Nonprofit Social Innovation Hub

The COVID-19 pandemic left no nonprofit or philanthropic organization untouched, from a human service nonprofit coping with unprecedented demand to an arts organization unable to welcome guests to their venue. The ongoing disruptions have been massive in scope. While conducting our survey on the impacts of COVID-19 to the nonprofit sector, we heard hundreds of stories like these from nonprofits across the state.

But we also heard stories of incredible innovation.

Some nonprofits adopted new technology to continue their services; others pivoted to new business models to fulfill their missions. That inspired us to launch the Nonprofit Social Innovation Hub, where organizations can find ideas and inspiration from their colleagues in the nonprofit community. Your responses here will contribute to an indispensable resource and help lift up the sector.

Globe

Why the ASU Foundation now accepts cryptocurrency donations — and believes others will have to join them

Last year, the ASU Foundation made the decision to accept donations in the form of cryptocurrency, joining the trend of nonprofits and philanthropic organizations that have started doing the same. The reason for this: demand. “Alumni wanted to donate crypto,” said Daniel McAuley, a member of the Next Generation Council of the ASU Foundation.

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Nourish PHX

Nourish PHX partnership connects local growers to people in need

A new nonprofit collaboration hopes to increase fresh produce donations within the Phoenix area. Enter Fresh Food Connect, a food donation mobile app that is pushing the boundaries for how gardeners can provide fruits and vegetables to the community, and Nourish PHX, a nonprofit fighting poverty in Phoenix since the 1980s.

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Fresh Start takes to Zoom, implements new strategies to support women making big changes

When Fresh Start Women's Foundation made the difficult choice to shut down the center in March 2020 because of COVID-19, staff faced the challenge before them head-on: How do we keep serving women? Two weeks later, with a combination of teamwork, determination and ingenuity, Fresh Start took to Zoom, offering all core programs and services virtually.

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Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters

How Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters adapted to COVID-19, from letter-writing to Zoom

Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters bears an important mission: Create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. In 2020 the nonprofit found a way to turn the uncertainty of the pandemic into a step towards innovation within their operations.

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Foundation for Blind Children

Foundation for Blind Children goes global

The Foundation for Blind Children expanded its reach to not just Phoenix families, but a national and global audience through a series of webinars and online programs for children who are blind or visually impaired and their families.

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Joy Bus team members

Joy Bus Diner, a restaurant for good

After years of cooking meals for people going through cancer treatments, Jennifer Caraway came to the board with a business idea: open up a commercial kitchen and diner. Two days a week, they use the kitchen to prepare the meals for their nonprofit clients, then the rest of the week they open up as a diner to create an earned revenue stream for the organization.

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Free Arts

Worry monsters and hope packets: How Free Arts for Abused Kids of Arizona pivoted through COVID

As Free Arts for Abused Kids of Arizona got further into the pandemic, they developed “to-go art projects” that they started to deliver across the Valley. From April through August 2020, they delivered over 8,000 of these projects to more than 2,000 children across the Valley.

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ShelterShare

Online shopping for good

ASU student Anthony Valencia founded the nonprofit organization ShelterShare, an online platform that connects members of a community to local shelters and allows them to buy specific items of need.

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Monique LaFlomme

How a Prescott school district reinvented student support during the pandemic year

It has been the year of great change and challenge. With incredible staff coming together with profound creativity and resilience, we have been able to successfully overcome one of the hardest years educators have experienced and carry on with promise.

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AMTA conference virtual

How the American Modeling Teachers Association adapted alongside the educators it serves

The American Modeling Teachers Association continued to support educators across the country during the pandemic as they faced new instructional challenges.

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SVDP urban farm

Society of St. Vincent de Paul turns a parking lot into produce

The mission of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Arizona is to house, clothe, feed and heal people in the community, as well as to provide service and volunteer opportunities. They accomplish this with a number of standard programs, such as a dining room and health clinics. However, they’ve been able to break the mold in several ways, both before and during the pandemic, and forge innovative programs and partnerships.

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Prescott Center for the Arts contest winner

With performances disrupted, Prescott Center for the Arts innovates to serve patrons and community

Despite COVID-19 canceling shows and postponing performances, Prescott Center for the Arts used the pressures of the pandemic to create opportunities for engagement and innovation so that communities could still experience all facets of the arts, safely.

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Our Neighbor's Farm and Pantry

Small-town food pantry finds big solutions during pandemic

At Our Neighbors Farm & Pantry in Safford, Ariz., donations have taken a drastic downturn - especially in bread, which is down 80%. But the nonprofit has shown resilience by reaching out to local businesses to form unique partnerships and put food on the tables of community members.

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Teen Lifeline volunteer

Teen Lifeline answered the call for youth in need of support

Nikki Kontz, the clinical director for Teen Lifeline, said they immediately saw that teens were going to need their services “more than ever.” They received twice as many texts as the previous year, and overall use of the hotline increased as well. Members at the organization thought these would go down as the summer went on, but they continued to climb. Learn how the organization handled the challenges.

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Share your success story

What has worked for your organization? Share your successes during this time of disruption. Responses will be collected on our website, and a Lodestar Center staffer may contact you for more details.
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