For previous finalists who didn't win their category. You truly were deserving then, so we’re giving you a second opportunity to win a customized Defender.
ALASKA DIVE SEARCH RESCUE AND RECOVERY (ANCHORAGE, AK)
The Alaska Dive Search, Rescue and Recovery Team (AK Dive Rescue) is an all-volunteer, unpaid, non-profit, that provides the Department of Public Safety with statewide capabilities above and underneath the water surface. AK Dive Rescue's capabilities include ice rescue; swift water rescue; dive rescue and recovery; black water diving; evidence recovery; deep diving; and confined spaces. The team is activated by the state and is ready to deploy anywhere in Alaska within two hours of notification. Alaska has 10x the national average of drowning deaths. Therefore, the Alaska Dive Search, Rescue and Recovery Team is also dedicated to preventing as many tragedies as possible through public education on boating and water safety.
ALPINE RESCUE TEAM (EVERGREEN, CO)
Located west of Denver, Alpine Rescue Team serves those having a “bad day in the mountains,” including injured hikers, fallen rock climbers, lost skiers, and avalanche calls. Colorado’s increasing population brings a significant increase in wilderness use, as well as traffic that can create delays for first responders in the Rocky Mountain environment. The Alpine Rescue Team responds within 3 counties west of Denver free of charge, no matter the situation or duration of the rescue or search. The team relies upon donations to cover team equipment, insurance, vehicle maintenance and fuel, while members provide their own necessary equipment. Their dedication is phenomenal; some members have celebrated 30, 40, and 50 years on the team.
BIG CITY MOUNTAINEERS (ARVADA, CO)
Big City Mountaineers (BCM) removes barriers to outdoor access for youth from marginalized communities. BCM provides structured nature-based experiences that support young people in developing social-emotional capacities, increase their health and well-being and tap into their full personal potential. BCM's programs provide youth with the important benefits of time spent outdoors, including uncovering their own sources of strength, resilience, confidence, serenity and joy. Since their founding in 1989, BCM has engaged over 11,000 youth, conducted nearly 1,000 wilderness expeditions, organized over 5,000 volunteers, led over 150 overnight camps and provided over 45,000 nights under the stars for young people that would not have otherwise had the opportunity.
CHARLESTON ANIMAL SOCIETY (NORTH CHARLESTON, SC)
For 149 years, Charleston Animal Society (CAS) has prevented cruelty to animals and for the past decade, has been South Carolina’s top-rated nonprofit. From having created the first no-kill community in the Southeast to building the first no-kill state across the entire southern U.S., CAS is an international model for lifesaving success through focus, strategy and determination. As a leading emergency responder for hurricanes, flooding, and large-scale animal cruelty operations, CAS's workforce of 85 employees and 2,400 volunteers care for and rescue up to 20,000 animals annually. From finding families for homeless animals, to preventing unwanted litters, to guiding children to become compassionate toward animals, to fighting cruelty wherever it exists, the Animal Society’s mantra is “solving problems, not just reacting to them.”
COMMUNITY SUPPORT CONNECTIONS (WATERLOO REGION, ON)
Community Support Connections is a nonprofit organization that promotes the health of the whole person – mind and body – through our support services. Our client-centered approach ensures they offer personalized care that helps people live a healthy life in the comfort of their homes. Love for the community is at the root of their work. Community Support Connections helps people live independently and with dignity, and they create personal connections with them along the way. Every touchpoint with Community Support Connections conveys genuine care for clients and it shows in the high-quality services offered. More than just a service provider, Community Support Connections is a friendly neighbor.
COOLXDAD LLC. (HOUSTON, TX)
CoolxDad was founded in 2020 to uplift, inspire and empower fathers of color, providing them with limitless tools for self-growth and healthy engagement. Through innovative and collaborative programming in the areas of education, financial literacy, art and literature, health and wellness, history and community service, CoolxDad's overall objective is to enhance the fatherhood experience and create generational impact by inspiring the next generation of black and brown fathers. Organizations devoted exclusively to black fathers have been non-existent or largely ignored in the United States. The success of CoolxDad is due in large part to the reality that an organization like CoolxDad provides a crucial societal need – the need, now more than ever, to fully expose the humanity and dignity of fathers of color.
EL PASO COUNTY SEARCH AND RESCUE (COLORADO SPRINGS, CO)
El Paso County Search and Rescue is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives through search, rescue and mountain safety education. Due to the proximity of 14,115 ft Pikes Peak and the Pike National Forest, our 65 active volunteer members are certified by the Mountain Rescue Association and trained in high angle (cliff) rescue, winter rescue and wilderness search. All members hold a minimum of Emergency Medical Responder qualification, and many have EMT or higher training.
FEEDMORE WNY (BUFFALO, NY)
For 50 years, FeedMore WNY and its over 370 partner agencies have provided more than 5 million people living in Western New York with nearly 509 million meals. FeedMore's long standing mission is to offer dignity, hope and a brighter future by providing nutritious food, friendship and skills training to neighbors in need. Their home-delivered meal program and other feeding programs serve 1.4 million meals every year to more than 6,700 vulnerable seniors. The RISE workforce development program offers free job-training for adults, providing skills, experience and opportunities to help neighbors achieve financial self-sufficiency. FeedMore works to ensure that no one, from infants to older adults, goes hungry, fulfilling the goal to feed those who need to be in line today and shorten the line tomorrow.
FORCE BLUE, INC. (MOUNT PLEASANT, SC)
Created in 2016 to help address two seemingly unrelated problems — the rapidly declining health of our oceans and marine resources, and the difficulty far too many servicemen and servicewomen have in adjusting to civilian life once their service ends — FORCE BLUE is the only nonprofit organization in the world that retrains and redeploys former Special Operations veterans and military-trained combat divers to work alongside scientists and environmentalists on marine conservation missions. Recalling the days of Jacques Cousteau and the French frogmen he trained, FORCE BLUE has assembled a modern-day cadre of elite military veterans with the aptitude and ability to achieve great things on the conservation front — and the visibility to let the world know about it. Through its composition and commitment, FORCE BLUE is building a model of caring, cooperation and positive change with the power to restore lives and the planet.
HELP GIVE HOPE (SPRINGFIELD, MO)
Help Give Hope has been actively engaged in providing essential resources and support to disadvantaged children for the past 42 years. Their mission is to create a positive and lasting change in the lives of these children, giving them hope for a brighter future. Through various programs, including their Christmas program, rental assistance, utility assistance, education assistance and a used car program, they provide resources to empower families to create a better future.
HENRY’S FORK FOUNDATION (ASHTON, ID)
The Henry's Fork Foundation (HFF) uses a science-based, collaborative approach to conserve the fisheries and water resources of the Henry’s Fork and South Fork Snake River watersheds in eastern Idaho. With nearly four decades of conservation work under their belts, HFF’s projects include water quality monitoring, fisheries health, river access, precision water management and on-farm water conservation. With issues like drought, a changing climate and less reliable water resources year-after-year, we all need to push the envelope with new and innovative solutions to match the pace and scale of the challenges to our planet. HFF aims to stay ahead of the curve, so the fisheries of the Henry’s Fork and South Fork endure for generations to come.
MCM INTERNATIONAL: PROJECT PLAYGROUND (CONROE, TX)
Matt Clayton Ministries “Project Playground” rescues playgrounds due for demolition in the US and restores, repairs and replants those playgrounds in impoverished communities throughout the developing world. They build playgrounds for kids who have never seen one, bringing together communities, helping children develop cognitively, physically, and emotionally and providing safe, equitable places to play. And of course, they supply endless amounts of joy and laughter. Project Playground partners with and builds playgrounds in schools, churches, orphanages and community centers throughout the developing world. To date, they have built 60 Playgrounds in 16 Countries.
MILITARY MOBILITY (CODY, WY)
MILITARY MOBILITY is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization specializing in suicide prevention and increasing health and wellness through overland expeditions and resiliency training for veterans in need, and their families, through FREE 5-day courses of instruction. Our Mission is to put veterans back in a team environment which fosters camaraderie, trust, and inspires the realization that any challenge—no matter how great—can be overcome. MILITARY MOBILITY identified an unmet need to create an inspirational home for higher learning amongst the veteran community and believe in providing opportunity and instruction where motivated individuals can: Jumpstart Passion, Fuel Teamwork, Navigate Uncertainty, Gain Traction in Leadership, Align Strategic Goals, and Recover Potential.
MISSOURI SEARCH AND RESCUE K-9 INC (BLUE SPRINGS, MO)
Established in 1983, Missouri Search and Rescue K9 (MOSAR) is a volunteer organization that utilizes specialty trained canines to assist law enforcement, fire departments and emergency response agencies locate missing people. The resources provided by MOSAR are live find air scent dogs, scent specific trailing dogs, human remains detection dogs, firearms/evidence dogs and disaster dogs. All certified and deployable K9 Teams are on-call 24/7 and services are provided free of charge. MOSAR responds to an average of 35-40 call-outs each year throughout the Midwest.
NATIONAL MARINE MAMMAL FOUNDATION (SAN DIEGO, CA)
The National Marine Mammal Foundation has a mission to improve and protect life for marine mammals, humans and our shared oceans. Their rescue team is on call 24/7 to respond to marine mammals in distress, often in remote locations impacted by extreme weather events. They recently responded to the urgent call to rescue the most endangered marine mammal, the vaquita porpoise, from extinction. To broaden their impact, they've launched Operation GRACE, Global Rescue of At-Risk Cetaceans & Ecosystems, a community-based conservation approach to save endangered species. Their world-class veterinarians, biologists and conservationists are also answering critical questions about the health and welfare of marine mammals worldwide. In every action they take, they lead with compassion and respect for the animals, which serves as a guiding light as they protect their wellbeing and welfare.
OVERTOWN YOUTH CENTER (MIAMI, FL)
Founded by Alonzo Mourning in 2003, the Overtown Youth Center (OYC) was created to bridge education, social, emotional, health and opportunity gaps for young people ages 5 to 25 growing up in under-resourced communities in South Florida. Since then, it has grown to be a community resource center serving both children and families throughout South Florida. The mission of OYC is to inspire, empower and enrich the lives of youth and families through education, enrichment and exposure. The organization focuses on uplifting youth and families by offering equitable, high-quality programs and services. OYC fulfills its mission by providing in-school, after school, summer, weekend and family support services. In addition, it has expanded services to include college and career readiness, health and wellness, workforce development, and gender-specific social-emotional programming for youth.
RUFF HAVEN CRISIS SHELTERING (SALT LAKE CITY, UT)
Ruff Haven's mission is to provide a temporary haven for companion animals to keep pets and their people together in times of crisis, increase pet retention and decrease the number of animals entering the shelter system. Ruff Haven is Utah's only organization solely dedicated to providing these services. Programs include temporary crisis sheltering, community wellness clinics and vaccines, outreach to homeless encampments, payment of housing and shelter fees, grooming and more. Their program is volunteer-based, and all services are free. Ruff Haven partners with the state's animal welfare organizations, as well as many human welfare organizations to provide wraparound services. This year, Ruff Haven was instrumental in passing legislation that allows pets to be included in domestic violence protective orders, making Utah the 37th state to allow this.
THE BARNYARD SANCTUARY (COLUMBIA, NJ)
The Barnyard Sanctuary's mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home farm animals that are displaced, abused or whose caregivers are experiencing hardships--providing these animals with a safe, loving and nurturing home. Since opening its doors in November of 2010, the sanctuary has saved the lives of over 3,000 farm animals and facilitated adoptions to families who can provide a forever home. And for animals who require special care, the Barnyard Sanctuary provides a haven for the natural lifetime of the animal. Today, approximately 300 farm animals call the Barnyard Sanctuary home. They also offer an extensive array of community-based programs which they will implement once they secure a larger permanent location.
WARRIOR FREEDOM SERVICE DOGS (FLINSTONE, GA)
The Warrior Freedom Service Dogs program is designed to do more than supply a service animal to a disabled veteran. They help veterans reconnect to the purpose-filled life they deserve; one of doing more than they thought possible. One of a restored brotherhood. One of becoming a better brother or sister, son or daughter, father or mother, friend and contributor to society. Warrior Freedom Service Dogs strives to give this gift of life and reconnection to the most deserving of all humans in our society: the American soldier. Their focus is on the combat veterans who have returned home from the battlefields with deep physical, mental and emotional wounds that make reconnecting to society a significant struggle. The goal for each veteran who enters the program is to become successful with their new canine life partner.
WEST PLACE ANIMAL SANCTUARY (TIVERTON, RI)
West Place Animal Sanctuary provides lifesaving care, love and a permanent home to farm animals rescued from cases of abuse, neglect and cruelty. They are also a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center that assists sick, injured and orphaned animals and releases healthy wildlife back into their natural habitats. The only organization of its kind in their region, rescue work takes them to locations across New England, saving animals throughout the East Coast and even Texas. Their network of almost 100 volunteers provides essential animal care 365 days a year, and they provide unique hands-on humane educational experiences to high school and college students to cultivate a more compassionate community. Executing this mission requires proper resources so they can continue to be depended on to advocate for those who do not have a voice.