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Extended Grace awards first $500 Mudita gift

• Jan 12, 2016 at 6:00 PM

Dana Doll, who has worked with refugee populations and displaced people since her high school years, has received the first Extended Grace $500 Mudita gift.

The gift was funded by a donation from Mary and Lowell VanDeRiet of Holland.

Mudita is a Sanskrit word that means, “I rejoice in your good fortune.”

Doll’s interest in helping refugees began when her parents did refugee foster care, through which she gained a Sudanese brother and two sisters. Five years later, her family expanded with the arrival of a sister from Ghana.

Since then, Doll has spent several years working with refugees and displaced persons in Uganda and West Michigan. Her work in northern Uganda included helping displaced women improve their micro-businesses.

Doll’s career includes working in refugee resettlements for Lutheran Social Services of Michigan and working on the board of an asylum-seekers’ house. She is currently laying the foundation for a non-profit business through which she will help refugee women sell sewing projects.

“I have a passion for seeing refugee women truly flourish as they put down new roots in our community,” Doll said.

Her plans for her Mudita gift reflect that passion.

“As we have seen, social media can be a place where fear and hate spread easily, especially in relation to refugees and immigrants,” Doll said. “My goal with this project is to humanize refugees by using social media for good. My plan is to capture compelling stories and portraits of women refugees living in our communities, establish a social media campaign, spread additional word through like-minded organizations, and culminate the project on International Women’s Day on March 8.”

The Extended Grace Board of Directors was unanimous in its choice of Doll as the agency’s first Mudita gift recipient.

“While choosing among the applicants was a difficult task, we are thrilled to work with Dana and fund her project,” Extended Grace Executive Director Barbara Lee said.

Other applicants remain in the pool for future monthly $500 Mudita gifts. Gifts are presented at Inspire! community gatherings, which are held the first Sunday of each month at 1 p.m. at Barber School, on the corner of Exchange and Buchanan streets in Spring Lake.

Mudita gifts are available to individuals who have creative ideas for improving the lives of others in the Tri-Cities. Applications, which are available online at extendedgrace.org/mudita-fund, ask three questions: How would you use $500 to address a social justice or human rights issue? How would you promote your activity? How would you repay it?

Repayment can be through volunteering at any of the expressions of Extended Grace, sharing skills and talents, repaying the gift, or any other means of helping ensure another Mudita gifts can be granted.

For more information about Extended Grace, or how to apply for or sponsor a Mudita Gift, contact Barbara Lee by email at [email protected]


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