.ORG pushes for positive change

There’s a lot of good that comes out of the .ORG namespace. Most obviously, .ORG is the online home for thousands of nonprofits and mission-based organizations around the globe. But more than that, the Public Interest Registry (PIR), which operates the .ORG TLD takes an active role in advancing worthy causes and building a better Internet.

PIR hosts an annual .ORG Impact Awards event as a means to honour, promote, and provide financial support to high-impact.ORGs. They donate a portion of the proceeds of every .ORG domain registered to The Internet Society, a non-profit group dedicated to protecting the Open Internet. And most recently, they launched the DNS Abuse Institute, an organization that will establish best practices, fund research, and create industry-shared solutions to combat DNS Abuse.

Today, OpenSRS and PIR want to explore these initiatives and highlight a couple of the many organizations of all types and sizes, from all geographic locations, who have healed, inspired, transformed, and connected communities.

The .ORG Impact Awards

PIR hosts an annual .ORG Impact Awards program, which honours the stellar achievements of members of the global .ORG Community. You can find out more about the awards and the 2020 finalists and winners at orgimpactawards.org. Nominations for the 2021 .ORG Impact Awards open on May 24th.

Here we’re highlighting two of the many amazing .ORGs that have been recognized for their outstanding work.

Skateistan

One of the award winners from 2019, Skateistan, was recently profiled as part of the .ORG Story Initiative. This organization was founded in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2007 and is focused on delivering educational programs to children ranging from 5-17 years old that incorporate the sport of skateboarding to help create future leaders for a better world.

Skateistan Johannesburg. Picture © Andy Buchanan 2018

What began with regular skateboarding sessions in an orphanage and an abandoned fountain in Kabul has grown into an international non-profit based in Berlin, serving more than 4,000 children. Skateistan now runs Skate Schools in Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Johannesburg, South Africa. The .ORG distributes skating equipment, offers skateboarding lessons, and provides educational programs to underserved children in these communities. Skateistan school staff members represent 20 different ethnicities and are former Skateistan students.

Skateistan makes a mark through its Outreach, Back-to-School, Youth Leadership, and Skate and Create initiatives. The organization also recently launched Goodpush.org, to offer advice and institutional knowledge to other social skate projects around the world. Impressively, the organization also won an Academy Award in 2019 for Best Documentary, Short Subject, for their film, Learning to Skate in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl).

What’s up next for Skateistan? The .ORG plans to implement strategic growth of its program to serve more children. With the help of the German government, the organization will expand within Afghanistan to a third site in Bamyan city, where it will open a school within a UNESCO World Heritage space that once featured the famous, and now destroyed, sixth century Buddhas carved into the mountainside. In the next 10 years, Skateistan plans to open another six sites. Despite the additional trials that the pandemic has brought to bear, they continue to work hard, paving the way to a more hopeful future.

Community Focus Group

Community Focus Group International (CFG), the 2019 .ORG Impact Awards winner for .ORG Community Group of the Year, is another shining example of a .ORG that is deeply committed to making a positive impact on the communities it serves. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, CFG raises funds for mentoring programs that provide support and much-needed services to teenage mothers and develops programs that provide schooling for HIV orphans and other vulnerable children.

Displays the community work that is done through the impact award

Launched in 2000 by founder Pamela Ateka, CFG started out as a group of musicians, actors, dancers, and poets who leveraged theater and storytelling to raise awareness of critical community issues in the local Nairobi community. Today, the organization has expanded its mission to inform, connect, and mobilize the community to promote human rights and sustainable livelihoods—raising funds and awareness around hunger, climate change, COVID-19 prevention, and other critical issues.

Because 400 adolescent girls give birth daily in Kenya, with an estimated 70,000 expelled from school because of pregnancy annually, CFG has recently focused its efforts on providing work training and financial literacy programs to teen mothers. Their successful 100 Girls Project offers education in marketable skills like hairdressing, cooking, and baking and also provides resources and financial literacy to help teenage mothers enter the workforce and sustain their families and, in turn, their communities.

CFG continues its efforts to help its community, despite all of the many obstacles the .ORG faces. In fact, that’s their founding principle, says Ateka: “We were created to be a voice of the voiceless, a hand to the needy, to lift those who are downtrodden and, most of all, to cause individual change that would bring about transformation in our community, nation, and the world.”

The New DNS Abuse Institute

Abuse of the Domain Name System—whether in the form of malware, botnets, phishing, pharming, or spam—continues to be an issue, and fighting DNS Abuse is a fundamental part of PIR’s mission. They recently announced an important step in support of this pursuit: the creation of the DNS Abuse Institute. The institute is charged with creating initiatives that will establish recommended practices, foster collaboration, and develop industry-wide solutions to combating DNS Abuse. Tucows’ former Head of Policy, Graeme Bunton, was appointed as the director of the institute. During his tenure with Tucows Graeme played an active role in the creation of a DNS Abuse Framework that was a result of collaboration between a number of major registrars and registries, including Tucows and PIR. We’re excited to see all the great work the institute will no doubt accomplish.

You can find out more about the DNS Abuse Institute and, more importantly, how you can help PIR in the fight at dnsabuseinstitute.org.

The Launch of the .ORG Learning Center

PIR wanted to create a centralized place for new .ORGs to turn to when they’re starting out and looking to establish and promote their cause online, to move from inspiration to action. So, they launched The .ORG Learning Center, a trusted online resource for the mission-driven community, where people can find articles, videos, and other content about how to establish their Internet presence and thrive online.

The .ORG Learning Center is updated regularly with new tools and information and is part of PIR’s long-standing commitment to making educational resources available to the .ORG community.

Connect your customers with valuable resources available at The .ORG Learning Center.


This post was sponsored by the Public Interest Registry.