it’s goals.

Diane Murray

Lisa Hacket

Erik Luchs

Lisa Hackett

Lisa Hackett grew up in Los Angeles, California. Lisa and Erik met in college and have been friends for over thirty years. Lisa spent 25 years working as a production person in the film and television business. Her expertise lies in the organization of people and logistics and in bringing projects to fruition. Lisa joined Erik on his trip to his homeland in Feb. of 2008. Deeply moved by all they saw, she has committed her time and efforts to help bring attention and assistance to this particular humanitarian crisis.

Diane Murray was born in New York and raised in Los Angeles. She enjoyed a nearly thirty-year career in global marketing/advertising before retiring in 2004 to pursue philanthropic interests. Her subsequent efforts included volunteer work on behalf of several local charities prior to being introduced to Erik Luchs in 2008. Diane turned her full attention to supporting the efforts of the Friends of Shamwari after getting to know Erik and his unique vision for this organization, and having the opportunity to visit Victoria Falls and witness, first hand, the extraordinary beauty of the land, its people and the tremendous depth of their need.

     We are a small nimble organization that acts as a co-ordinator to bring the larger established charitable organizations to this part of the world, where they are not welcome or permitted to operate. We want to remain small and effective so that we can go where others might not be able to reach. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, we assist the well-known, experienced charities in bringing their knowledge and established capabilities to Zimbabwe.

What’s different about us?


Change starts with YOU!

We are  100% Volunteer    

so YOU can

track & follow along

our Model is

                                  1 Project at a time