In episode 80 of Mission: Impact, Carol Hamilton goes solo to celebrate several of the nonprofits that support and enrich her life.
Nonprofit organizations play a crucial role in enriching our lives and communities in various ways. Carol discusses:
The Arc of Montgomery County: https://thearcmontgomerycounty.org/
By Their Side: https://www.bytheirside.org/
The Sibling Leadership Network: https://siblingleadership.org/
The Anacostia Watershed Society: https://www.anacostiaws.org/
The Anacostia Riverkeeper: https://www.anacostiariverkeeper.org/
Washington Area Bicyclist Association: https://waba.org/
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Carol Hamilton: Nonprofits support so many aspects of our lives, yet the sector can be somewhat invisible to many. Most people could probably name the well known organizations, including Goodwill, the YMCA, Harvard University, and the Red Cross. Yet nonprofit organizations enrich our lives in many ways. In fact, there are 1.5 million nonprofits in the US. And with about 10 million around the world, the US has 15% of the world's nonprofits. Nonprofits represent 5.7 of the US economy.
Welcome to episode 80 of Mission Impact. Today I'm going to explore the nonprofits that enrich and support my life. Mission Impact is the podcast for nonprofit leaders who want to build a better world without becoming a martyr to the cause. I'm Carol Hamilton, your podcast host and nonprofit strategy consultant. On this podcast, we explore how to make your organization more effective and innovative. We dig into how to build organizational cultures where your work in the world is aligned with how you work together as staff, board members and volunteers. And all of this for the purpose of creating greater Mission Impact. Mission impact is brought to you by Grace Social Sector Consulting. Grace social sector consulting brings you whole brain. Strategy consulting for nonprofits and associations.
We help you move your mission forward, engage all voices and have fun while we're doing it. And we combine left Brain strategy and analysis with right brain wisdom about human complexities for a proven whole brain, whole organization process through which every stakeholder thrives. Reach out to us for support and facilitation of strategic planning, mapping your impact, auditing your services, and getting an organizational assessment. We especially love working with staff, nonprofits and associations with human-centered missions.
My older brother is profoundly deaf, autistic and developmentally disabled. His disabilities stem from an illness that he got when he was just seven months old. A number of the nonprofits that I'm involved in are because of my brother, and in fact, the work that I do is probably inspired by that experience growing up. The first I will highlight is the Arc of Montgomery County. The Arc is part of a national organization network of organizations of local and state organizations supporting people with developmental disabilities. Its mission is to connect people of all ages and abilities with their communities to build inclusive and fulfilling lives. My brother has been supported by the Arc since he was 21 years old and moved into his first group home.
The Arc also supports my brothers during the day. He is now retirement age and volunteers with a group at a local farm and goes swimming regularly. That is his favorite thing. Another nonprofit that helps in ensuring that my brother lives a fulfilling life is By Their Side. By Their Side's mission is to guide families and provide advocacy for Marylanders with an intellectual or developmental disability. And By Their Side believes that everyone deserves respect, choices and quality of life. And they support their mission by providing lifelong personal advocacy for those that they serve, protecting individuals’ legal rights, guiding individuals and families through the maze of the surface delivery system, and assisting families with transition planning. While my younger sister and I are my brother's co guardians, having a personal advocate assigned to Graham from by their side brings another important voice to the table to advocate on his behalf. By Their Side's advocates are experts in the disability system and help us navigate all of the ins and outs of the multitude of rules and regulations that are part of that system.
Being the sibling of a person with a disability is definitely a unique experience and brings its own joys and challenges. When parents are overwhelmed by caring for a person with extra needs, it can mean that the rest of the children have to grow up fast and take on responsibilities they may not be fully prepared for.
I certainly don't remember a time when I wasn't my brother's keeper. While in the past, most of the resources and organizations focused on people with disabilities centered the person and their parents, the Sibling Leadership Network filled a gap of overlooked group siblings and a group that I'm part of. The organization is a national network, and its mission is to provide siblings of individuals with disabilities the information, support and tools to advocate with their brothers and sisters and promote issues important to them and their entire families. I've participated in state and national level conferences sponsored by the Sibling Network and have found much commonality with other siblings who attend this organization. Its chapters around the country provide younger siblings with resources, including sip shops for them to connect with other siblings and talk about their unique experience and process their feelings about it.
This is an amazing opportunity that I wish I had when I was growing up. Having caretaking responsibilities for a person with a disability can impact major life decisions of siblings, and having people to talk about those with who get your situation is a real asset, and there's always so much to learn.
As an advocate, it's a great resource. I'm also involved in supporting a variety of organizations, and I don't have time to talk about all of them, but a couple that have enriched my summer are the Anacostia Watershed Society and Anacostia River Keeper. I live right next to the northeast branch of the Anacostia River. The Anacostia River, which flows through both Maryland and the District of Columbia, has faced significant pollution and environmental degradation due to urban development, industrial activity, stormwater runoff, and inadequate waste management. And if you remember the opening sequence of the TV show House of Cards, the river shows up briefly with a trash strewn bank prominently displayed. But since the 80s, groups have been coming together to clean up the river. The Anacostia Watershed Society was formed in 1989 and has been advocating for the river and working on education and restoration ever since.
Major improvements have happened in recent years because of significant investments in DC in upgrading their sewage system. All of this has made paddling on the river much more enjoyable. We frequently go kayaking from the Bladensburg Waterfront Park and head downstream. This summer, we saw lots of turtles sunning themselves while we were out on the water. We've also seen bald eagles, egrets, blue heron, cumarents and other birds when out paddling.
Sadly, we also see way too many plastic bottles floating in the water too. And one more shout out to a local organization that has enriched my life. I love to bike. When I worked in downtown DC. I was a regular bike commuter. In fact, I have been a proud bike commuter since the 90s, way before it was a popular way to get to work. And since then, the Washington Area Bicycle Association, or WABA, has advocated for increased bike infrastructure throughout the city. In those 30 years, there's been a massive transformation. There are now multiple protected bike lanes throughout the city and the suburbs, and multiple bike trails have been built. And soon a bike beltway will actually circle the entire city. These days, my biking is more local to the pool to swim during the summer or a nice loop in the morning before getting to work. But the trails and bike infrastructure make biking less stressful. So thanks to all the bike advocates who helped make that happen.
And thank you for listening to this episode. I really appreciate the time you spend with me. And you can find the full transcript of this episode and all the episodes, as well as the links to the organization I mentioned. Organizations that I mentioned during the show in the Show Notes at missionimpactpodcast.com/shownotes I'd like to thank Isabelle Strauss-Riggs for her support in editing and production, as well as Cindy Rivera Grazer of 100 Ninjas for her production support. Mission impact is brought to you by Grace Social Sector Consulting. Grace Social Sector Consulting brings you whole brain strategic planning, mapping and audits for nonprofits and associations. If you enjoyed this episode, I'd love it if you would share it on your favorite social media platform and tag me. We appreciate you helping us get the word out. And until next time, thank you for everything you do to contribute and make an impact.
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