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Everyday Superheroes

Published Wednesday Jul 14, 2021

Author Richard Ober

A teacher and student at Country Day School in Colebrook. Photo courtesy of Cheryl Senter.

It is hard to imagine where NH would be right now if not for nonprofit organizations. We have faced unprecedented need in the past year and unspeakable loss. As access to vaccinations increases and responsible Granite Staters continue to be diligent about masking and social distancing, the continuing role of nonprofits bears remembering and repeating.

New Hampshire’s nonprofits have been meeting this moment of greatest need with grace and ferocity and an unwavering commitment to our communities. And the people who work in these organizations —some staff, some volunteers—often do so when continuing to show up means significant personal sacrifice and risk.

Nonprofits come to the rescue in thousands of ways—adapting, innovating and working tirelessly on behalf of communities.

Elissa Margolin of Housing Action NH said this, early in the pandemic, “People who dedicate their careers to serving the homeless are everyday superheroes, so they’re not really afraid of the impossible. You really see their tenacity and their commitment and their strength come out at a time like this. They didn’t crumble.”

She could have been talking about the everyday superheroes who do a thousand other things that benefit all:
The people who work at the NH Food Bank, this year’s Nonprofit of the Year, and the food pantries, soup kitchens, kids’ meals programs, nonprofit farms and Meals on Wheels programs all over the state, who have faced a surge in demand and had to completely adapt operations and invent new ways of distributing food to families in need.

Early-childhood educators, who keep our economy and communities afloat on a regular basis by caring for young children so parents can work and who became part of an emergency child care collaborative to care for the children of essential workers.

The folks at nonprofit community health centers and recovery centers who, overnight, adopted telemedicine practices to continue to safely deliver services.

The leaders at the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and their member organizations who fast-tracked technologies and adapted practices to keep people safe.

The people at Girls, Inc. of NH, who adapted and expanded their operations when schools closed so girls whose parents have to work outside the home could come to the centers for a safe place to do supervised remote learning.

The reporters and editors at nonprofit news outlets, who report public-health news with accuracy and diligence, and created a new service in Spanish, so communities among the hardest-hit by COVID could get accurate and timely information.

The people who advocate for expanded voting access, so we could all exercise our right to vote safely during a pandemic.

Those who continue to lead the way toward racial equity and justice.

There are far too many examples to name.

The Charitable Foundation is proud to work in partnership with and support NH nonprofits.

Nonprofits continue to rise to this incredible set of challenges despite facing mounting and unexpected costs, cancellations of fundraisers that many rely on to keep their budgets in the black and closures that have sent revenues plummeting.

Many, including the arts organizations that continued to deliver programming that kept us connected during isolation, have been hit extremely hard.

Nonprofits will be critical to our shared well-being as we rebuild and reconnect and recover in the months and years ahead.

It has often been said that NH’s nonprofits had our backs when NH needed them the most. They will keep having our back.

Let’s all do what we can, and each contribute what we can, to show that we have theirs.

Richard Ober is president and CEO of the NH Charitable Foundation, which manages a growing collection of more than 2,000 funds created by individuals, families and businesses, and awards more than $40 million in grants and scholarships every year. For more information, visit

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