The fledgling foundation's first program is Sponsor-a-Mind(http://www.sponsoramind.org), which collects school supplies from stores and distributes them to individuals and schools in need free of charge. The program name emphasizes the idea that contributing school supplies is not simply a matter of easing a disadvantaged family's needs. Rather, supporting education in this way allows contributors to provide backing for the recipients' development and future.
At first, Dr. Ali Y. Muhammed purchased the school supplies and donated them to individuals. Then he began giving talks at community gatherings and contacted family coordinators at the local schools, asking them for a list of what supplies were needed. Requests poured in and Dr. Ali Y. Muhammed appealed to the manager of the Winter Street Staples store in Boston, where he had met that needy mother. The person who ran that store was a district manager and offered to call other Staples stores, which responded enthusiastically. With that, the Sponsor-a-Mind program and the MOER Foundation have taken root and spread to numerous communities across the United States.
The organization has grown organically in response to stated needs. Many of the children who lacked school supplies also required winter clothes, so we initiated a coat donation drive based at public transit stations. They needed food, so we began a food recovery program. Unfortunately, many of the children and their mothers suffered from abuse, which inspired us to develop a Domestic Violence Prevention Program. They also needed a place for safe recreation, so we formed a partnership with Boston's Community Boating so inner-city youth can get out on the water and learn new skills. With the help of Mr. Benjamin Zander, Music Director and Conductor, the MOER Foundation has also sponsored 30 inner city youth to attend the Boston Philharmonic. This was an effort to broaden the horizon of the youth of the wonders of classical music and theatre.
In each case, a wealth of in-kind donations and volunteers from all around the city emerged to meet the need. For example, U-Haul has supplied trucks for picking up supplies and delivering them to the warehouse and schools, American Express Travel held an employee donation drive and raised well over $319,000 worth of donations for Sponsor-a-Mind, and long-time supporter Staples donated a case of pens when an urban school held a writing contest.
These contributions show that the MOER Foundation's theory of community change is correct: when there is a need, a respectful request will bring unprecedented results. Neighbors and businesses want to help out and will. They just need to be asked. For over four years, the MOER Foundation has done just that and built a network of assistance with social and health programs. The MOER Foundation has since been awarded a Senator Citation, from the House Of Representative of the Sate of Massachusetts of their community excellence.
HONORS & AWARDS PROCLAMATIONS:
CITY OF BOSTON, MA, CITY OF WASHINGTON, DC, CITY OF GREENVILLE, NC, CITY OF CHARLOTTLE, NC , CITY OF MACON, GA, CITY OF TAMPA, FL, CITY OF HOUSTON, TX , CITY OF TUSCALOOSA, AL, GREENVILLE, NC , CITY OF SEATTLE WA, CITY OF SAN FRANCISCO, BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU AWARD 2008