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November 1st kicks off Nonprofit Awareness Month in communities across North Carolina. This statewide initiative celebrates nonprofits and educates the public about how nonprofit organizations enrich and enliven communities throughout North Carolina.

“Nonprofits are doing herculean work every day in communities all over our state,” said Trisha Lester, vice president of the N.C. Center for Nonprofits. “Now more than ever we need to recognize and celebrate their impact. Most importantly, we need to help everyone understand the value of nonprofits. Where would our communities be without nonprofits’ mission-driven work that touches the lives of all North Carolinians?”

Nonprofits are vital for the quality of life of all North Carolinians. They deliver needed services, such as food banks feeding the hungry. They educate the public on vital issues, such as the dangers of smoking. Nonprofits also find solutions to problems. An example is CrossRoads Sexual Assault Response and Resource Center that was founded after a Burlington woman was sexually assaulted. After she reported the assault, the local newspaper published her name, address, and phone number. Many in that community responded toward her with criticism and disbelief. Others realized the community needed a victims’ advocacy center and a 24-hour crisis line.

Nonprofits engage people in the community through volunteering and serving on boards of directors. These organizations also provide a voice for the voiceless, improve government policies, provide faith-based activities, and nurture our culture.

The nonprofit sector also provides more than 400,000 jobs in North Carolina – almost 10 percent of all jobs in the state. North Carolina is home to 10,000 charitable nonprofits that have annual revenues above $25,000. Smaller community groups are also an important part of civic life in communities from Manteo to Murphy.

The N.C. Center for Nonprofits is collaborating with local nonprofits, educational institutions, and individuals across the state to celebrate Nonprofit Awareness Month. Nonprofits are organizing a variety of initiatives in their local areas. For example, Hospitality House of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County will hold an open house for the general public. County commissions in Henderson, Madison, and Polk counties declared November as Nonprofit Awareness Month in their areas and issued proclamations about how much their communities depend on nonprofits.

The N.C. Center has created a toolkit (http://www.ncnonprofits.org/NAM.asp) to help others get involved. To learn more about nonprofits in your area, see http://www.ncnonprofits.org/member.asp.

The N.C. Center for Nonprofits (www.ncnonprofits.org) is a statewide network for nonprofit board and staff members, an information center on effective nonprofit organizational practices, and an advocate for the nonprofit sector as a whole. Its mission is to enrich North Carolina’s communities and economy through a strong nonprofit sector and nonprofit voice. More than 1,500 nonprofits in all 100 counties of North Carolina are members of the Center.

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