Happy Fall! We enjoyed seeing many of you at the Annual Conference for Colorado Nonprofit Association’s Annual Conference. Thanks to those that stopped by our booth or attended or presentation on “Taking the Pain Out of Financial Policies and Procedures”.
To continue our series on sharing our client’s stories, this month we would like to highlight Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (or NILMDTS for short). I feel very fortunate to have been the main consultant on this account since they came on with us for accounting services in 2012. During that time, I have developed a special place in my heart for the organization, their mission, and also their tireless and dedicated staff, who work very hard to provide beautiful remembrance photography to parents who have experienced the loss of a baby. I am honored to share their story with you, and hope you will take the time to learn more about the amazing service they provide to families.
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep trains, educates, and mobilizes professional quality photographers to provide beautiful heirloom portraits to families facing the untimely death of an infant. These images serve as an important step in the family’s healing process by honoring the child’s legacy.
Maddux Achilles Haggard was born on Feb. 4, 2005, with a condition called myotubular myopathy. It prevented him from breathing, swallowing or moving on his own. On the sixth day of his young life, his parents, Mike and Cheryl Haggard had to make the excruciating decision to take him off life support. Before they did, they called photographer Sandy Puc’ to take black and white portraits of them cradling their son. Puc’ photographed the couple with Maddux at the hospital before he was removed from life support and after — when he was free from the tubes and the wires that had sustained him.
“That night was the worst night of my life. But when I look at the images, I am not reminded of my worst night. I’m reminded of the beauty and blessings he brought.”
Cheryl Haggard, Maddux’s mother and co-founder of NILMDTS
Those tender photographs documenting Maddux’s eternal connection with his parents inspired Cheryl Haggard and Sandy Puc’ to begin a nonprofit organization that has provided thousands of families of babies who are stillborn or are at risk of dying as newborns with free professional portraits with their baby. Sandy and Cheryl founded the organization in April 2005 and called it Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep after the children’s bedtime prayer. Today, NILMDTS has over 1,700 active photographers around the world. NILMDTS reaches every state in the United States and has been or is present in 40 countries worldwide.
When I talk to people about my role with NFP Partners and being a nonprofit accountant, I sometimes share with them how monotonous, and, dare I say, boring(?) nonprofit accounting can be. But sharing my days with people like the staff at Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, and hearing about the wonderful things they are doing to help families suffering such a terrible life experience, is nothing short of inspiring. It makes an otherwise unfulfilling job seem so much more important, and reminds me that by helping nonprofits succeed financially, I am increasing their capacity to make the world a better place to live.
If you would like more information about Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep or would like to make a donation to help a family they serve, please visit their website at www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org.
NFP Partners Nonprofit Finance & Accounting Consultant