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This is part of a monthly series about side gigs—nurses with interesting side jobs or hobbies. This month, we spotlight the founder of the nonprofit Women of Integrity Inc.
For her full-time job, Shantay Carter, BSN, RN, works for Northwell Health Systems. But in her free time, she works for the nonprofit she founded in 2010, Women of Integrity Inc. in New York.
Carter says that she founded the organization because she was experiencing a tough time in her life and wanted to work with youth, which she’s always enjoyed. “I decided to channel that negative energy into something positive,” Carter explains. “I created WOI so that it would be a resource and support system for the women in the community. Our goal is to empower and educate women of all ages and ethnicities.”
WOI holds a number of events throughout the year to help both girls and women. They hold an annual prom dress drive, a prom dress giveaway, a prom makeover project, a women in business brunch, educational workshops, mentoring, and a Galentine’s Day celebration. Carter says that they also partner with other local community organizations to help host girls’ empowerment events.
“I think it’s necessary to have an organization like WOI because our young girls and women need a safe place, they need support, they need to know that they are loved and worthy, and that their voices are being heard. We provide them with the tools necessary to achieve their goals and aspirations,” says Carter. “Through WOI, we have been able to create a platform that has helped many entrepreneurs start or grow their businesses, and we have mentored so many young women over the years. We have also hosted numerous educational workshops on health, etiquette, and finances. We have created a network/sisterhood of like-minded, positive women who enjoy giving back to their community and want to make a difference.”
Carter admits that she’s experienced some challenges. She needed to select the right team members to help, gain the support of the community, and raise money. “There are times when you may feel like giving up, but then you have to remind yourself of your purpose and why you are doing this,” she says.
If you’re a nurse and want to start a nonprofit, Carter has some advice:
- Find your passion first, and then it will lead you to your purpose.
- Research your target group or area that you want your organization to serve.
- Get a lawyer when it comes time to get your 501 (C) (3).
- Learn to network strategically and intentionally.
- Support those who support you.
- Know your competition so that you can learn how to stand out.
- Have a great team behind you.
“The vision for the organization has to be bigger than you because it’s not about you,” Carter says. “It’s about the community and the people you serve. Don’t try to compete with others. Just focus on what you are doing and your end goal. You may feel like giving up and become frustrated, but you have to keep pushing. What’s meant for you will be for you.”