5 non-profit organizations making the world a better place

June 16, 2023 0 Comments

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Nonprofit work can be thankless. There is always a lot to do, but not enough funding. Too much ground to cover and can’t get there fast enough. And for small nonprofits, the all-important task of fundraising always seems to take volunteers and staff away from the work they really want to do: striving to make our world a better place.

It is this paradox that Land Rover has sought to resolve by establishing the annual Defender Service Awards in 2021. Consider this a big thank you to the heroic organizations on the front lines of important humanitarian and conservation work. Now, each year, the hardest-working nonprofits in the U.S. and Canada get the opportunity to apply for $25,000 in funding—and a brand new individual Defender 130 to help them cover more ground faster.

(Photo: Land Rover)

Last year, five winners took home a Defender and $25,000, while 25 finalists received $5,000 each thanks to a presentation from sponsor CHASE. 2023 will get even better: CHASE will continue to award $5,000 to each of the 30 finalists, and Warner Bros. Discovery will join as a title sponsor, providing an additional $2,500 to all finalists. See how last year’s winners used their prizes below, and don’t miss out on this year’s contest. In 2023, a new category of awards recogricing Outdoor Accessibility and Education, as well as a special category for past Defender Service Awards winners, giving these deserving organizations a second chance to win a custom Defender 130.

If you are a member of a nonprofit or know of a worthy organization, please reach out LandRoverUSA.com. Applications for the 2023 Defender Service Awards, presented by CHASE, are open from June 15 to July 21 (5:00 a.m. ET) — just don’t wait until the last minute, videos are a must. After the jury selects the finalists, a public vote (from September 15 to October 4) determines the overall winners. The awards will be announced in early November at Destination Defender.

Defender Service Awards 2023 categories

  • > Hearts & Science Veterans and Public Servant Award
  • > Award for public service, awarded ei3
  • > Search, Rescue and Emergency Support Services Award presented by PELICAN
  • > Outdoor Accessibility & Education Award presented by Outside Interactive
  • > Animal Planet Welfare Award for Animals, Wildlife and Marine Mammals
  • > Laureates of the Defense Service, finalists of 2021 and 2022

Winners of 2022

Appalachian Bear Rescue (Townsend, Tennessee)

Animal Welfare Award, presented by KONG

It turns out that everyone loves to ride the Defender, including the bears. 2023 has been a busy year so far Appalachian bear rescuea Tennessee-based animal welfare rehabilitation and education nonprofit, received the 2022 Animal Welfare Award. The group currently cares for nine injured or orphaned bear cubs, and has used its new Defender 130 to transport at least three of them.

(Photo: Land Rover)

“A four-wheel drive is always convenient when you’re going to pick up a bear,” says Dana Dodd, executive director of Appalachian Bear Rescue. “And on one of our last releases, we had to cross two creeks to get to the location.” The Defender handled rough terrain with ease while still providing a smooth ride for humans and bears alike. But most of all, Dodd appreciates the professional appearance of the car.

“We’re a small nonprofit in a small town,” she says. “But this car makes you look so official. We have been doing this for 27 years and have never owned a car. Now people in the city see us and notice us. It really matters.”

Green Lake Association (Green Lake, WI)

Environmental Award presented by Outside Interactive

Green Lake is one of central Wisconsin’s most valuable recreational resources Green Lake Association (GLA) is its main champion. Just one problem: In years past, the small but mighty nonprofit couldn’t make it to the water’s edge. This made it difficult to test the water quality that the community had come to rely on. But now, thanks to the new Defender, the GLA can transport research equipment—and even kayaks—right to the water’s edge.

“In the past, we had to rely on volunteers to park our vehicles on the road and drive several miles to these locations. It was tedious and inefficient,” says Taylor Haag, watershed engagement manager at the GLA. “To actually have a car with off-road capabilities is really incredible for us.”

Outside Interactive (parent company From the outside Magazine) sponsored the Environmental and Conservation Award in 2022, and after learning about The inspiring work of the Green Lake Associationit was an honor to write the check and see the GLA take home a brand new car to help their mission.

Mercy Chefs (Portsmouth, VA)

Community Service Award, presented by ei3

When a tornado hits, emergency workers come to the area to clear debris and rescue the injured. But these teams need to be fed, as well as the victims who are stranded. That’s where Chefs of Mercy The Virginia-based group has already responded to three tornadoes this year, including one in nearby Virginia Beach, and delivered thousands of meals.

(Photo: Land Rover)

“It was great to be able to fold the back seats, load hundreds of dishes into this beautiful Defender and get out there,” says Nick Beckman, director of logistics and equipment for Mercy Chefs. The team also pulled a heavy meat smoker and utility trailer and used four-wheel drive to reach victims outside the facility, even if it meant traveling through the wreckage.

Ottawa Volunteer Search and Rescue (Ottawa, Ontario)

Search and Rescue Award presented by PELICAN

If you’re lost in rural Ontario, Ottawa Volunteer Search and Rescue (OVSR) is the team you want to come to your rescue. With over 250 members trained in advanced techniques, OVSR is one of the province’s top rescue groups and is almost entirely volunteer-based.

So far, the team has been using its new Defender 130 to search for mock victims during important training sessions and talk about its mission at public events. “We look forward to bringing our teams deeper into the field,” says Lynn Dupuis, OVSR President. “This will allow us to conserve our strength for a real rescue and help us get the lost and wounded out.”

Patriot Service Dogs (Ocala, Florida)

Veteran Award (given by dentsu x)

With only two paid staff and 20 dogs in training, Service dogs of the Patriots (PSD) team has its hands full. Still, PSD manages to train dozens of service dogs each year for US veterans who have suffered physical, mental or emotional trauma. The group also has a program of work with prisons, which proved to be key at the community voting stage. “The inmates joke that we won because criminals voted for us,” says executive director Julie Sanderson. “All their families voted for us.”

(Photo: Patriot Service Dogs)

So far, Sanderson has been using her new Defender 130 to deliver dogs to prisons, transport puppies to meet their new owners and make trips to the vet. The car was configured with a spill-proof dog bowl and wash station, as well as a cargo divider. But given the precious cargo, Sanderson’s favorite feature is the sure-footed handling. “We have a lot of wind and heavy rain storms in Florida,” she says. “How nice to know that we are in a good car and that we are safe.”

Videos and new categories for the Defender Service Award 2023 are open from June 15 to July 21. The finalists will be announced in early November, and public voting will take place from September 15 to October 4. Learn more about the Defender Service Awards and previous winners. here.

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