Center for People in Need
Purpose Prize Fellow 2008
Helping needy families with merchandise and legislative action.
In her early 60s after 13 years as executive director of a local community action agency. Beatty Brasch decided she could not retire as long as “the inequities of life” persisted. She founded The Center for People in Need (CFPN) in 2003 to bring consumer goods, transportation, job opportunities and legislative advocacy to disadvantaged families. Brasch devised a “Truckloads of Help” program to centralize donated goods acquisition and distribution so that more than 225 nonprofit agencies in Nebraska can “shop” for their clients at no charge. Her Center for People in Need also advocates systemic change in assistance programs through the state legislature, provides job training for welfare-to-work clients, and facilitates statewide collaborations among other agencies. The “Truckloads of Help” program now provides $22 million in merchandise annually to needy Nebraska families. CFPN distributes 800,000 pounds of food to 12,000 disadvantaged families every year, runs a Legislative Resources Database of 20,000 advocates to help them mobilize on state policy issues, and provides food vouchers and holiday gifts for underserved children. “I wanted to make a difference for as many children and families as I could, [though] I was 62 years old at the time, and I recall my husband, John, lovingly reminded me, ‘Your runway isn’t getting any longer.’ I was determined to ‘take off’ no matter what the odds.”