If you're like me, your inbox is overflowing with nonprofits all wanting a slice of whatever your year-end budget might be. And if you're like me, that budget isn't much...so I want to be very purposeful in choosing organizations I can trust to maximize the donation I am capable of contributing.
The greatest "think global, act local" donation you can make is in and through your local church. Our church hosts an entire organization that exists to meet the needs of Birmingham area families in crisis, and gives strategically to ministries that serve everyone from families in India to orphans in Haiti all the way back to our own personal children through creative and high quality programming. So if you can only give to one? Give to your/a church.
Beyond giving through a great church, here are a few ministries near and dear to our family's heart. We have personally worked with each on some level, and can more than vouch for their integrity and discretion in using funds to impact people in need. Happy giving!
First Priority is a campus ministry organization that empowers students to lead on their campuses. I have observed the team behind this organization for well over a decade and have experienced its effectiveness from many perspectives. The Captain was a student leader in his high school's FP club and now finds himself helping to manage the organization. First Priority is an incredible resource for all students, parents, and teachers of faith in the public school setting. There is currently a matching challenge under way (only through Dec. 31st), and any dollar you give toward this wonderful organization will be doubled!
Altar84 is a newer organization that is working to fill a big hole in the orphan care world, which is to mentor churches in launching effective orphan care ministries. Serving orphans is never as easy as it should be, and the path to getting the right kind of help to the right groups of people can be tricky. Altar84 is working to help bridge that gap, and to do so well. They also work hand in hand with the Haiti Collective, which serves families all across the ravaged nation.
ABCH is a fantastic organization that has more than withstood the test of time. They train and equip foster parents across our state to serve children and families in crisis, and they do so with utmost excellence. They also host Pathways Professional Counseling, which includes a team of precious and gifted therapeutic counselors. In working with them through our own pursuit of foster care licensing as well as with them through the Unfailing Love Retreat, we have seen firsthand the powerful bank of compassion and wisdom that exists within the ABCH. We are thrilled to count many of their staff as our friends!
Lifeline is the Birmingham-based (with sites in numerous states across the nation) adoption agency who helped find a family for our Pearl Girl. We will forever be enamored with this awesome team of hard working and gifted ladies and gentlemen who helped us through a very difficult journey...one that ended with our little Pearl! What we admire about Lifeline is that they are not only working hard to find families for orphans, they're also working hard through (un)adopted to serve those who will sadly never be eligible for adoption. They're also working hard to serve families in crisis in the greater Birmingham area through the training of foster parents, and to serve birth mothers in crisis from all over the nation by equipping them to mother their child or, depending on the circumstances, to make an adoption plan.
I can barely type this organization without getting a tiny bit teary-eyed. Kupendwa was by far my favorite stop in my jam-packed trip to Uganda this summer. This home takes in girls who are pregnant...most by rape, some through sex trafficking, and some girls even as young as 11 years old. They are raped, impregnated, then turned out of their villages in disgust...all through absolutely no fault of their own. Can you think back to being 11 years old and imagine being in the shoes of some of these girls? It is heart-breaking. But Kupendwa, owned and managed by the greatest Southern belle Uganda has ever seen, reaches out to and welcomes in these girls. They help them deliver their babies in a safe and clean environment, and then work hard to help them nurture a relationship with their children. They nurture these girls throughout their time at Kupendwa, and also equip them with a skill to help ensure they can provide for their family once they are transitioned back to their village or to a new home. What happens there is amazing, and sometimes I still look back over the pictures and videos of their smiling faces and am awestruck.
Mercy for Mamas is a wonderful organization that helps to PREVENT orphans by providing sterile birthing supplies to pregnant women in Uganda. It was thanks to my trip this summer with Mercy for Mamas that I was able to visit Kupendwa. Read more about MfM here, here, and here...and here.
We LOVE Compassion International, largely because they are in difficult places and societies that no one else can yet reach. A monthly donation of $35 can help make sure a child can have access to nutritious food, clean water, healthcare, and both academic and spiritual education....mostly, by sponsoring a child, that ensures a child doesn't become a poverty orphan. Writing to our sponsored child (Eva in Liberia) is always something we have to work hard to do, but pictures from the CI Instagram feed always remind us that someone is waiting desperately to hear a word of encouragement from us!
Hope one of these resonates with you today. Pick one and give what you can before the end of year clock winds down! Happy giving, friends!