2023 Nonprofit Photo Contest Winners

Over 709 nonprofits submitted photos. Here are the winners.

This year’s photo contest theme was Mission First, and we want to thank the more than 709 nonprofits in 38 states that participated — and generated more than 23,552 votes!

top 4 photos in 2023 photo contest

In addition to the 12 winners mentioned in the rules, we decided to award two special mention awards as well. Congratulations to everyone! Winners were not required to be members of NIA.

Winners are listed below, or view a page with all the photos submitted here.

many hands embrace an infant

Best of Show • $1,000 winner

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Littleton, CO • www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to offer the gift of healing, hope, and honor to parents experiencing the death of a baby through the power of remembrance portraits.

Professional-level photographers volunteer their time to conduct an intimate portrait session, capturing the only moments parents spend with their babies. Parents are gifted with delicately retouched black-and-white digital portraits free of charge.

Since 2005, they have gifted more than 70,000 complimentary portrait sessions in every U.S. state as well as 40 countries worldwide.

a cute black and white puppy on a white blanket with red hearts

Standing Ovation • $500 winner

Dogwood Animal Rescue

Santa Rosa, CA • www.dogwoodanimalrescue.org

Dogwood Animal Rescue Project is a foster-based, mostly volunteer nonprofit rescue organization focused on the rescue and placement of animals into safe, nurturing homes.

Their goals include providing necessary medical care, ongoing spay/neuter clinics, hands-on nurturing, and placement of the homeless animals of Sonoma County and beyond.

Formed in 2015 by an inspired group of friends and animal advocates, Dogwood is continually striving to successfully fulfill their vision to establish programs tailored to assist animals in need by ensuring they find safe, loving homes and receive the medical care necessary to live long and healthy lives.

a girl kneels and embraces a miniature horse

Spotlight (1 of 10) • $100 winner

Acres for Life Therapy & Wellness Center

Forest Lake, MN • www.acresforlife.org

Acres for Life Therapy & Wellness Center is a nonprofit whose mission is to provide equine-assisted mental health services to people struggling with trauma, anxiety, addiction, PTSD, sexual assault, life transitions, eating disorders, and more.

With more than 20 years of experience, they’ve helped thousands of adults, families, youth, military/veterans, first responders, and others by incorporating horses in the traditional mental health field.

Their effective approach to wellness and healing is guided by a facilitation team that includes a mental health professional, an equine specialist, and the horses — all equal partners.

a woman brushing a young child's hair

Spotlight (2 of 10) • $100 winner

Amazon Conservation

Washington, D.C. • www.amazonconservation.org

Amazon Conservation is an organization with a mission to protect the rainforests of the Amazon Basin with a vision of preserving a thriving Amazon that sustains the full diversity of life.

For the past 20 years, they have worked on the ground in Peru and Bolivia, protecting over 8.15 million acres of rainforest by stopping deforestation, partnering with Amazonian people to find a more sustainable path to their own vision of development, building greater climate resilience, and supporting good governance to conserve the region’s ecosystems and biodiversity.

a woman jumps high above some sand dunes

Spotlight (3 of 10) • $100 winner

Kids N Culture

New York, NY • www.kidsncultureorg

Kids N Culture is an organization that uses a combination of after-school curriculum and international travel experiences to teach students about our common humanity and to push them to think more critically about the larger world around them.

Based on the belief that travel is transformational, they offer fully-paid international travel experiences to students from all backgrounds, helping to close the opportunity gap so all students have the chance to be exposed to new places, new ideas, and new perspectives.

Over 15 years, Kids N Culture has worked with over 260 student ambassadors across 29 countries to build the future leaders of tomorrow, focusing on building the students’ confidence in themselves, empathy for others, and a sense of curiosity.

a man and a giant pig pose for the camera in a wood structure

Spotlight (4 of 10) • $100 winner

Indraloka Animal Sanctuary

Dalton, PA • www.indraloka.org

Indraloka Animal Sanctuary is an organization that provides a “heaven on earth” for farm animals that have nowhere else to turn. Their mission is to inform, inspire, advocate, and empower the community — especially children — on how to better care for themselves and the environment while helping farm animals.

Indraloka rescues and provides lifetime care for the most at-risk animals in the world — farm animals facing abuse, neglect, hoarding, and worse. Adoption and rehoming services are also a part of their mission.

Today, Indraloka has saved the lives of thousands of farm animals, and more than 200 animals of 15 different species now call the organization’s nearly 100 acres of land in Dalton, PA, their home.

a man in a firefighter's jacket carries a dog to safety

Spotlight (5 of 10) • $100 winner

National Institute of Canine Service and Training

Concord, CA • www.ourdogssavelives.org

For over 15 years, the National Institute of Canine Service and Training (formerly known as Dogs4Diabetics) has created life-saving partnerships for insulin-dependent diabetics.

The first service dog provider for insulin-dependent diabetics accredited by Assistance Dogs International, the organization is focused on the future of canine training.

They train service dogs for first responders with PTSD, service dogs for teens and young adults with severe anxiety disorders, conduct research to see if the animals’ powerful sense of smell can be trained to detect cancer, and launched an innovative partnership with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to train service dogs inside Solano State Prison in Vacaville, CA.

three people with their backs to the camera stand in a lush green landscape looking at a beautiful sky and rainbow

Spotlight (6 of 10) • $100 winner

Residency on the Farm

Chicago, IL • www.residencyonthefarm.com

Residency on the Farm is a nonprofit organization that fosters supportive spaces for artists and community to create and learn.

Artists working in various disciplines step away from their busy lives in order to focus on their work, immersed in the rolling hills and sandstone bluffs of Southern Wisconsin.

In this open and inviting space, residents work undisturbed for hours, in an environment that supports individual and collaborative expression, and they can get brave and explore new ways of thinking, doing the essential work of making art.

They can also take breaks to walk through 80 collective acres of woods and farmland, float down the Pecatonica River, and watch stars and the moon light up the night sky.

a cute baby peeks out of a box of diapers, surrounded by more boxes of diapers

Spotlight (7 of 10) • $100 winner

St. Louis Area Diaper Bank

St. Louis, MO • www.stldiaperbank.com

The St. Louis Area Diaper Bank provides diapers and period supply kits to low-income families throughout the St. Louis region.

Their model utilizes diapers and period supplies as a gateway resource that encourages families’ participation in programs that provide wraparound, personalized services. This is proven to strengthen and stabilize families and individuals over the long term, increasing the likelihood of real and lasting change.

Families receiving assistance from the St. Louis Area Diaper Bank don’t just get diapers and period supplies — they get support, connections to other resources, and guidance from caring and committed providers.

a girl sitting in a hospital bed next to a small dog pulls crayons out of a box

Spotlight (8 of 10) • $100 winner

The Crayon Initiative

Danville, CA • www.thecrayoninitiative.com

The Crayon Initiative is a nonprofit that works to reduce the amount of waste in landfills by collecting and sorting old crayons, melting them down, remanufacturing them, and sending them for free to kids in hospitals all over the country to be used in their therapeutic arts programs.

The organization worked with an occupational therapist to design crayons that were large and three-sided — not round — so they’re easy for kids to grip and can’t roll off hospital trays.

Their goal is to bring happiness to children who are facing the stress of hospitalization by giving them the freedom that comes with creative play.

a young woman squatting at a child's level encourages him to walk using a walker

Spotlight (9 of 10) • $100 winner

The Rise School of Denver

Denver, CO • www.risedenver.org

The Rise School of Denver is a nonprofit committed to providing the highest quality of early childhood education for all children, including children with developmental disabilities.

They accomplish this by offering instructional opportunities through collaboration with therapists and various academic programs at local colleges and universities. They also engage in research that positively influences practice in the field of early childhood education at the local, state and national levels.

Today, the organization operates four classrooms in its own building, serving approximately 50 children, ranging from 12 months to five years in age.

a man in a wheelchair next to three people standing on a bridge near beautiful mountains

Spotlight (10 of 10) • $100 winner

Via Mobility Services

Boulder, CO • www.viacolorado.com

Via Mobility Services is a nonprofit organization committed to empowering people with limited mobility by offering comprehensive transportation solutions in eight counties in Colorado.

Since 1979, they have worked to enrich lives by providing tailored, responsive mobility services to thousands of older adults, people with disabilities, low-income individuals, and rural residents.

Beyond direct transportation, they extend their impact through mobility management services, including educational outreach, information and referrals, and individual travel planning designed to foster informed mobility choices and improve accessibility.

a man with amputated legs surfs a wave on a wake board

Special Mention (1 of 2) • $100 winner

Wake for Warriors

Salem, AL • www.wakeforwarriors.com

Wake for Warriors is a nonprofit that’s dedicated to serving as a lifeline for wounded veterans and their families through the transformative power of watersports — with an emphasis on creating connection, challenge, and celebration.

Guided by combat veterans that understand the value of camaraderie, participants can learn wakeboarding and wakesurfing. These are not just thrilling activities, they are intended to serve as pathways to physical and emotional recovery.

The organization hosts multi-day events across the country, where riders are able to enjoy lake life, take on the challenge of learning a new activity, and enjoy laughs and new friends.

a boy in a tuxedo whistles while holding a trombone

Special Mention (2 of 2) • $100 winner

West Point School of Music

Chicago, IL • www.westpointsom.com

The West Point School of Music is a nonprofit founded to help prevent juvenile violence and promote academic and personal success among urban youth through quality in-school, after-school, and out-of-school music instruction and performance programs in the Chicago area.

Their programs include Urban Music Makers, a school band program that works to build a musical ensemble of 20 to 25 students, drawn from the 3rd through 6th grades, that are taught to read and perform music.

They also offer a specialized program called Celebration on Steel, where students can learn the steel drum, which evolved out of the early musical practices of Trinidad’s enslaved Africans and Afro-descendants.