Can’d Aid’s Unorthodox Approach to Giving Back Made Huge Impacts During the First Year of Pandemic


With adaptability at its core, Can’d Aid’s unconventional approach made giving back during

the pandemic possible


Longmont, Colo. (March 25, 2021) — One year into the pandemic, Can’d Aid‘s highly responsive efforts have delivered over half a million cans of clean drinking water to communities in crisis, provided hundreds of instruments and virtual music lessons and built and donated over 2,000 skateboards and bicycles to students in need, all while launching new programs to react to evolving needs.


The effects of COVID-19, which have required entire industries to revamp and rethink the way they do business, have proven an unlikely platform for success for the Colorado-based nonprofit. Can’d Aid’s affinity for quick-thinking and entrepreneurial philanthropy has allowed the organization to make deep impacts in a year of unparalleled crisis.


Can’d Aid’s Impact

With roots firmly planted in disaster response, Can’d Aid has evolved into an organization that bucks nonprofit tradition, refusing to be pigeonholed into a narrow, singular focus. Based on four intentionally broad focus areas, Can’d Aid’s first interaction with the community is often through their Water + Response program in the wake of a disaster. During the community’s recovery phase, Cand Aid deepens its impact by rallying local volunteers to rebuild vibrant and thriving communities through Treads + Trails, Music + Arts and Recycling + Sustainability programs. Their unique integrated approach is redefining philanthropy and creating transformational impact on communities across the country.

In March 2020, as the effects of the pandemic began to unfold, Can’d Aid began a yearlong effort to deliver over 400,000 cans of clean drinking water to the Navajo Nation and Hopi communities. In early 2021, when devastating winter storms struck Texas, Can’d Aid, Sleeping Giant Brewing Company, Oskar Blues Brewery and Ball Corporation stepped up to ship 250,000 cans of water. Chelsea Handler, who funded a truckload of water, shared Can”d Aid‘s efforts on her social media - spurring nearly $20,000 in donations from 521 new donors, helping to fund over 70,000 cans of water to those in need.


Can’d Aid also launched its Do-Goodery at Your Doorstep program in 2020, pivoting from their traditional in-person volunteer model to instead deliver art supplies, skateboards and bike kits to be assembled safely at home and then donated to local underserved youth. In addition, Can’d Aid adapted its music initiatives, transitioning from hands-on lessons in schools, to virtual learning with Tunes Ambassadors. This pivot has provided isolated children with an important creative outlet and way to learn how to play their donated violins, banjos, bases and keyboards from professional musicians.


“Communities' needs changed this past year, and we quickly realized in order to be effective, we needed to change too,” says Diana Ralston, executive director at Can’d Aid. “Our approach to giving back has always been unconventional and fluid, which allowed us to be even more creative as we looked for the best ways to serve the most vulnerable populations.”


At a time when our nation’s youth are experiencing extreme levels of anxiety, depression and mental health issues, Can’d Aid’s programs provide healthy and active outlets for underserved and at-risk children across the country.


Fueled by People Power

The organization, which has served communities in all 50 states, stays nimble and effective in large part because of its reliance on volunteers. Cand Aid‘s approach begins by identifying and working directly with knowledgeable and enthusiastic members of a community in need. By partnering with individuals who are most familiar with the community’s shortcomings, Can’d Aid is able to implement the most relevant programs quickly.


“Our tagline, Fueled by People Power, is based on the belief that everyone has the ability to give back and do good,” says Ralston. “With the increased isolation this past year, demand for our programs has skyrocketed, and we are looking for additional volunteers, donors and funders to ensure we are able to help as many communities in need as possible.”


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About Can’d Aid

Can’d is a nationally recognized nonprofit that rallies volunteers from all walks of life to build thriving communities. Through their unique integrated approach, they distribute water, increase access and opportunities for underserved youth to experience music, arts and the outdoors; and protect and restore the environment. Since inception in 2013, more than 2 million cans of water have been distributed, over 6,700 skateboards and bikes have been built for underprivileged youth, more than 2,500 instruments have been donated and the equivalent of 73 million aluminum cans have been recycled. To donate, volunteer or learn more, please visit candaid.org.