By Jon Nevett, President and CEO, Public Interest Registry
When we planned our “10 Days of .ORG” celebration to honor the mission-driven organizations that stood out in 2020, my colleagues and I at the Public Interest Registry didn’t know we’d be in the most acute days of the COVID crisis. But in a way, it’s apt, as over the last two weeks we’ve been able to tell the world about some truly remarkable organizations and people who healed, helped, and inspired at a time when we all need it most. They are the best of the best.
Organizations, such as Days for Girls International, which is dedicated to improving the health, education, and livelihood of millions of women and girls around the world, really stepped up. When the Pandemic hit, it created the #Masks4Millions and Periods Don’t Pause for Pandemics campaigns that brought together thousands of volunteers to assist in preventing the spread of COVID-19 by championing hygiene advocacy and ensuring resources reached communities in need. Kayla Cares 4 Kids, an organization Kayla Abramowitz founded at the age 11, collects and donates entertainment and educational items to children’s hospitals nationwide.
Across the spectrum, from championing equity and equality to combating hunger to advocating for environmental sustainability, organizations around the world looked beyond their own problems to make communities stronger and better. Change Labs was honored for its work to support entrepreneurs within the Navajo and Hopi Nations. Food For Free improves access to healthy food within the Boston community by rescuing food that would otherwise go to waste and creating new distribution channels to under-served populations. Finally, the Mangrove Action Project was recognized for its work to protect the world’s mangrove forests.
Arwa Damon, a CNN Senior International Correspondent, created INARA (International Network for Aid, Relief and Assistance) to provide life-altering medical care for war-wounded children from conflict areas who have catastrophic injuries or illnesses and are unable to access treatment.
Similarly, Crisis Tracker came to the aid of vulnerable citizens by developing a geospatial database and reporting tool to track and analyze armed group activity and conflict-related incidents in remote regions of Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan.
Whether a major non-profit or a cause started at the family kitchen table, they all share a passion to help. SMASH was honored for its work to build and support a diverse and socially conscious tech workforce. The Child Rescue Coalition took the prize for promoting a safer Internet for its work to build technology for law enforcement—free of charge—to track, arrest, and prosecute child predators. Thus far, they have helped rescue 2,900 children and arrest more than 12,000 criminals.
These organizations embody what motivates PIR every day. They are filled with selfless people who throughout even in the toughest of years looked beyond themselves to their communities. They are not alone. PIR created the .ORG Impact Awards in 2019 to honor mission-driven organizations, and in just our second year of honorees we were blown away by the response. We received over 500 global submissions, large and small, across the nine categories. Judges from all walks of life helped narrow down to a prestigious list of finalists and select a winner in each of our nine categories.
The hardest part of the awards program was selecting one organization for our .ORG of the Year winner from all the worthy candidates. After much consideration, Days for Girls, the winner of the Combatting Coronavirus category, was also selected as 2020 .ORG of the year. We offer them congratulations, and thanks, for all they did to help communities withstand the pandemic. PIR is proud to donate $45,000 to Days for Girls International to advance their efforts.
All of our 2020 .ORG Impact Award honorees received charitable donations, and PIR promoted them on social media and other media platforms in hopes of putting a spotlight on their work. But it’s less what we can do for them and more about what they do for us—inspiring people in communities to get involved and make a difference.
Ultimately, that’s what .ORGs are about and PIR, the people behind .ORG, never loses sight of that and we can’t wait to continue to support the work of our .ORG community in 2021.
Congratulations to all the winners, finalists, and nominees!