Thank You, Helpers: .ORGs Help Heal a Hurting World

By Jim LeFevre, Senior Director of Marketing Public Interest Registry

Fred Rogers (known best as “Mr. Rogers”) often told this story about when he was a boy and would see scary things on the news: “My mother would say to me, ‘look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.” As 2020 comes to a close, PIR wants to thank the helpers—the.ORGS that have worked on the frontlines of COVID-19, fought for racial justice, striven to guarantee a quality education for all children, and have made an incredible impact on the communities they serve. In one of the most challenging years many have ever lived through, .ORGS have helped make the world safer, more just, and better informed. And for this, we are so grateful. 


COVID-19 Responders

When the pandemic began, .ORGS around the world had to find a way to continue their missions. That meant asking employees and volunteers to work from home when possible, moving team meetings online, and using other virtual ways of keeping in touch. COVID-19 changed the way .ORGS needed to communicate with supporters and donors, as we profiled in this piece. Many .ORGS, like the World Health Organization, www.who.org; UNICEF, www.unicef.org; Team Rubicon, www.teamrubiconusa.org; the Salvation Army, www.salvationarmy.org; the American Nurses Foundation, www.nursingworld.org; along with so many more, pivoted to provide direct support to those affected by COVID-19. Days for Girls, www.daysforgirls.org, an organization that enlists volunteers around the world to create and sell menstrual supply kits to women and girls, quickly added to their work and began sewing and distributing masks, through their Masks4Millions campaign, as did many organizations, big and small.


Social Justice Warriors

The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Aubrey woke up our country, inspiring millions to demonstrate for, learn about, and work harder toward combating racial injustice creating a more just society. In order to educate and advocate, .ORGs immediately got to work. Racial Equity Tools, www.racialequitytools.org, offered an extensive resource library to learn about racial equity, justice, and societal change. For children and their parents, Sesame Workshop, www.sesameworkshop.org, created a series of town halls with CNN, including one on racism in which Elmo’s dad explains protesting and the Black Lives Matter movement. And the Anti-Defamation League, www.adl.org, offered a guide for children 11 and up and their families to help them discuss racial bias and law-enforcement. On the frontlines of social change were www.bailproject.org, which provides bail assistance, court date reminders, transportation and other support to low-income individuals; the Loveland Foundation, www.lovelandfoundation.org, which connects black women and girls to free mental health services; and Color of Change, www.colorofchange.org, the largest online racial justice organization in the country.


Education Heroes

Back to school looked different for many this year. Some students returned to classrooms, but many others remained virtual. Luckily, .ORGs like Keeping Kids in School, www.kkis.org, an educational organization in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and Teach for America, www.teachforamerica.org, which addresses educational inequity in the United States, offered solutions for students, teachers, and parents. Many others also stepped up to the plate, sometimes literally, to give kids what they need. It’s very hard to focus on schoolwork with an empty stomach. No Kid Hungry, www.nokidhungry.org, brought nearly $34.5 million in emergency relief to hundreds of schools and community groups. Through their free meal finder, families can enter their addresses to find no-cost, healthy meals in their communities. The Kids in Need Foundation (KINF), www.kinf.org, offered U.S. kids school supplies free of charge. The kit includes three folders, two notebooks, pencils, crayons, markers, erasers, and an uplifting note, all in a new backpack. And, the American Academy of Pediatrics, www.healthychildren.org offered guidelines for in-person teachers on how to set up desks, manage lunchtime, encourage hand washing, and enforce social distancing.


How grateful we are for all .ORGS have done this year—and continue to do on behalf of so many. But saying thank you isn’t enough. As President John F. Kennedy said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” At PIR, we, literally, do live for this! Join us as we celebrate the work of .ORGs during the 2020 .ORG Impact Awards, www.orgimpactawards.org, a 10-day digital gala launching the end of this month. You can read about our finalists and learn about entering your .ORG next year!