The Community Foundation of Broward is proud to honor 12 representatives of dedicated nonprofits who have gone above and beyond during the pandemic. Our new Hidden Heroes Awards shine a light on 12 outstanding examples of bold impact by individuals who make life better in our community.
Natasha McFarquhar is one of the real-life superheroes who are stepping up to help in Broward, just when our community needs them the most.
Natasha’s heroic efforts, through the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Broward County, help struggling families in underserved communities get financial assistance.
Natasha leads the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Emergency Basic Needs Program, which provides financial assistance for rent, utilities, transportation and food to help families in crisis. When the pandemic hit, the need for this critical community service spiked as the economic crisis left more families struggling to get by.
Natasha has answered more than 1,300 calls and conducted extended family interviews to identify needs and solutions. When the pandemic stopped in-person meetings, Natasha pivoted seamlessly to online video conferences with clients. She has facilitated financial subsidies as well as same-day access to diapers, grocery store gift cards and other necessities so families’ needs are met. And when a families’ challenges exceeded what Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies could provide, Natasha connected them to other community resources to help them achieve long-term stability.
Natasha’s clients have said that in addition to helping them find much-needed financial assistance, they appreciate her patience and how she makes them feel respected.
Also, Natasha’s compassion and community service extend beyond her job duties. For example, she organized a volunteer team from Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies to pick up and pack donated canned food, fresh meals, diapers, wipes and other household essentials. Thanks to Natasha’s efforts, more than 1,500 families received bags full of aid to help see them through the pandemic.
“A lot of individuals who have called for assistance have never been in this financial situation before. They are scared and nervous,” said Linda Cichon, Executive Director of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies. “Natasha goes above and beyond to make them feel comfortable and that it’s OK to ask for help. … She’s a hero to all of us.”
The Community Foundation’s Prize patrol surprised Natasha with a cape and medal in recognition of her heroic community service. And like our other Hidden Heroes Award winners, Natasha received a prize package that includes $500, restaurant gift certificates and a two-night staycation at the beautiful Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach hotel.
“My program means so much to me because I know what destitute feels like, especially being a single parent. I don’t want any of my clients to ever feel that way” Natasha said.
“It can be overwhelming at times, but for me it brings me joy and gratitude to do what I’m doing. To know that I am helping to inspire and motivate others,” she said.
Natasha is just one example of the many nonprofit hidden heroes all across our community whose hard work helps shape a brighter future for Broward. Thanks to support from philanthropists with charitable Funds at the Community Foundation, these hidden heroes can continue to tackle Broward’s big challenges – during this crisis and beyond.
To learn how the Community Foundation can help you fuel heroic, life-changing philanthropy in Broward, contact Vice President of Philanthropic Services Nancy Thies at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-761-9503.