Leading a Nonprofit in a Pandemic

Sep 19, 2020

Lately, when people ask me “How’s it going?” I more often than not reply with, “Remind me to never lead a nonprofit during a pandemic.”

I’m joking, of course…but seriously, do remind me!

Every single one of us is going through hard, uncertain times right now and are facing worries we have never faced before.

Please know we at Addis Jemari are praying for you, for our country, for Ethiopia, and for the future. When we say send us your prayer requests, we truly mean it. Let us continue to pray for you!

And you can pray for us, too!

My job is to ensure enough money is raised to feed and support more than 200 people halfway across the world during a global pandemic. Let me share with you a few thoughts that race through my mind when I lay my head down at night.

  • How are the AJ Girls and Family Empowerment Program families feeling during Coronavirus? Are they scared? When will school start in Ethiopia?
  • Will we be able to provide Covid-19 Relief food and hygiene supplies next month? Will our families be able to eat without it?
  • Will we be able to sustain the level of support we are committed to providing in Ethiopia if the pandemic continues for months to come?
  • Is our staff staying safe during Covid-19? What will we do if someone gets sick?
  • How will Covid-19 affect this year’s giving? How can I effectively pivot and make good choices to stretch our dollars as far as we can?

That glimpse into my brain at night just scratches the surface.

Simply put, giving is down. Our AJ Marketplace has been hit hard because all retail events have been canceled since March due to Covid-19.

Every time we make a plan for something, it has to change because of the pandemic. Sound familiar? I’m sure you’ve been experiencing this uncertainty, too.

But you know what…we know God is in control and He is in the midst of it all. We have seen Him show up time and time again these last few months. If you have time for a cup of coffee, I’d love to share with you some of these amazing God winks He’s so graciously given us.

Just last week, I was on the phone with our Executive Director Cindy Douglass, who is in Ethiopia, and she shared story after story of how your generosity with our Covid-19 Relief Fund has made the biggest impact on the families we serve over the last six months. Many of the mothers in our Family Empowerment Program shared they would not have been able to feed their children without the Covid-19 emergency distributions. Cindy shared with them that it had every bit to do with God and not us, and we give Him all the glory.

Those stories of hope were enough to keep me going in a week where at every turn, I faced a new challenge. A hard challenge. An impossible challenge. Those stories of hope motivated me to fight. And we will keep on fighting on behalf of the orphaned and vulnerable children and families we serve in Ethiopia. Will you fight with us? 

October is the month we host our annual fundraiser, a Night of New Beginnings. Because of Covid-19, we are having a modified event that will include several small group gatherings over the course of three days to allow for social distancing and safety precautions at a gorgeous outdoor location. It’s the same great event, just a slightly different format!

Come eat, drink, and learn more about the work Addis Jemari is doing in Ethiopia to break the cycle of generational poverty. Details on our Nights of New Beginnings are below.

  • It is our greatest prayer that you will come hear about the incredible resilience and the stories of hopethe people we are so privileged to serve have shared with us.
  • Become a Night of New Beginnings Event Sponsorand make a direct impact on the programs in Ethiopia. This is a great way for both individuals and businesses to help in a meaningful way.
  • Donate an item to our first-ever online silent auctionat our Night of New Beginnings.
  • But most of all, just come and be encouraged that God is at work in Ethiopia and in the lives of the orphaned and vulnerable children we serve… maybe He is even calling you to be a part of it!

Any of the above ways will help us to KEEP FIGHTING! We can’t thank you enough for your generosity and consideration. We have faith in God to provide and we will continue to fight every day that we are given the chance to. Come fight with us!

Many blessings,

Suzanne Ward
Co-Founder and COO
Addis Jemari

For more information on Night of New Beginnings, visit www.addisjemari.org/events.

To register for an event and time slot, visit www.addisjemari.link/NONB2020.

To sponsor the event as an individual or business, visit www.addisjemari.link/NONBEventSponsors.

Support our first ever silent auction by donating
a product, service, vacation home rental, speciality item, gift card or more! Contact Ashley at ashley.henderson@addisjemari.org to get more info!

Location of our Nights of New Beginnings:
The Beautiful and Scenic Back Porch of Bedford Clubhouse in North Raleigh
Thursday, October 22- 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Friday, October 23- 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 24- 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 24- 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
*Maximum of 25 people per event at an outdoor location to allow for social distancing and safety precautions.
Register for a date and time slot at www.addisjemari.link/NONB2020.