.ORG Unveils Winners Of Annual Impact Awards

The winners of the 3rd annual .ORG Impact Awards, which honor and celebrate mission-driven organizations and individuals, were unveiled today by Public Interest Registry (PIR) in Reston, Va.

The award winners were announced as part of an online global event “Champions for Change.” A recording of the broadcast is available for viewing on YouTube (https://bit.ly/3wtl6eZ).

The competition brought entries from 633 organizations and individuals from more than 40 countries across eight categories: .ORG of the Year, Building Better Communities, Health and Healing in a Time of Pandemic, Championing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Overcoming Climate Change, Providing Quality Education for All, Fighting Hunger and Poverty, and, Rising Stars (leaders 25 years or younger making a difference in their communities).

The .ORG of the Year will receive a donation of $35,000 for an eligible charitable entity of its choice, while the other award winners will receive donations of $10,000.

“Today we celebrate and honor the incredible and inspiring winners of the 2021 .ORG Impact Awards,” said Jon Nevett, President and CEO of PIR. “These organizations — our Champions for Change — have made a profound impact in the lives of so many. The people behind these organizations work tirelessly in pursuit of their missions and to make the world, and their communities, a better place.” 

The winners are:

.ORG of the Year, $35,000 awardADES

The 2021 .ORG of the Year winner is ADES, a mission-driven organization that manufactures energy-efficient stoves in Madagascar and promotes the use of renewable energy. ADES’ work protects the climate, biodiversity, and health while facilitating a path out of poverty in Madagascar.

ADES has been promoting energy-efficient cooking in Madagascar since 2001. The organization now manufactures and distributes solar and fuel-efficient stoves that do not require the use of significant amounts of wood and charcoal. Judges were impressed by ADES’ holistic approach, which educates future generations, develops sustainable manufacturing, empowers women, leads to reforestation, and reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

ADES is also the winner of the 2021 .ORG Impact Award for Overcoming Climate Change. 

Building Better Communities, $10,000 award Litro de Luz Colombia 

Litro de Luz Colombia is a decentralized solar energy company that operates in rural areas and post-conflict zones in Colombia and Latin America. More than 30 million people live without electricity in Latin America, including more than two million in Colombia. Litro de Luz brings public lighting with Wi-Fi Internet to communities in need. Since 2013, Litro de Luz has installed more than 3,100 solar street lights in more than 200 communities, impacting 270,000 people. Their work helps alleviate digital poverty while improving public safety and providing access to the Internet in marginalized communities.  

Health and Healing in a Time of Pandemic, $10,000 award Good Sports

Good Sports, which is headquartered in Boston, Mass., works to give kids in need the benefits of sport and physical activity by providing new equipment, apparel, and footwear to youth organizations in high-need communities. While some families have the ability to afford sports gear, league fees, and travel costs, many do not. As a result, kids are left on the sidelines. Since 2003, Good Sports has given more than eight million kids across the United States and Puerto Rico greater access to sport and fitness opportunities. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Good Sports launched the Restore Play initiative which provided $15 million in equipment and more than 27,000 at-home Play Packs (including 541,000 pieces of sports equipment, apparel, and footwear) to children in need. 

Championing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, $10,000 award MAIA

MAIA educates and prepares indigenous girls in rural Guatemala to become the next generation of empowered female leaders in the country. MAIA focuses on the question: “What would happen if these young women had the opportunity to go as far as their talent could take them?” The organization established The MAIA Impact School in 2017. The school is the first female, indigenous-led secondary school in Central America. MAIA’s pillars of academics, community, and culture work together to create a support system for young women and their families to ensure they can break the cycles of exclusion and poverty. Currently, 239 girls are enrolled in grades seven through eleven. The school helps to prepare students to enter university and the modern workforce.

Overcoming Climate Change, $10,000 award ADES

In addition to being selected the 2021 .ORG of the Year, ADES is also the winner of the Overcoming Climate Change category. During the past two decades, ADES has saved more than two million tons of wood and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 3.5 million tons. The ADES cooker is used in 4% of all households in Madagascar and ADES’ reforestation program has planted more than 430,000 trees with another 100,000 to be planted by the end of this year.  

Providing Quality Education for All, $10,000 award Skateistan

Skateistan, based in Berlin with programs in South Africa, Jordan, and Cambodia, is the first international development organization dedicated to empowering children through education and the power of skateboarding. A 2019 .ORG Impact Award winner, Skateistan provides opportunities to children aged 5 to 17, with a goal of having 50% of its students be girls. The organization runs five programs within its Skate Schools: Outreach, Dropping In, Skate and Create, Back to School, and Youth Leadership. These programs combine life skills with fun, freedom, and creativity to help create leaders for a better world. In total, Skateistan reaches 2,700 children in the countries in which it operates.

Fighting Hunger and Poverty, $10,000 award Zoe Empowers

Zoe Empowers is based in Raleigh, N.C., and works in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Rwanda, Liberia, Tanzania, and India, equipping orphaned children and vulnerable youth with tools and training to help them overcome life-threatening poverty. Zoe Empowers started as a relief mission responding to the 2004 HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. In 2007, after seeing a positive response to its empowerment model in Rwanda, the organization adopted this approach in all countries in which it works. Since then, Zoe Empowers has helped more than 124,000 vulnerable children overcome extreme poverty to achieve self-sufficiency across eight areas of life.

Rising Star Esther Ejiroghene Ajari, $10,000 award, The TriHealthon

Esther Ejiroghene Ajari became involved in community development at age 16, working as a serial volunteer with 25 national and international organizations. Esther, determined that she could do more to help people, founded The TriHealthon in 2018, to lead the effort to achieve health equity in Africa. As part of this work, Esther identified and is addressing five prevalent public health problems affecting young people in Nigeria: period poverty, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, childhood diarrhea, and childhood malnutrition. Through their programs, Esther and The TriHealthon are helping tens of thousands of young people in Nigeria escape the cycle of poverty, improve access to quality education, and live healthier lives.