From caring for the vulnerable to pursuing equity to inspiring creativity, these nonprofits are building resilience in Raleigh.
by Susanna Klingenberg
Gathering, feasting, cheering on your team: November is a time when tradition reigns. And one of those traditions is often based in gratitude, taking a pause to reflect on what we’ve been given and how we can give back in return. This November, we’re highlighting 25 Triangle organizations that are building resilience in our region. Whether they care for the vulnerable, pursue equity, nurture community or inspire creativity, your time, in-kind donations or money can help make their missions a reality. This list is by no means comprehensive — our community is bursting with organizations that deserve our support. But as you feel moved during the holiday season, we hope you will give generously to the nonprofits supporting this region we love.
Headquartered in Raleigh, Becoming rentABLE allows people with disabilities around the world to find short-term vacation rental properties that meet their needs. Says founder and executive director Lorraine Woodward: “We should all have the opportunity to travel with our family or attend a work function, college reunion, funeral or wedding. Regardless of ability, we should all have the chance to live our best lives.” www.becomingrentable.com
Black Box Dance Theatre
Black Box Dance Theatre creates and performs nonfiction modern dance and offers movement workshops to people of all ages and abilities. Their performances call on unexpected collaborators — including active duty military, the USO and the National Science Foundation — to make dance a catalyst for human interaction and powerful storytelling. www.blackboxdancetheatre.org
Called to Peace Ministries
Called to Peace Ministries offers faith-based advocacy, support groups and practical assistance to victims of domestic abuse both locally and across the nation. Through their church partnership program, they provide support for victims and education to church leaders who hope to respond more effectively and empathetically to this complex issue in their congregations. www.calledtopeace.org
Children’s Flight of Hope
Children’s Flight of Hope believes that distance and the cost of travel should never prevent a child from receiving critical medical care. CFOH flies children and guardians to specialized medical care for the duration of their health-care journey, no matter the number of flights.
ComMotion builds community and improves well-being through adaptive and inclusive movement programs for people of all ages and abilities, including cancer survivors, military veterans, seniors and kids. “It’s amazing to see the power of movement and music,” says executive director Robin McCall. “It can bring a smile to the face of a veteran battling PTSD and allow a person with dementia to sing when they can no longer speak.” www.commotionnc.org
Empower All, Inc.
Empower All, Inc. provides culturally affirming, identity-centered STEAM education in classrooms with the goal of increasing the number of BIPOC youth in STEAM fields. Says founder Valencia Hicks-Harris: “We want to eradicate barriers and stigma, offer access to a holistic education, and empower all students to access their inner genius.”
Environmental Educators of NC
Remember the awe you felt watching a chrysalis hatch? The wonder at a mountainscape when you learned about its history? For those memories, you can thank an environmental educator. Environmental Educators of NC supports these teachers of all stripes by building connections, providing professional development and promoting excellence in environmental education. “We help the teachers working to inspire a more just and sustainable world,” says executive director Lauren Pyle. www.eenc.wildapricot.org
The Fellowship Home of Raleigh
The Fellowship Home of Raleigh is a pair of community homes for people in the early days of substance abuse recovery. In the Boylan Heights mens’ house and the North Raleigh womens’ house, residents work, pay rent, do chores and attend regular recovery meetings. The Fellowship Home provides three meals a day and abundant emotional and logistical support, with the goal of returning residents to the community as sober, responsible citizens.
For some, being a dad can feel overwhelming and lonely. Fathers Forever meets dads where they are, offering support, parenting education and encouragement. In its 12-week, hands-on parent-mentoring course, participants practice communicating with their kids and learning how to manage the responsibilities of fatherhood, so they can stay involved as positive role models. www.afatherforever.com
Freedom Ride Rescue
Freedom Ride Rescue matches unwanted dogs and puppies with volunteer foster homes, where the animals learn to trust and love until they find their forever adoptive family. “There is a magical transformation from a frightened dog into a happy, playful pet that wants to please,” says founder Mollie Doll. “That is why we rescue!” www.freedom-ride.org
The Gilbert Scholarship
Gilbert Scholarship, Inc. helps fund college for young adults from foster care at a time in their journey when they often lose support and stability. The scholarship was created by Darlena Moore, a former foster youth who aged out of the system, in honor of her own foster parents.
The Great Raleigh Cleanup
The Great Raleigh Cleanup is on a mission to ensure that everyone can live in a litter-free neighborhood. Once a week, residents organize on MeetUp and gather to clean up trash at a specific site around the city. Their goal? Leave the space 100% better than they found it. They occasionally organize kid-friendly Greenway events, too, so the whole family can help. www.raleighcleanup.org
Haven House Services
Haven House Services operates 10 youth programs, including Wrenn House, the Triangle’s only emergency shelter for youth ages 10 to 17 experiencing homelessness or crisis. After serving the community for nearly 50 years, Haven House has its first-ever permanent home. Support its new agency headquarters, which offers more space for Triangle youth to be safe, supported and successful. www.havenhousenc.org
Nearly 15% of local college students experienced homelessness during the pandemic — a problem that will likely worsen as costs of living and tuition increase and affordable housing in Wake County decreases. HOST, short for Housing Options for Students Today, matches college students who need short-term housing with vetted hosts who provide a safe, private, affirming space in their home. www.hostnc.org
By offering free, in-person coding education and job training, Justice Redeemed helps women and minorities obtain tech industry jobs, creating pathways to increased income and stability. Participants get a monthly stipend during the six-month course and a computer when they finish. Says executive director Dax Palmer, “It’s a way to say to participants, We value you. We see what you can bring to the community.” www.justiceredeemed.com
The Kramden Institute
The Kramden Institute began with a father and his 13-year-old son working together to refurbish computers for deserving families. Their work has since grown to include wider hardware donations, adult computer classes, STEM after-school classes and computer camps. They may also be a good landing spot for your old equipment. “We continue to need corporate and household computer donations, no matter how old, working or not,” says Cyndy Yu-Robinson, Kramden’s executive director. www.kramden.org
Inequitable early childhood education can funnel students into a lifetime of tough experiences in school. Learning Together, a “super-inclusive developmental day center” in downtown Raleigh, directly addresses inequities around race, socioeconomic status and abilities. By welcoming a deliberately diverse group of kids with and without developmental delays, they hope to inspire lifelong learning based on empathy and creativity. www.learningtogether.org
The North Carolina Agromedicine Institute
Jobs in agriculture are some of the most dangerous in America — but The North Carolina Agromedicine Institute wants to change that. “The greatest asset we have in North Carolina agriculture is its people. The Institute considers it a privilege to partner with these individuals on a daily basis to promote their safety, health and emotional wellbeing,” says Robin Tutor-Marcom. This collaboration between three UNC system schools promotes overall health and job safety for farmers, fishermen, foresters and their families. With research-based counsel, on-the-job training and programs like the “Farmer to Farmer” peer mental health line, they support the folks who nourish our state. www.ncagromedicine.org
Pardoned by Christ
Pardoned by Christ Ministries was founded by a Raleigh man who found religion to be his path forward after incarceration. Now the organization helps restore the lives of people affected by incarceration and offers men a positive path back to the community. Your contribution funds faith-based support, including transitional housing, life skills training, transportation and employment assistance. www.pardonedbychrist.org
Want an easy way to help relieve hunger in the Triangle? Simply bag up nonperishable food items and leave them on your porch on your designated pick-up day; PORCH takes care of the rest. They collect food donations from Raleigh residents and distribute them to community and school food pantries, filling the gaps in our current hunger relief systems. www.porchcommunities.org
Raleigh Music Collective
With its belief in social change through music education, the Raleigh Music Collective offers children of diverse backgrounds music lessons and classes, camps and chamber ensembles. They collaborate with Refugee Hope Partners to offer free violin, viola and cello classes to at-risk refugee students and have expanded free music education to families in South Raleigh at Peach Road Cultural Center. www.theraleighmusiccollective.org
Rise Against Hunger
From its Raleigh headquarters, Rise Against Hunger works to end hunger in communities worldwide. “Rise Against Hunger’s work starts with a meal, and it starts with people in North Carolina helping to make an impact across the nation and the globe,” says senior public relations specialist Hannah Payne. Their meal-packaging program mobilizes volunteers, and the meals are then distributed to people around the world. Last year they were able to impact more than 2.7 million lives. www.riseagainsthunger.org
Triangle Pride Band
The Triangle Pride Band aims to strengthen the community through sharing a love of music and promoting social equity, arts education and queer visibility. Their symphonic concert band, marching pep band and color guard perform across the Triangle at events and concert venues. “We’re simply here to have fun, be proud and make music!” says Andrew Pridgen, trombonist and Pride Band tech director. www.triangleprideband.com
Wake County Animal Shelter
As the county’s only open-admission animal shelter, the Wake County Animal Center takes in all stray, abandoned and surrendered pets — no questions asked. Together with community partners, they treat and rehome thousands of homeless animals every year, making them unsung heroes for both furry and human Wake County residents. www.wakegov.com/departments-government/animal-services
Welcome House Raleigh
Welcome House Raleigh is a five-bedroom, three-bathroom guest house in Raleigh where refugee families can feel safe and loved as they acclimate to a new life and look for permanent housing. Volunteers clean and prepare the house, stock the kitchen with culturally appropriate groceries and provide counsel and friendship. www.welcomehouseraleigh.org
This article was originally published in the November 2022 issue of WALTER magazine.