The Woman Who is Going to Save the World…Before It’s Too Late!
By Michele Graham
Photography by ChiChi Ubiña
It’s a long way from the small rural town of Edgard, Louisiana to living with nuns in a monastery to finance’s executive suite. Today, with philanthropic work that has her crossing the globe and in the company of royalty, Deadra Bastarache is living an extraordinary life. She is on a mission to the save the world.
As Deadra puts it, “My absolute dedication is to ensure that mental health/wellbeing and sustainability are given a fighting chance for every one of us to survive and thrive in this most frantic, shifting and challenging 21st century, enabling others and our planet to survive and yes thrive as balanced, happy and resourceful individuals and communities in order to be our best-self no matter the odds…….. Before It’s Too Late! Let that single phrase settle in. There are parts of everyone’s life right now where it exists, and, in the big picture, it’s a relevant phrase for both our planet and humanity.”
Deadra has always been a visionary. With her first husband, Bill Bastarache of Canada, a former Franciscan priest, Deadra moved to St. John New Brunswick. Her early career work includes successfully launching Merrill Lynch’s nationwide philanthropic division and heading up wealth management services at the Bank of Nova Scotia and Royal Bank of Canada. It was during this period that she served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Mental Health Commission and CentraCare Hospital. She worked closely with the First Lady of Canada and Diana, Princess of Whales on strategies to advance mental health. She also served on the Board of Advisors of the John Howard Society of Canada, developing justice system reforms, and programs for mothers, wives, and children of the incarcerated.
Today, Deadra combines her extensive background in finance, business, and philanthropy to make a global impact. Her reach is wide, her influence profound, and her energy boundless.
“My life’s purpose has been primarily focused on philanthropy, even while I was at Wall Street, and my current journey is in the philanthropic social impact area with my board membership and work,” says Deadra.
Her current work most notably includes being a board member of the private equity firm Bamboo Capital Partners, a pioneer in impact investing in Least Developed Countries. The firm has developed an approach to philanthropy and doing good in the world drawing private capital to invest alongside philanthropic donations and grants. The firm partners with organizations like the United Nations and CARE, and governmental agencies to create a greater catalytic pool of money (4 to 5 times the donation base) to support global initiatives.
Deadra says, “We want to change the conversation and the dynamic. And that’s what we are doing. We’re working with researchers and with universities to make a difference.”
Even the Pope has taken notice. Through her work with Bamboo Capital Partners, Deadra had the opportunity to meet The Pontiff. Her life has come full circle from when she was a young girl in Louisiana, struggling with severe dyslexia. “The nuns saved my life. Now, I want to provide opportunities for others.”
It was during one of her visits to the Vatican that Deadra met Mark Pucci. The two married and share a love for each other and helping others.
A Very Personal Mission with Far-Reaching Impact
Deadra and Mark founded the “Before It’s Too Late! Foundation” with passion and commitment. The Foundation is a legacy project in memoriam of Deadra’s daughter Adrianne (Adie) Bastarache, who, in 2018, committed suicide at the age of 33. “I feel a sense of urgency to make a difference,” says Deadra. According to findings from the World Health Organization, mental illness is now the biggest cause of disability worldwide.
The not-for-profit supports positive mental health, wellbeing, and sustainability. “The work we are doing in the Foundation supports and informs the work I am doing with Bamboo Capital Partners, especially in the areas of gender justice, as well the environment, which has a significant impact on mental health, wellbeing, and sustainability globally.”
A Footprint Felt Across the World
As if all this wouldn’t be enough to fill all her time, Deadra also supports the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation in their Gala For The Global Ocean. The Foundation is another vehicle to advocate for and support sustainability and environmental initiatives, as well as impact positive mental health and wellbeing.
And, in this age where content is king, Deadra recently founded Anomaly Factor Productions, a media and entertainment company that finances and produces media and entertainment content with a positive social message for underserved populations. Anomaly Factor Productions is a major supporter of the Before It’s Too Late! Foundation, and donates a significant percentage of its profit and intellectual property to the Foundation.
Deadra’s imprint to save the world can be felt in numerous other ways: as founder and chairman of August Enterprises, a multi-faceted international company that intersects technology, finance and social impact; as a board member of Valor Ventures in Atlanta, a women-owned venture capital firm that funds tech innovation outside of Silicon Valley and focuses on under-represented talent; as Strategic Advisor to Cerity Partners, an investment advisory firm headquartered in New York City; and as a member of the Silvermine Arts Center Board of Trustees, whose nonprofit work promotes education and enjoyment to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Deadra’s vision of philanthropy is focused and effective. It’s global and local. And it is nothing if not passionate. “I feel so blessed and want to give the opportunity to the underprivileged…It all works together to amplify making a positive impact.”