by Malleana Ruffin, Social Media Manager
Someone very wise once said, “You cannot successfully move forward with a definitive future without first studying the past.”
2019 was our year – .ORG’s year – filled with so much progress and change! Let’s take a quick moment to recap some of the great moments that we were a part of – as individuals behind .ORG, together as employees of PIR, and as an exemplary registry. We strive to support your causes, power your inspirations and connect your communities – because they are ours, too.
In March, some of our team members made a significant impact on the world through their work, which exemplified the core values of .ORG. Our Social Media Manager, Malleana Ruffin, traveled to Uganda for a little over a week, stepping outside of her norm to cook for and feed more than 40 abandoned and orphaned children living in an impoverished situation. She and her three friends utilized social media to share the experience and the living conditions of these children.
Together, the four friends worked to raise over $10,000 – solely using social media – that helped pay tuition for the school-aged kids, fix the pipes and get running water in the house they’re in, purchase food to sustain them for a few months, and build a small convenience store in the front of their home to generate some revenue! They still work to support the children through individual and combined efforts.
Immediately after Malleana returned to the states with a humbled heart and new perspective on life, the FDA invited our CEO, Jon Nevett, and Brian Cimbolic, our Vice President, General Counsel, to their offices for a discussion about methods to fight against the opioid crisis facing today’s society. Additionally, Jon and Brian met with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to discuss PIR’s role in finding and removing Child Sexual Abuse Materials from the Internet.
During April – also known to many in the community as National Volunteer Month – Liz Szabo, our Senior Director of Financial Planning and Analysis, and her family took time out to participate in the Race for Hope which supports the National Brain Tumor Society and Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure.
During their pledge, they were able to raise over $2,000 that went towards brain tumor research!
Public Interest Registry also participated in Bring Your Kids to Work Day. Our small team brought most – if not all – of their younger children to our headquarters in Reston, VA. We partnered with SciGenius to help the children learn a little about STEAM, our team collaborated to inform the kids about being safe online, we showed them how to initiate and manage digital conference calls, and we constructed Lego robots. It was the best day ever, and the children were almost as excited as we all were!
Highlighting our organization’s commitment to volunteering and making a difference in the world, a large contingent of PIR employees traveled to Leesburg, VA in May for a day to support the Loudoun Therapeutic Riding organization for the second year in a row. By helping to make upgrades to the grounds, LTR’s staff was able to focus on the .ORG’s programs and initiatives that empower and improve the lives of people with cognitive, physical and psychological disabilities by using horses as therapy.
In June, we were proud sponsors and supporters of the 2019 Hispanics in Philanthropy conference. Here, many .ORGs operated by and supporting the LatinX community gathered to discuss topics that included best practices in providing cross-organizational support, helping organizations be successful in being truly diverse, understanding the truths that minorities face regarding wealth and investment gaps, and more! As a special treat, Epsy Campbell Barr – the First Vice President of Costa Rica – gave a captivating speech!
Also in June, Brian Cimbolic – who is extremely passionate about our Anti-Abuse policies and programs – spoke to an audience of global law enforcement agencies at ICANN65 about the role of the registry and anti-abuse mitigation in the DNS ecosystem.
In August, our team purchased and packed more than 50 backpacks in support of Collect for Kids’ efforts to help children in need get the school supplies they needed to pave the way to a successful school year.
In October our Education and Outreach efforts and the recognition and celebration of our .ORG community took center stage! First, we joined other registrars and registries to form what we have internally dubbed “the Internet Avengers” – a group of industry-leading organizations who are fighting against DNS Abuse (a program lead by our own Brian Cimbolic). Check out more on the Framework to Address Abuse initiative here.
Also in October, we launched the 2019 .ORG Community Forum, which was created to bring the .ORG community together to discuss and explore common roadblocks and areas of interest. It was led by industry leaders and knowledgeable speakers who inspired attendees and listeners with new ideas and helped them to learn how to navigate through challenges that .ORGs often face. The sessions ranged from Online Brand Protection (led by Statton Hammock of MarkMonitor and featuring panelists from organizations such as AARP, Wikimedia, and American Red Cross) to how non-profits can benefit from the use of videos (a public forum speech by Brian Fanzo of iSocialFanz). Julia Campbell shared some great insight with attendees about the importance of utilizing a website and social media – and the important differences of each. Please feel free to visit www.orgcommunityforum.org for more information and recaps.
While the .ORG Community Forum was created to educate and inspire, we wanted to also recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of individuals and organizations that leverage the .ORG domain to empower change. As a result, we created and presented the inaugural 2019 .ORG Impact Awards. This incredible event was hosted by Amy Landino at The Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC and winning individuals and organizations received up to $5,000 contributed to the non-profit of their choosing.
Some of the categories included Best Integrated Communications Campaign, Outstanding Online Fundraising Campaign, Best Website Redesign, Outstanding Volunteer, The Best #GivingTuesday Campaign, and of course, the .ORG of the Year. The winners in all categories can be found here.
As a surprise to the attending guests and those watching via live stream, the inaugural 2019 .ORG Impact Award Honoree was philanthropist, actor, and author – Taye Diggs!
We recognized him for his exemplary work with .ORGs that provide children with educational and development opportunities, co-creating a Broader Way, and his children’s book series which focuses on youth empowerment and self-acceptance while addressing parental separation, racial diversity, and self-worth.
It was the perfect way for everyone to share in the happiness regarding the future of .ORG! We will absolutely continue the celebration of .ORGs throughout the year and hold our second annual .ORG Impact Awards later in 2020!
In early December, our Senior Executive Assistant, Jennifer Enyeart, volunteered her time (2 weeks in a row!) with Catholic Charities, Diocese of Arlington. Jennifer sorted, packed and unpacked donated food, and made sure that food was not expired before sharing it with disadvantaged families in the community over the holiday season who needed a helping hand.
From all of our individual volunteer service projects to every education and outreach effort we did around the world with our partners and colleagues, we are proud to be the domain associated with trust and honored have the support from a community of individuals and organizations who live and breathe integrity and community aid – thus making the world a better place. Thank you for sticking with us for over 30 years.
We are excited about 2020! We are the people behind .ORG, and we will continue to support and celebrate our .ORG community through our mission-driven organization that you know as PIR.