CONCORD, NH (PRESS RELEASE) — Mukhtar Idhow, executive director of the Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success in Manchester, NH, was named the inaugural recipient of the Social Innovation Leader Award by the Entrepreneurs’ Fund of New Hampshire (EFNH).
The purpose of this award — and an accompanying $25,000 grant to the nonprofit Idhow leads — is to foster and celebrate social innovation among New Hampshire’s nonprofit leaders. EFNH is a donor-advised fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.
“This is joyful for me, and I cannot wait to share with the staff,” said Idhow. “I know how challenging life is for some of our families. It has always been my goal to see where I can make life different for our families. This is my passion and I will continue to be part of our communities to support all people who need help in New Hampshire.”
“Self-awareness, gratitude, empathy and resilience – we can see these qualities in Muhktar’s leadership,” said ORIS Board Chairman Crispin Milele. “He’s always there to set the tone and culture for this organization.”
The Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success helps refugees and immigrants resettle and integrate into New Hampshire communities by providing assistance, training and other resources. Its staff and board represent seven countries and are fluent in 13 languages bringing cultural understanding, linguistic expertise, and first-hand knowledge of the immigrant experience.
ORIS provides a wide range of services — from family wellness, youth leadership development and assistance for victims of domestic violence to the operation of Fresh Start Farms and the new Fresh Start Farms food hub and mobile market.
The Entrepreneurs’ Fund of New Hampshire channels the expertise, energy and passion of the state’s leading entrepreneurs to strengthen New Hampshire communities through innovative philanthropy.
Charitable Foundation staff suggested several candidates for the EFNH Advisory Board to consider for the award, the grant portion of which is meant to be used, in part, for professional development for nonprofit leaders. Members were impressed with the quality of all the nominees, but Idhow stood out for consistently showcasing innovative and creative problem-solving to increase ORIS’ impact in the community.
“This is not a lifetime-achievement award,” said Matt Pierson, an advisor for the fund. “Instead, it is to be awarded annually to someone whose continued development will help to strengthen New Hampshire’s communities and nonprofit sector.”
“Muhktar’s work to establish and sustain Fresh Start Farm and his collaborative efforts to break the cycle of domestic abuse in refugee and immigrant communities stood out to the fund’s advisory board as examples of the type of leadership we want to recognize and support.”
Fresh Start Farms, where 15 farmers grow everything from beets, basil and broccoli to peas, peppers and potatoes, has been in operation for eight years, and recently purchased a 56-acre farm property in Dunbarton. Farmers also produce food at two sites in Concord. In partnership with Neighborworks Southern New Hampshire, ORIS recently opened the Fresh Start Farms Food Hub in downtown Manchester.
Fresh Start sells produce at farmers’ markets, through a CSA and now through its “mobile market,” which loads up with fresh produce and makes the rounds to 14 housing communities in Concord and Manchester where many elders and struggling families live.
About the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is New Hampshire’s statewide community foundation, founded in 1962 by and for the people of New Hampshire. The Foundation manages a growing collection of 2,000 funds created by generous individuals, families and businesses, and awards more than $40 million in grants and scholarships every year. The Foundation works with generous and visionary citizens to maximize the power of their giving, supports great work happening in our communities and leads and collaborates on high-impact initiatives. For more information, please visit www.nhcf.org or call 603-225-6641.