COLUMBUS (WCMH) — With many of them struggling for funding during the pandemic, many non-profits are in need of help now more than ever.
And because of that growing need, one local philanthropist has taken it upon himself to lead a simplified mission of giving back to those in need.
“We struggled to pay the bills, and we couldn’t always afford what we needed or wanted,” admits Dublin native Imran Nuri.
A Dublin Scioto graduate, a shiny toy or new clothes weren’t always possible for Nuri growing up.
“Despite that, my parents taught me the value of giving by having me put just a dollar in an empty peanut butter jar that we kept above our fridge every week,” Nuri recalls.
For Nuri, it was a small gesture that has now shaped a massive effort to encourage others to give back.
“The 52 Million Project asks people to donate $1 a week. We’re going after a long-term vision of one million people donating one dollar a week to be $52 million a year to be distributed to non-profits doing amazing critical work,” Nuri describes.
Nuri attended Ohio State, where he served as the President of the BuckeyeThon, which raises awareness and funds for children with cancer.
After graduating in 2019, Nuri launched the 52 Million Project in January of 2020.
“Without even knowing it, we became a critical thing for these non-profits across the country,” says Nuri. “These non-profits have lost so much funding over the last year because the businesses that support them are also struggling.”
One of those non-profits, is the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio.
“It’s an opportunity for anyone, right? Anyone to get engaged from a philanthropic standpoint,” says Christine Mills with the FBCO.
Nuri’s donation of just over $1,100 in February helped furnish the homes of four families in poverty.
“They’re making an impact on families they will never meet, but know that they’re helping maybe some child have a bed to sleep in,” Mills adds. “The magnitude of his impact and what it could be, especially here locally, he’s opened up a whole new audience to giving.”
Nuri hopes to keep as much money as he can in the hands of local non-profits, lifting up those in the community he’s called home all his life.
“Most of our donors are here in Columbus, and I think there is so much need here in our own community we don’t have to look outward to find ways to support people,” says Nuri. “You’re sheltering someone whose fleeing domestic violence for an entire week, you’re feeding an entire community for a month, and all you did was give up a dollar.”
Nuri and the 52 Million Project gifted $22,000 last year in their first year, and another $30,000 so far this year to non-profits locally and across the country.
So far, they’ve registered over 700 donors.
Anyone who wants to take part can visit 52millionproject.org to donate.