Jennings Wright didn’t know what to expect when she made her first trip from Raleigh to Uganda four years ago.
Wright’s fledging nonprofit, Ten Eighteen Inc., had helped a charity in the city of Kampala pay its rent based on the recommendation of a friend who lived and worked in the east African country.
But she didn’t expect to do much more; she had her sights set on helping friends in other places.
By the time she left, all that had changed.
“My heart just stayed in Uganda,” said Wright, who has since made many trips there. “We just loved the people.”
Today, Ten Eighteen supports locally run charitable organizations and individuals through a variety of projects designed to help those who are sick and in poverty.
Projects include supporting hospice programs, helping students pay their school fees and giving micro-grants to women so they can build their own businesses. Much of that work occurs in and around Kampala.
The group draws its name from biblical verse, Deuteronomy 10:18: “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.”
Wright said that she doesn’t want to proselytize but to simply do the work she feels her Christian faith calls her to do.
Last year, Ten Eighteen raised $52,000, and 100 percent of the money went directly to the projects.
Now, Wright is working to expand that work by supporting projects on the island of Andros in the Bahamas.
Wright doesn’t anticipate growing Ten Eighteen beyond a size she can handle herself. She wants to be able to continue to make trips to visit the organizations and people Ten Eighteen supports so that she can have a personal relationship with those she helps.
“The difference with Ten Eighteen is about relationships,” she said. “I would rather stay small and make a big impact.”
The group’s website is www.10eighteen.org.