The inspiration behind Citta -- a nonprofit that runs hospitals, orphanages and schools in poverty-stricken regions of India, Nepal and Mexico -- can be traced to 1988 when Michael Daube, a recent graduate of Pratt Institute, met Mother Teresa while volunteering at one of her shelters in Calcutta. Six years later, Daube was a 30-year-old struggling artist living in Jersey City when he found a portrait in the trash that turned out to be a David Hockney original. Sotheby's sold the well-known Pop artist's piece for $18,000, and, instead of moving into a larger loft or freeing up time to concentrate on his work, Daube took the cash back to Calcutta to ask Mother Teresa how he could help.
His second meeting with the iconic saint -- who Daube remembers as a
"feisty, no-nonsense" woman with a "big attitude" -- led to his first
creation: a 30-bed clinic in Orissa, one of India's poorest states.
Since then, the clinic has grown into a hospital serving a community of
100,000 and spawned nine additional facilities, all in hard-to-reach
places. "The road to Orissa might as well be the Grand Canyon," says
Daube, whose Citta ("compassionate mind" in Sanskrit) organization
focuses on areas where other charities are scarce. "There are so many
cultures with limited access whose traditions and art have to be
preserved." Derek Loosvelt