10 Alumni Nonprofits for Your Last Gift of 2020
In Part III of our Christmas Gift Guide, finish out 2020 by supporting causes that will make 2021 a better year for our neighbors, near and far. In supporting these alumni nonprofits, you can do your part to reduce the impact of STDs, create jobs for young men in low-income areas, provide a safe haven for survivors of sex trafficking, and so much more.
In 2016, 3.2 million Nigerians were infected by HIV or living with AIDS. Part of the reason for why the virus is so prevalent is because of the social stigmas that exist for getting tested and for actually having an STD. In either situation, the patient is seen as promiscuous and is often mistreated. To fight these social stigmas, Damilola Junaid ’14 started ARISE, which stands for Actively Raising Interest in Sexual Epidemics. Today, the organization serves mainly as a referral hub, connecting Nigerians to trustworthy test centers in all of Nigeria’s 36 states. Help ARISE maintain these connections by making a donation.
In addition to building Baltic birch coffee tables, ceiling and wall installations and skateboards, this full-scale woodshop provides jobs and mentorship to young, at-risk men in low-income neighborhoods outside Nashville, TN. Run by Schuyler Andersen ’14 and his older brother Will, Maple Built accepts monthly and one-time donations, so that they can continue offering entry-level positions to young men with little to no work experience and lots of potential.
A recognized national leader in the recovery of survivors of sex trafficking, Amirah exists to provide refuge and aftercare for the woman who have broken out of the sex trade. Sarah Durfey Dunham ’09 helped start Amirah, a safe house for survivors, with a small team right after she graduated from Gordon. Since then, it has grown into a multi-faceted organization that is changing the futures of hundreds of women in New England through individualized care, outreach groups and consulting services. Show your support.
For some, it can be tough to stretch a paycheck so that it covers every basic need, such as a doctor visit or a haircut, let alone presents for Christmas. Founded by Andrea Polnaszek ’94 and her husband in 1996, Touched Twice United endeavors to lift that burden by organizing churches to provide haircuts, oil changes, food and the like to people in their community for free. Entirely run by donations, the ministry offers training, coaching and how-to manuals for setting up clinics.
Prashan de Visser ’08 started a youth movement in Sri Lanka to help heal the damage done by years of cyclical violence and civil war. Over the years, the movement (known as Global Unites) grew to have chapters in nine other countries. Since its inception, the organization has strived to fulfill the Christmas promise of peace on Earth by helping young people become agents of hope and reconciliation. Donations can go directly to supporting specific countries, the administration, summer courses or Global Summit.
6. New England Seafarers Mission
How can you be a part of bringing the good news of Jesus’s birth to the world? If you live near a port, the nations will come to you. Through the New England Seafarers Mission, founders Stephen ’82 and Sharon ’83 Cushing make sure that the physical and emotional needs of cruise ship workers and cargo ship staff who port in Boston, MA; Providence, RI; Narragansett Bay, RI; Portsmouth, NH; and Portland, ME are met. You can support their work through a one-time donation or a legacy gift through the Covenant Trust Company.
Sometimes we don’t know what we need. How can a person get better if they don’t know they’re sick? Alynne MacLean ’86 started Science with a Mission to give the power of knowledge to patients wondering what is happening to their bodies. The organization develops diagnostic tools that use a similar technology to the at-home pregnancy test, making it easy and affordable for medical professionals and patients to test for specific diseases, such as malaria and gonorrhea. Here are some ways you can support their work.
8. Open Door Immigration Services
Loving your neighbors can look like picking up their mail while they’re on vacation or helping them shovel their driveway. At Open Door, a ministry through Highrock Northshore Church with clerk Sarah Sotelo ’05, serving our neighbors can look like providing affordable legal services to immigrants in our community. Gifts go toward welcoming new immigrants to America with support and advocacy in the court room. Services include family member petitions, permanent residency applications and employment authorizations.
Every year, the heroines of the fight against breast cancer strut across the stage at the Miss Pink benefit pageant to celebrate true beauty, courage and hope. Started by Ashley ’09 and Nick ’10 Shultz, the nonprofit organization strives to ensure that breast cancer survivors and patients still feel like queens no matter where they are in the treatment process. Donations go toward the pageant and providing childcare, meals and whatever might contribute to a better quality of life for women living with breast cancer.
Sometimes the best gift you can give is standing up for someone. Founded by cancer survivor Rico Dence ’00, Team Up Cancer offers resources for cancer survivors and patients. The charity advocates for legislation to support the overall well-being of patients during and after treatment, such as increasing access to fertility preservation procedures for women who go through chemotherapy. You can support Team Up Cancer by making a donation (not tax deductible).
Whether you’re looking for a tax deduction or just want to support a meaningful cause run by a fellow Gordon grad, give one last gift before you ring in 2021.