Harboring Hearts

Harboring Hearts is a 501 (c)(3) public charity dedicated to providing housing assistance and other vital support for critically ill heart patients and their families. Michelle Javian and Yuki Kotani founded Harboring Hearts in 2009 after supporting their fathers through heart transplant treatment at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Harboring Hearts' goal is to enable patients and families to maintain financial and emotional stability, so they can focus on health and healing. Harboring Hearts programs address the financial, physical, and emotional wellbeing of heart patients and their caregivers. We work with hospitals to provide financial assistance and other immediate support -- our current partners include NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, Mount Sinai Hospital, and Montefiore Medical Center. Harboring Hearts also organizes therapeutic and recreational programs for patients and families in hospitals to cultivate community. Harboring Hearts was recently accepted (in May 2014) as a California-registered charity and is looking forward to expansion.

  • Industry: Nonprofit
  • Year Started: 2009
  • Organization Type: Non-Profit
  • # of Employees: 4 ( as of Dec 31, 2013)

Michelle Javian

CEO & Co-Founder

During the time she spent by her father’s side as he battled heart disease at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Michelle witnessed firsthand the lack of refuge and community support for heart patients and their families. In dedication to her father’s memory, Michelle approached her friend Yuki Kotani, whose father was also a heart patient at New York Presbyterian, with the idea to create a charity helping these families. Together they co-founded Harboring Hearts in April 2009. Michelle is active in several other charities, including her roles as a Board member of New York Presbyterian Hospital New Leaders, American Heart Association heart advocate and volunteer, and Founding Member of Friends of Best Buddies, Manhattan chapter. Michelle was recognized as a 2014 CNN Hero.

  • Age: 34
  • Ethnicity: Middle Eastern

Yuki Kotani


Yuki Kotani is a Co-founder of Harboring Hearts. She is a congenital heart defect survivor and her main inspiration for starting this organization comes from her father who is a heart attack survivor, LVAD and heart transplant recipient. As one of his primary caretakers, she experienced first-hand the emotional strain that can be placed on families and loved ones throughout this life changing procedure. During this trying time, she realized the importance of emotional support through a network of people who can empathize with the struggles that heart patients and their families face. Michelle and Yuki hope that Harboring Hearts will provide them with the necessary support. Yuki is active on the American Heart Association’s Young Professional Board. She was a panelist in 2011 for High Water Women’s Young Women and Careers in Philanthropy Discussion and was chosen as an American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women national spokesperson and a Heart of New York’s spokesperson in 2010. She was awarded Rosewood Hotel and Resorts “30 under 30” winner in 2010.

  • Age: 33
  • Ethnicity: East Asian

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