Nonprofits the invisible hands

I have found that among its other benefits
giving liberates the soul of the giver.
– Maya Angelou

Sometimes dreams do come true. When we are children, we dream all the time. Dreams of Santa Claus coming down the chimney with a bag of toys and ushering in good cheer. We dream of Disneyland and riding the fastest roller coaster, arms held high, screaming in delight. We have nightmares too, but those do not last, because we know our parents will protect us from the ghosts and goblins and all of those monsters hiding underneath our beds. We close our eyes and return to paradise. Dreams of sugar plum fairies and soaring with the wind. We dream of all good things, because when we are children we believe that all things are good.

As adults, dreams do not go away. They become based on reality, however, no longer the Easter Bunny, but about the homeless family we passed on the way to work, that someday, they will have a place to sleep. We dream of cures to cancer and hiv. We dream of our soldiers coming home and their bodies and minds still in one piece. We have nightmares, just like our kids, but they are no longer monsters of our imaginations, but the ills that rule the day. There are now two homeless families, one more than the day before. And as we sink deeper into our sleep, before our eyes, the homeless population has multiplied and only the sadness in their eyes awakes us from our nightmares. We are sweating and we are chilled, but we are at home in our beds and thankful those families are not us. We say to ourselves, before we go back to sleep, Tomorrow, we will make a difference. We will lend a hand where needed, we will break bread and feed them, we will write our soldiers and wish them well, we will become a part of the solution, no longer complaining or worse yet, disappearing into  our own salvation, and pretending that we do not see them, or convince ourselves, that those in need of a hand, are there by their own fruition, and that we are just one person anyway and one person cannot make a difference. We then turn over and comfortably go back to sleep and our hands that are meant to reach out and help, become invisible once again.

The Neighborhood Proudly Presents Our Featured Presentation
Nonprofits the invisible hands

set design by Nafiys Walters, aka Fran Daddy Education Works, Philadelphia, USA &
The Leaf SocietyNamakkal district of Tamilnadu, India
soundtrack Angel by Damian Baran, Slovak Republic &
My Heart by IvySoul, Philadelphia, USA

developed, written & edited by Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger

nonprofits11
photo courtesy of The Leaf Society, Namakkal district of Tamilnadu, India

In 2009, in the United States, The Tea Party movement came into existence and quickly rose into power. Love them, hate them, support them, ridicule them, they were for real. Cutting through the divisive rhetoric and angry tone, their mission was simple, to reduce the role of government in the lives of American citizens. Their rise was so fast and so overwhelming, that those who opposed them, were forced to match their level of intensity, bypassing civil discussion and common ground, jumping head first into polarizing elections and distrust all around. And while there exist extremist on both sides, who will never compromise, remaining forever the monster under the bed, I imagine, that the majority of the people, rather we say it out loud or even feign indifference, realize that the answer to our challenges lies somewhere  in the middle. A reachable reality, yet it remains stagnated in our dreams.

The nonprofit community, in reference to those of a societal, charitable nature (the National Football League is a $9.5 billion per year nonprofit, not included in this discussion) whose sole purpose of existence is to lend support to their respective communities, be it in health, education or support after the wrath of a natural disaster. They are made up of people from every walk of life and include paid staff, an army of volunteers and philanthropist whose financial giving is what helps the nonprofit community stay afloat.

But there is a third, and just as vital piece of the equation, barely mentioned but always in the picture, and that is us. Every time we give a dollar to a homeless person on the streets, each time we buy someone who is hungry something to eat, or help an elderly person across the street, or give a newly released prisoner a job or a chance, that is charitable giving, and we must comprehend, that it makes a difference to those in need of help. And it may be that small show of support, that turns a life around, who may then go on to contribute, becoming a productive member of society.

nafyis2
photo by Nafiys Walters, Philadelphia aka Fran Daddy

Philadelphia, with a population of more than 1.5 million, is the 5th largest city in the United States. Filled with historical places and some of  the most talented and inspirational people in the nation, grapples with its moniker as the City of Brotherly Love due to a soaring crime rate and a poverty level, nearly unrivaled throughout the nation, Executive Director, Bill Hart of Philadelphia RISE (The Mayor’s Office of Reintegration Services) is passionate when he states, “if Philadelphia is to return to world class status, then we must address our weakest link.”  There was no condensation in his words or voice, simply addressing real challenges that exist in a city where 200,000 residents have a criminal history. RISE works with newly released inmates and the corporate community to give them a fighting chance by finding jobs, allowing them to maintain their self-respect and escape a life of crime.  Although the program has the full support of the Mayor, Hart recognizes, that the city alone can not solve the challenges by itself.

Enter the nonprofits. The Pennsylvania Prison Society, understands the importance and value of maintaining family contact, so their contribution is providing transportation to the family members of the incarcerated,  making reentry less of a family issue. But the real jewel is found in South Philadelphia. Don’t Shoot, headed by the dedicated Executive Director Ella Best  is a community nonprofit of volunteers, that engages children as young as five years old in educational and athletic activities, believing that preventive measures offer the keys to a brighter future for her city and community. Don’t Shoot has served nearly 600 kids and Ella Best states, that they have not lost one to pregnancy or the juvenile court system. When asked how could her organization make an even bigger difference, she replied “Obtaining a facility so that we can serve more kids.”

nonprofit12
photo courtesy of The Leaf Society, Namakkal district of Tamilnadu, India

When K. Sai Prathyusha arrived in the small village located in Namakkal district of Tamilnadu, India to intern for The Leaf Society, not only were there no toilets of any kind, the villagers were defecating in the open. Prone to all sorts of diseases, isolated, uneducated and living hand to mouth, there was little hope for the Periyaveppanatham Village community of living a better life. Overwhelmed, but not to be defeated, The Leaf Society reached out to the Indian government to support them in their endeavors of helping the community build sanitary facilities. But The Leaf Society did not stop there. Similar to Don’t Shoot, they realized if the community were to be given a future, that they would need to expand their program and began educating the children and protecting them from the abuse of child labor. The local government established a grant to assist in funding the nonprofit organization, realizing they must do their part if the village children were going to have a better life.  When I asked K. Sai Prathyusha what was at the top of The Leaf Society’s wish list, she stated simply “Visibility.”

nafyis3
photography by Nafiys Walters aka Fran Daddy, Philadelphia

In reality, as committed as any government agency or dedicated as a nonprofit organization, without the committed volunteers, donors, supporters and community members, even the best designed plan will have little chance of success. So whichever side of the aisle we line up on, the halfs or the half nots, less government or more, able to give or in need, we all have something to offer. And if we ever want our nightmares to truly go away, we must not hide our hands of support, because they are visible either way.

– Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger

The Neighborhood supports the efforts of Don’t Shoot and The Leaf Society.
Donations made will be divided equally. 

The Neighborhood is an original, online art house collaborative of visual, recording, performance and written-word artists, delivering thought-provoking entertainment, in an all-inclusive forum, built on a foundation of peace. 

57 comments

  1. I just looked through some of your materials after I seen that you had liked my blog (thanks). I love your belief in and hope for peace. Thanks again. Very impressive work you do here.

    Like

  2. I appreciated your article, your heart shown through it. I am the only staff person for a small, and mostly unknown ministry in Appalachia. There are many ways of giving and helping others. Money is important to keep a ministry going that is true,but it is not always the
    most important thing. Sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest difference in
    someone’s live. In my work I am often reminded to count my MANY blessings and to not
    take so many things for granted. I would like to ask everyone that happens to read this
    post to think about how many pairs of shoes you have, now image you only had 1 pair.
    Only 1 pair to wear everyday and that you needed to make that 1 pair last as long as
    you could. I had a mother and her 12 year old daughter come to our ministry one
    day to go through some clothing that was donated, to see if any would fit them. I had
    one bag of shoes that had been donated along with the clothing that I had forgotten
    about. As they were looking at the clothing I found the bag and set it out and told them
    they could check it out also. As I was busy with other things I heard the young girl
    squeal with delight, she had found a pair of tennis shoes that would fit her. Keep in
    mind these were “gently used” shoes and clothing. When I turned around to look at
    the mom she was crying, she said that she could not afford to buy her kids a new
    pair of shoes for school this year and all they had to wear was last years pair, which
    the girl showed me had holes in them. Now when was the last time you got that excited
    about receiving a “used” anything! Count your blessings everyday and be kind along
    the way, those things don’t cost you anything but can be worth so much to someone else.
    Therica Breazeale
    Coalition for Appalachian Ministry
    Townsend, TN

    Like

  3. Very beautiful. Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for the authentic definition of charitable giving which has nothing to do with corporate or corrupt philanthropy. Strong arms of support always at the ready.

    Like

  4. I love the attention you bring to the brighter side of life. If you continue to post on my timeline, I will continue to leave comments. 🙂 That’s jut how I roll. Haha
    I am proud of the works done by the people, the unsung hero’s, the organizations that make such a difference in our world. I was surprised to see the NFF mentioned in your article, or the NFL non profit. My husband’s son made his mom and dad proud in 2012 by winning a prestigious scholarship for college in our area. He is now at Oregon State University (OSU) bringing honor to his family with his hard work. It was this scholarship that made his dream to attend OSU possible. I am including a link. http://nff-portland.org/chapter-events/
    I can say that non-profits have directly effected our family’s life and made our future better. Again, thank you for the continued focus on the marvels of humanity.

    Your cyber friend

    Julie ~BMB~ Blaser

    (I don’t know if my post went through. It was having trouble connecting. I am sending you a request for comment modification a second time just in case it did not work the first time. Sorry for the repeat if it did make contact the first time.) Peace…~BMB

    Like

  5. Thanks so much for following ‘From Ethiopia, with love’ we really appreciate it. I’m enjoying reading your blog – very thoughtful and insightful. Thank you for putting such time and effort into it.

    Like

  6. Hey Kendall, thanks for liking and following my post The Rambling Rainbow Dog. I love the space you have carved out in the blogosphere. This posts makes me wince. I do what I can, and what I think is maybe more than some, but it is probably never enough. I give because I love to know that someone else is better off as a direct result of my action, but I know my actions are never entirely altruistic. I get pleasure from giving and it makes me feel good. Is it my ego driving me, or my spirit? A philosophical conundrum which doesn’t stop anyone’s hunger. Thanks for your wonderful space!

    Like

  7. Thanks for your piece,i read this article a while back ,i guese didn’t comment,Wao you are in touch with your”inner”not many can travel past in time and reflect on child dream’thats cool.When we grow ,those same dream are full filled it’s just a portal away.Good evening.

    Like

  8. We seek alliance with non-profits to change inequitable government policy. I find this Princeton study startling, on their overall effectiveness at representing the needs of Average Joe: “Interest groups do have substantial independent impacts on policy, and a few groups (particularly labor unions) represent average citizens’ views reasonably well. But the interest group system as a whole does not. Over-all, net interest group alignments are not significantly related to the preferences of average citizens. The net alignments of the most influential, business-oriented groups are negatively related to the average citizen’s wishes. So existing interest groups do not serve effectively as transmission belts for the wishes of the populace as a whole.” Overall, our personal, direct action may be more effective.
    https://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/Gilens%20homepage%20materials/Gilens%20and%20Page/Gilens%20and%20Page%202014-Testing%20Theories%203-7-14.pdf

    Like

  9. Kendall, Thank you for checking out my blog. Just the other day a post surgical patient asked me what I wanted to do. It was such an open ended question ( and he was waking from sedation) – I didn’t know what to say. I went ahead and said it.

    I want to make a difference.

    I’d forgotten I’d said it until reading your blog. Thank you for reminding me to stay convicted.

    Susan

    Like

  10. Hello, my friend Kendall!
    I am too glad you are following my blog now!
    I would like to thank you for this and leave a message of support for you…
    Trust yourself and go ahead! Each heart you touch with your words sounds like the sound of your victory. It is the prove of your contribution to the people. As you said before, it can libarates your soul.
    I keep trying and spreadind my thoughts and words around and I hope to touch other hearts like you did with me! Thank you again. Sergio Batista Coach

    Like

Add your voice

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s