By: Shelly Burningham
As a result of Ethiopia’s devastating famine in 1985, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded and held two worldwide fasts raising $11 million for relief. From this event, Latter-day Saint Charities official 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization began. Latter-Day Saint Charities is a division of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint’s humanitarian efforts. Its mission is to offer relief, foster self-reliance, and provide opportunities for service.
Latter-day Saint Charities currently has nine focus areas which include: food security, clean water, community projects, emergency response, immunizations, maternal and newborn care, refugee and immigrant services, vision care and wheelchairs.
Latter-day Saint Charities work in partnership with over 40 experienced nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). They also work with thousands of other community organizations and governments. Currently, Latter-day Saint Charities have ongoing projects in 197 countries.
Since 2015, Latter-day Saint Charities has been an important donor and partner for Youthlinc and its flagship after-school peer mentoring program, Real Life. In addition to their financial support of Real Life programming, Latter-day Saint Charities was an instrumental reason behind our College Preparation Curriculum and the Real Life Scholarship Program. Collaborations were made together to determine how to bridge the gap between high school graduation for refugees and propelling them forward to post-secondary education.
In addition, Real Life partnered with Latter-Day Saint Charities to pilot a curriculum called, “My Unfinished Story.” Brett McDonald, along with his two refugee sons from Indonesia, wrote this curriculum and provided a notebook that helped refugee students learn more about their past, present and future. The purpose was to help students remember where they came from and to recognize that their story benefits them in understanding their own self-worth.
Latter-day Saint Charities has also donated hundreds of hygiene kits to many families of the countries we serve during our Service Year. I saw first-hand how this generous, in-kind donation, helped benefit the people of Nepal following the shocking and devastating 2014 earthquake. Tears of gratitude were shed as this humble people graciously received this much needed gift from Latter-Day Saint Charities.
Beyond the Real Life program and the Service Year Program, Latter-day Saint Charities is also a major donor to Youthlinc’s Capital Campaign. Latter-day Saint Charities recognizes Youthlinc’s role in creating lifetime humanitarians and has made a substantial gift to help provide a home for Youthlinc’s many humanitarian efforts.
Youthlinc would like to give a big THANK YOU to Latter-day Saint Charities for their support. Not only has Latter-day Saint Charities provided profound opportunities for refugee and immigrant youth through our Real Life program, their generous donations to Youthlinc have helped better lives of thousands of individuals here in Utah and all over the world.