Nonprofits to Help in the Age of Coronavirus

As a travel company, Indagare works with partners all over the world who work to improve the lives and livelihoods of their local communities. And now, in a time of crisis, many of these organizations are struggling to survive without the visitors they usually rely on—or the prospect of potential visitors in the near future. It’s all the more pressing to support these organizations whose staff and volunteers are working tirelessly to help.

During our Indagare Global Conversations, our CEO and founder Melissa Biggs Bradley has been asking, via Zoom, fascinating individuals she has met through her travels, who are leaders in their fields—from award-winning wildlife filmmakers to designers in Lebanon to wellness experts—which charitable organizations and NGOs they’re advocating for right now. Here are their causes:

Related: Welcome to Indagare Global Classroom

Aid in Lebanon

In the wake of Beirut’s massive explosion at the sea port on August 4th, you can donate to disaster relief through Lebanon’s Red Cross and Impact Lebanon.

Bokja Design founders Hoda Baroudi and Maria Hibri partnered with the Lebanese Food Bank on a previous collection from their Beirut furniture and design boutique. “It is the best vehicle in Lebanon during this dire time,” says Maria. The food bank works towards short-term relief as well long-term solutions for the quarter of Lebanon’s population living in poverty.

The two also recommend Libami, run by a close friend “who’s given her life since the revolution to put together an NGO that connects resources to the most needy.” Libami works with multiple non-profits across Lebanon, including the Food Bank as the “middle chain” to link individuals with the help they need.

And in the wake of the devastating explosion in Beirut, the Lebanese Red Cross is another recommended organization in need of help.

Disaster Relief in the Bahamas and Beyond

To help the ongoing rebuilding efforts in the Bahamas, designer India Hicks recommends two non-profits. Global Empowerment Mission has helped disaster victims around the world since 2011, funneling millions of dollars into hurricane relief throughout the U.S. and Caribbean, as well as to individuals in need after wildfires in California, the Amazon and Australia and earthquakes in Puerto Rico. (It’s currently working to provide aid during the Coronavirus outbreak.)

IDEA Relief provides critical assistance in the Bahamas during the first 12 to 48 hours after a hurricane to coordinate marine-based evacuations, search-and-rescue efforts, as well as medical and supply-chain support before tairports can open.

Mindfulness & Healing in the Hudson Valley

“We may never reopen unless we get donations,” says mindfulness expert Elizabeth Lesser of the non-profit she co-founded. The Institute hosts workshops, conferences, and retreats that provide hope and healing at their center in Rhinebeck, New York. “Every season we have 35,000 people come to us…I hope it has a place in the post-COVID-19 world.”

Sustainable, Community Development in Marrakech and Around the World

Global Diversity Foundation’s mission is two-fold: protect the environment and enhance people’s wellbeing. Its regional programs mentor local organizations and contribute to migrant justice. It works to “allow people in the mountains to move towards organic farming,” explains Marrakech-based hotelier Meryanne Loum-Martin of this non-profit that her husband founded. “They are also providing food to people who cannot afford it anymore.”

Meryanne co-founded another organization, AFRƎEculture, in collaboration with the Cannes Diversity Collective. Through curated salon events, including film screenings, literature readings, panel discussions and entrepreneurial workshops, AFRƎculture provides a platform to showcase and celebrate the creativity and global impact of Africa and the African diaspora. AFreeCulture

Environmental & Justice Organizations Worldwide

Daniel Katz, co-founder of the Rainforest Alliance, is now the vice president for environmental programming at the Overbrook Foundation, which helps organizations supporting human rights and sustainability around the world through grants (so far totalling nearly $200 million). Grant recipients Katz is particularly excited about: TIDE, a conservation organization managing three protected areas in southern Belize; a democracy initiative for voter registration in the United States, and a fund to prevent rollbacks of environmental regulations.

Scholarships and Food Aid in Rwanda

The Bridge2Rwanda Scholars Program is “mainly focused on scholarships to U.S. colleges for promising Rwandees,” say Josh and Alissa Ruxin, husband-and-wife entrepreneurs and philanthropists, as well as hoteliers in Kigali. The couple has partnered with the organization for several more locally-targeted initiatives as well, including an orphans’ fund, an emergency food bank and a scholarship program for young tennis players. **To Donate to the Ruxin’s local initiatives, select “Other” under your donation Designation, and write in “Ruxin Family Orphans’ Fund.” Alternatively, contact them through Indagare at

Wilderness Conservation in Sub-Saharan Africa

Singita, the safari company behind some of our most beloved lodges in Africa, utilizes non-profit funds and trusts, along with donations and hospitality earnings to funnel money directly into conservation across the continent. “Right now we have one million acres of land protected, and we’re looking to double in size in the next seven years,” says founder Luke Bailes. The three organizations it supports are the Malilangwe Trust in Zimbabwe, the Grumeti Fund in Tanzania and the Singita Lowveld Trust in South Africa.;;

Children’s Welfare in Cambodia

After encountering the heartbreaking image of children living on the Steung Meanchey garbage dump in Phnom Penh on a personal trip to Cambodia, former Holywood executive Scott Neeson started the Cambodian Children’s Fund, which takes a holistic, on-the-ground approach to fighting poverty by bringing education, leadership, community outreach, healthcare, childcare, and vocational training to families living in these areas.

Nonprofit Support and Local Artisans in India

For aid to some of the most vulnerable individuals and families in India, Fiona Caulfield, author of the series Love India, suggests donating to Give India, a 20-year old organization that directs proceeds to accredited NGOs best equipped to get immediate supplies, such as food and sanitation rations, to communities in need.

Fiona also recommends donating to Women Weave, which has started a fund to help their 400 artisan families stay afoot during these challenging times. Donate to the COVID-19 Contingency Fund here:

Anti-Poaching Efforts in Kenya and Botswana

In discussing how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting regions in Africa, we learned from Great Plains founders Dereck and Beverly Joubert that poaching has become a serious threat to wildlife, now more than ever, as poachers roam freely in unpoliced areas. The award-winning National Geographic Society filmmakers initially established Great Plains Conservation, which manages wildlife reserves in Kenya and Botswana, including luxury lodges and tented camps, in order to preserve some of Africa’s wildest places.

Community Investment in Napa

Napa Valley wine pioneer Bill Harlan spoke about the importance of the Napa Valley Wine Auction for the winemaking community. While the auction will not take place for the first time this year since it began in 1981, he mentions that “it’s been a wonderful thing both for all of us in the wine growing community as well as the community at large and in the community, all coming together and working for something beyond just individuals, or even, I think our lifetimes. That’s something that will be here for generations.”

Mexico NGO Support

Mexico City-based interior designer and former executive director of Design Miami, Rodman Primack recommends donating to El Día Después, a foundation established by Diego Luna that helps distribute funds to vetted organizations throughout Mexico.

Fashion Industry Grants

Vogue, in partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, recently repurposed the grant and application-based CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund—initially established in 2001 following September 11—into a COVID-19 relief fund. This initiative, recommended by Vogue’s Head of Fashion Initiatives Ricke De Sole, and now called A Common Thread, aims to raise money and awareness for those within the industry who have been most significantly affected by the pandemic.

In addition to A Common Thread, Rickie de Sole also suggests donating to Memorial Sloan Kettering, one of the world’s leading cancer research hospitals, here in New York City, reflecting that “it’s an amazing time to be supporting people in the healthcare field.”

Meals for those in Need in the U.S.

World Central Kitchen is “doing a lot of amazing work getting food to people who need it all over the country, whether it’s people in low income areas, people in remote areas, frontline workers,” says Howie Kahn, contributing editor to the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Magazine. The nonprofit from chef José Andrés has delivered more than 17 million meals to areas impacted by natural disasters and other crises around the world. Now, it’s activating restaurants around the United States and beyond to help feed medical professionals and to support the restaurant industry and its workers.

Pre-K Funding for Children of Undocumented Workers in Napa Valley

Chris Kostow, executive chef at The Restaurant at Meadowood, remarks that “historically, the charities that we work with are hyper local, most of our dollars go to something called St Helena Preschool For All, which pays for preschool education for the children of undocumented workers in the valley.” And during COVID-19, his team has been working with a local organization to serve food to those same families.

Internet Access for Rural Peruvian Schools

Internet access is still a challenge in more rural Peruvian areas, and especially during this period of mandatory virtual learning, presents a problem for the country’s student population. Peruvian Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism Roger Martín Valencia Espinoza recommends donating to Camino del Apu Ausangate. With the help of Andean Lodges, donations will be compiled to purchase a satellite dish for the School of Chilca, a small, local school. Contact Juan Carlos Flores of Andean Lodges for more information:

Food Supplies and Conservation in Kenya

Clothing, jewelry and accessories designer Anna Trezbinski is based in Nairobi, Kenya. Acknowledging the impact of COVID on both her business and Kenya at large, Anna recommends donating to TeamPankaj COVID Relief, which helps feed people in the Kenyan slums during this pandemic, as well as BIG LIFE foundation, which does extraordinary conservation and community work, employing hundreds of local rangers to protect wildlife.;

Support for Victims of Domestic Violence in the UK

Journalist and author of acclaimed memoir Socialism is Great!, Lijia Zhang, recommends donating to Women’s Aid. This UK-based organization supports women and children that suffer domestic violence. Particularly during a time of forced familial isolation, throughout COVID, Lijia feels strongly about supporting organizations like Women’s Aid.

Wildlife Conservation in California and around the World

Alix Goldsmith Marcaccini, the sophisticated proprietress of Hacienda de San Antonio—a historic working ranch in the mountains near Colima, Mexico—and Cuixmala, a coastal estate about two hours away, recommends contributing to Eric Goode’s Turtle Conservancy, which works to conserve turtle species in their natural habitats, restore natural populations and prevent illegal trade. She also supports the Ojai Raptor Center, dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of birds of prey and other wildlife in California.;

Children’s Organizations in Morocco

French couturier Stephan Janson and Italian garden designer and writer Umberto Pasti are in the process of establishing a charitable organization that takes care of Moroccan street children who have been abandoned by their families or escaped difficult conditions. It will be called Friends of Rohuna. They also support the Association Darna Théatre, which assists Moroccan street children, most of whom arrived in Tangier from the countryside and survive as beggars. The association feeds them, supports them as they pursue careers as professional actors or acrobats, and keeps them away from the street.

Architecture & Monument Preservation around the World

Design authority and Architectural Digest editor Mitch Owens recommends supporting the World Monuments Fund and the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art. He says, “I’m a huge fan of World Monuments Fund, which does amazing work all around the world on the preservation of cultural heritage. I’m also a huge fan of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art.” The latter’s educational programs for students and adults promotes the understanding of and appreciation for classical design.;

Conservation and Ranger Support in Kenya & Beyond

The longtime Conservation Manager at Ol Jogi, Jamie Gayner encourages donations to the wildlife conservancy in central Kenya. “We appreciate everything we get,” he says, “because we are a not for profit that is run at a significant loss. Any visitor who comes to stay at Ol Jogi is paying for the conservation.” In addition to donating directly to Ol Jogi, the two other organizations that Jamie recommends supporting are Save the Rhino and For Rangers, which partners with the better known rhinoceros organization and raises awareness and funds for the welfare of the rangers who protect wildlife across sub-Saharan Africa.;;

Help for the Restaurant Industry in America

Camilla Marcus, the restaurateur behind Westbourne, has been an inspiring advocate for the country’s restaurant industry during COVID-19. In partnership with anti-poverty organization Robin Hood, and with the support of some of the top chefs and restaurateurs in New York, Camilla’s organization ROAR seeks to provide financial aid for New York City restaurant workers through direct donations and policy changes. As ROAR’s messaging advises, “Hospitality teams live to take care of guests. Now it’s our turn to take care of them.”

Historic Preservation in Virginia; Support for Cancer Patients; Food Security in the U.S.

“We can either sit around and lick our wounds because we’re all on lockdown or we can do something,” explains designer Charlotte Moss. She’s chosen the latter. Moss is going on her ninth year on the board of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation—where she took her first class trip as a 4th grader—which preserves and operates the founding father’s Monticello plantation and home.

Moss, who lost her brother to leukemia, also contributes to the Bone Marrow Foundation. When she saw what her brother and others were going through she wanted to give back to the people who did not have resources. “I think philanthropy comes out of your interest.” Additionally, she contributes to American Corporate Partners, which helps veterans find their footing in civilian careers, and has initiated instagram challenges benefitting No Kid Hungry and Feeding America.;;;

Anti-Poverty Foundation in Rural Indonesia

Jewelry designer Lorenz Baumer encourages people to donate to the Sumba Foundation, which aims to help ease the poverty of the Sumbanese communities. Lorenz fell in love with the children of these communities, as well as their families, on his recurring visits to Nihi Sumba, and has designed for them his favorite piece of silver jewelry, which is being sold at the hotel for $100. The jewelry is made locally, so that it can continue to be reproduced. Every time one of the pieces is sold, the proceeds provide enough to send six kids to school for one year. While schools in Indonesia are free, the supplies are not, so through this project, they have been able to send about 2,000 kids to school each year.

Women’s Empowerment in Afghanistan, India, Jordan, Kenya Nigeria and South Africa

Gail Straub has dedicated her time to The IMAGINE Program, which empowers women in challenging circumstances to create new possibilities in their lives though a four-day empowerment training program. The workshop, developed by Gail and her husband, helps women identify a compelling vision and a growth strategy to attain their goals, and is currently working in Afghanistan, India, Jordan, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

Food Security in Bangkok

Anna Bjurstam, the VP of Spas & Wellness at Six Senses is currently supporting Thailand’s Covid Relief Bangkok campaign, including its ‘Got Rice?’ offshoot. To help combat food insecurity, Six Senses is donating five kilograms of rice to local Bangkok families for every 100 THB raised.

Integrative Healing; Young Journalist Support; Grief Toolkits in America

Life and career coach Joanne Heyman encourages people interested in integrative care to take a look at the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program, which treats sick patients through such healing modalities as yoga therapy, reiki, essential oil therapy, nutrition, and contemplative care.

Heyman is also a board member of the GroundTruth Project. which places young journalists in newsrooms across the country to help them develop their craft, and works to bring new resources to newsrooms so they can better share local stories.

Heyman is also involved with The Dinner Party, an organization that provides toolkits to individuals and communities struggling with grief. Its aim is to debunk myths or shame around the grieving process, and to create a community around people who are processing through difficult times.

Acts of Kindness around the World

Globetrotting Michael Clinton, who was for a decade the president, marketing and publishing director of Hearst Magazines, founded Circle of Generosity, a non-profit organization borne out of a shared trip to Madagascar. The intention of Circle of Generosity is to grant random acts of kindness to individuals and families that are in need. Now celebrating 10 years, Circle of Generosity has helped individuals all around the world – in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, and beyond.

Community Empowerment in Newfoundland

Zita Cobb founded Fogo Island Inn and her charity, Shorefast, with the belief that we exist in relationship to the whole: the whole planet, the whole of humanity, the whole of existence. It is our job to find ways to belong to the whole while upholding the specificity of people and place. Shorefast’s mission is to build economic and cultural resilience on Fogo Island, where hundreds of locals co-own the inn, and is helping to create a more diverse, global-facing economy on Fogo Island.

Education & Community Development in Ireland

Louise Kennedy, Ireland’s unofficial “First Lady of Fashion,” is passionate about The Ireland Funds, whose mission is harness the power of a global philanthropic network of friends of Ireland to promote and support peace, culture, education and community development across the island of Ireland and among Irish communities around the world.

Conservation in Tanzania

Travel journalist and author Sophy Roberts gives to the Tongwe Trust, set up in 2002 as a community-led forest conservation to secure Ntakata Forest for the Tongwe people as a permanent, cultural heartland. She also supports Singita’s Grumeti

Related: Melissa Biggs Bradley on Staying at Home in the Age of Coronavirus

– Peter Schlesinger on July 30, 2020


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