Nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, Neema Mgana is a true humanitarian. She grew up in Tanzania and has since dedicated her life to helping the people of Africa. She has Founded or Co-Founded five different non-profit groups aimed at providing health and education in different regions of Africa. More recently she started the African Women of Distinction project, a peace and justice project that highlights the leadership role of women in Africa. The project also works with over 180 men and women in Africa to build and nurture their leadership skills. Neema’s inspiration came from reading about people such as Gandhi, Grace Machel and Martin Luther King Jr. They dedicated their lives to others and so has
she. To read more about the work Neema has done in Africa read on in this week’s Non-Profit spotlight.
“I have, therefore we have,” is the concept that drives 35-year-old Jacques Bahati. He is a Policy Analyst for the Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN), which brings the concerns of the people of Africa, especially the impoverished majority, to policy makers. AFJN is a member of the Executive Committee of Congo Global Action Coalition, an organization that is especially important to Jacques because he grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His involvement in DR Congo goes beyond AFJN; he has also Co-Founded Healthy Congo, INC, an organization that
strives to bring HIV awareness in the rural Congo. In addition he works with his home parish in the DR Congo to improve education and health. Jacques involvement in all these organizations comes from his strong desire to help others. He guides his life by the principles of the Bible and holds a masters degree in theology. To learn more about Jacques and the many organizations he is involved in, read on in this week’s Non-Profit Spotlight.
HIV/AIDS has affected numerous people in many parts of India, and Avanti Sharma wanted to do something to prevent the disease’s further spread. So Avanti, 25, decided to found the Anokhi Foundation. The recently created, volunteer-run, nonprofit organization aims to prevent HIV/AIDS through education, advocacy, and community support. Anokhi, which means “unique” in Hindi, is in the process of setting up its initiatives in India. The organization hopes to provide prevention education for at-risk populations, as well as assist HIV-infected individuals in accessing available health services. The Anokhi Foundation is preparing for its first fundraising event, and its volunteers are looking forward to making their first trip to India. To learn more about this growing organization and how you can help it establish initiatives on the subcontinent, check out this week’s Nonprofit Spotlight.
Layla Kaiksow, 25, has a vision for Palestine, and it does not involve humanitarian aid. Instead, she is focused on its economic growth. In 2004 she started work as the Project Manager for the Palestine Fair Trade Association. This organization’s purpose was to bring the delicious and famous olive oil of Palestine to nations around the world by connecting local farmers with international markets. This project eventually expanded to olive oil soap, hand-made baskets, and other crafts. Layla is currently in charge of fundraising and public relations for the SOS Children’s Village-Bethlehem. One of the largest milestones in this project was the building of a playground for the children at SOS. Although Layla continues to lend support to all the projects she has created, she is always finding new ways to help. Currently she has a vision to support the growth of small to medium businesses in Palestine, with an emphasis on job creation and youth employment. Learn more about Layla and her dedication to the economic growth in Palestine as we feature her in this week’s Non-Profit Spotlight.
Violence against women is an unfortunate reality in most parts of the world, but Vickie Sides is doing all she can to eliminate it. She has served as Coordinator of the Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline, a program of the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, since it first began. The hotline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing crisis intervention over the phone and offering information and referrals to survivors of sexual assault. For the past 10 years, Vickie, 38, has grown the program from one staff person (herself) to seven. But not only does she seek to help survivors, but she also seeks to challenge the conditions that make violence against women a reality
. Through her work at the YWCA, she is active in promoting equity and eliminating oppression, in keeping with her belief that rape exists because patriarchy exists. To learn more about Vickie and the Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline, check out this week’s Nonprofit Spotlight.
Ayesha Mattu once thought her hyphenated identity of straddling East and West, First World and Third World, and majority and minority was a weakness. She later discovered, however, that being both an insider and an outsider was a strength in her work in international grant-making and philanthropy, where being able to understand different cultures is an asset. She helped create the Muslim Women’s Fund for Social Justice, which brings together Muslim women leaders from around the world to develop strategies and share ideas. Today, Ayesha, 34, is a Philanthropy Consultant
, focusing on social change philanthropy. She helps organizations and individuals formulate goals, strategies, and practices to foster a social-change grant-making model. Since 9/11, she has also assisted American-Muslim organizations with strengthening their strategic communications and program initiatives. To learn more about how Ayesha is helping philanthropic organizations become even better at what they do, check out this week’s Young & Professional Profile
Did you know that women represent 70% of those living in absolute poverty? That 1 in 3 women will be raped, beaten or violated in the course of their lifetime? Or that maternal mortality is the leading cause of death for women of reproductive age? These are just a few of the unfortunate facts that surround the current state of International human rights concerning women. This week we put the spotlight on the Global Fund for Women, an organization aimed at funding and supporting important ideas, people and non-profit organizations dedicated to the betterment of womankind. To date, the Global Fund for Women has awarded over $58 million to 3,45 women’s organizations in 166 countries. You can only imagine how much this seed money has been able to alleviate injustices facing women. Read on as Zeina Zaatari, 34, Program Officer, shares with us info about the organization, important future goals and the people they are looking to connect with as we feature the Global Fund for Women in this week’s Non-Profit Spotlight.
Eight years ago, Nipun Mehta and a few of his friends went to a homeless shelter to help it build a Web site. That small act of generosity has today blossomed into CharityFocus, a nonprofit organization that is run by a decentralized network of thousands of volunteers. The organization’s volunteers do everything from providing Web services to small nonprofit organizations, to sending inspirational messages to people’s inboxes, to spreading the love with random acts of kindness. The organization doesn’t engage in any fundraising or charge anything for its services. Rather, it strives to model a gift economy, in which goods and services are given freely, rather than traded as they are in a market economy. Nipun, 31, is motivated by Mahatma Gandhi’s words, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” He and the other volunteers at CharityFocus follow that message each day through small acts filled with big love. To feel that love, check out this week’s Nonprofit Spotlight.
Health care for the uninsured is a hot topic filled with intense political emotions and, many times, remains debated without conclusive resolutions. While the issue washes in and out of Capitol Hill, millions of people remain without health care services and community public health as a whole grows all the more dangerous. Working with those needing immediate medical and dental help, the Caridad Center of Palm Beach County, Florida reaches out to thousands of uninsured patients who have nowhere else to turn. Opening its doors primarily to the working poor, the center also offers educational and
social service programs because, often times, family issues don’t stop at the doctor’s office alone. Natasha M. Dominguez, age 29 and Patient Care Coordinator/Assistant Administrator, says she couldn’t be more grateful to work with an inspirational team of professionals who have found a truly rewarding vocation. Founded in 1989, the Caridad Center boasts many successes including the fact that more than 500 licensed professional and community volunteers help in reaching out annually. To learn more about the agency and its results within Palm Beach County, read more in this week’s Non-Profit Spotlight
After a close friend died in the early 1980s, during the dawn of AIDS, Paul Kawata became involved in HIV/AIDS issues. Today, as Executive Director since 1989 of the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC), he is the longest serving and surviving AIDS-organization Executive Director in the United States. NMAC is the only national nonprofit that focuses on HIV/AIDS among racial and ethnic minorities. It provides support to community-based organizations through trainings, on-site technical assistance, conferences, publications, and other services. Paul oversees the general operation of NMAC, works to raise funds from major donors, and serves as the public face of the organization during events such as its annual United States Conference on AIDS. More than 70 percent of U.S. HIV/AIDS cases are among minorities; thus, Paul says his organization’s work is greatly needed. Read more about Paul Kawata and the National Minority AIDS Council in this week’s Nonprofit Spotlight.