Art, Animals and Advocacy: The Gifts of Giving Locally

‘Tis the season for giving and we at CSP have decided to spread the love this final quarter of 2020 by making charitable contributions to not only one, but three worthy non-profit organizations. These charitable programs have not let Covid-19 and the related restrictions and challenges dim the lights on their important missions.

Our first recipient, Wilmington’s DREAMS Center for Arts Education, is a youth development organization dedicated to providing equitable access to arts education to youth and teens. DREAMS supports the values of respect, family and community while providing free-of-charge art programming to more than 600 young people and their families each year. Contributions enable DREAMS to continue offering more than 40 classes per week at six different sites in the Wilmington area, including its 12,000-square-foot inner city center on Wilmington’s North Side. Classes include dance, songwriting, collage-making, photography, pottery, drawing, woodworking, papermaking, painting, music and more.  DREAMS’ mantra is “Art Sustains” – and many of us who took comfort in reading books, watching movies and listening to music during quarantine this year would agree. Art has the power to inspire and to change lives. It allows for self-expression and storytelling and provides a safe harbor to anyone seeking to find refuge in it.

Another organization that seeks to provide safe harbor is our second recipient, Adoptions First Animal Rescue of Jacksonville, NC. Adoption First’s mission is to rescue dogs from euthanasia and to find each one a safe, loving, forever home. Adoptions First relies heavily on the generosity of community donations and volunteers to foster dogs, assist with socializing dogs and coordinating fundraising events.  Currently, they are seeking $5,000 in monetary donations to improve the rescue center, where dogs are located when not in a foster home. The center is hoping to replace outdoor kennels, create a sheltered/shaded area for dogs, install a concrete pad for ease of sanitization and install a carport cover. A larger project involves building an on-site surgical suite at estimated costs of $30,000. Of course, donations are still needed to manage the day-to-day expenses associated with caring for a large pack of dogs: food, medication, towels, cleaning products, spaying/neutering costs, etc. The rescue is staffed by dedicated volunteers who are passionate about caring for animals and making each one feel loved.

And isn’t feeling loved what each of us needs? Our third charity recipient is working to spread love one little black box at a time. Operation Pretty Things strives to love and empower victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. OPT’s mission is founded on three principles:  love, empowerment and hope. It offers an on-call lifeline and works with domestic violence shelters and organizations to provide tools and services to help survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking and sexual assault take the next steps toward a life free from abuse. OPT collects donations of new beauty products and cosmetics and parcels them into gift boxes – each accompanied by a handwritten note of encouragement – to be distributed to women survivors to help them be better prepared for job interviews, court obligations and for their overall self-care and wellness. Additionally, OPT partners with local schools and teen groups to educate and promote awareness about signs of abuse and teen dating violence. OPT welcomes community involvement through donations, participation through semi-annual collection drives to garner beauty essentials and periodic gift-assembly events. Based in Wilmington and serving numerous shelters and organizations throughout North Carolina, OPT has proven that hope is indeed contagious as the organization has expanded nationally to include participants in New York, Florida and Georgia.


CSP is honored to support these organizations which continue to positively impact the lives of those in our community and beyond. Keep shining your light! If you would like to learn more about these non-profits or to make a tax-deductible donation, please click on the following links:, and