Eradicating Leprosy and Transforming Lives: Insights from the Tanner Impact Podcast

In a recent episode of the Tanner Impact Podcast, host Doug Hanson, an audit partner at Tanner LLC with an impressive three-decade tenure in working with non-profit organizations, alongside Ben Lonsdale from Tanner’s business development department, and special guest Becky Douglas, founder and board member of Rising Star Outreach, delved into the remarkable efforts and achievements of non-profit organizations in Utah with a spotlight on Rising Star Outreach. This episode provided deep insights into the organization’s mission, initiatives, and the impactful change they are driving in India to combat leprosy and its societal repercussions.

Rising Star Outreach: A Beacon of Hope

Founded by Becky Douglas, Rising Star Outreach champions a noble cause—to eradicate leprosy and mitigate its effects on affected individuals and their communities in India. The inspiration behind this initiative was deeply personal for Becky, stemming from a poignant discovery about her late daughter’s charitable acts and a subsequent visit to India that unveiled the harsh realities faced by those suffering from leprosy. Rising Star Outreach’s mission revolves around three critical areas: medical treatment, microfinance programs, and education.

Innovative Initiatives Driving Change

  1. Medical Treatment: The organization operates mobile medical clinics that provide essential treatment for leprosy and its complications. By emphasizing self-care and imposing minimal charges, they ensure patient engagement and foster a sense of responsibility toward their health.
  2. Microfinance Programs: Understanding the dependency on begging as a significant issue, Rising Star Outreach offers microloans to individuals affected by leprosy and their families. This initiative aims to cultivate independence and dignity by enabling them to start small businesses.
  3. Education for Children: With a vision to break the cycle of poverty and disease, the organization runs schools for children from leprosy colonies. This initiative not only provides education but also opens doors to opportunities that these children might not have had otherwise.

The Impact: Stories of Transformation

The tangible results of Rising Star Outreach’s work are nothing short of inspirational. In Chennai, the organization has significantly reduced the number of leprosy beggars, showcasing a remarkable societal shift. Their microfinance programs have revitalized the economic landscape of leprosy colonies, with numerous success stories of individuals who have established profitable businesses. Moreover, their educational initiatives have paved the way for graduates now pursuing careers in engineering, medicine, and law, highlighting the untapped potential within these communities.

Joining the Fight Against Leprosy

Rising Star Outreach extends various avenues for individuals to contribute to their cause. From participating in their annual golf tournament and gala in Salt Lake City to sponsoring a child’s education and well-being, there are numerous ways to support their mission. This engagement not only aids in the fight against leprosy but also in the holistic development of the communities affected by it.

Understanding Leprosy and Community Reintegration

Leprosy, a bacterial disease, has long-term effects on the nervous system and can lead to severe disabilities if left untreated. Despite its daunting appearance, it is difficult to contract and treat with available medications. Rising Star Outreach’s efforts in community reintegration, including specialized medical care, income generation opportunities, and ensuring educational access for children, are pivotal to their success. The support from volunteers and donors, including professional expertise and financial aid, has been instrumental in the organization’s achievements.


The Tanner Impact Podcast episode offers a profound look into the life-changing work of Rising Star Outreach. By addressing the medical, economic, and educational needs of individuals affected by leprosy, Rising Star Outreach is not just fighting a disease but is actively transforming lives and communities. This episode serves as a testament to the power of targeted initiatives and the difference they can make in the world.

Tanner’s Nonprofit Practice

Tanner has an impressive team of professionals who are passionate about “lightening the load” for our not-for-profit and education clients. Our deep experience and ongoing training help us provide insights and support well beyond basic audit and Form 990 services. We provide free CPE opportunities for our clients and those in the nonprofit landscape each year. This is a key practice area within Tanner, and our not-for-profit and education clients include a substantial number of organizations with total revenues and support ranging from $100,000 to nearly $1 billion. We have been serving this industry for more than 30 years. We have a large not-for-profit and education service team consisting of professionals from our audit, tax, IT security and advisory service groups.