The WTA interviews Nicole Stirling, Vice President and Chief Relations Officer of The Stirling Foundation, on her organization’s efforts with the current crisis in Ukraine and her lifelong passion for helping others. 

What inspired you to have such a strong concern for helping people in need?  

Like most of us, my family experiences have been the most formative of my own attitudes and actions. My mother and grandmother instilled my passion for helping others by showing me a beautiful example of what it looks like to help people in need. My 80-year-old grandma would make lunch and instantly want to run it up to the “elderly” woman a few blocks away. When the power would go out in her neighborhood, she would race out the door with an armload of candles to make sure all of her neighbors were taken care of. She was a powerful role model in that her first thought was to help others. 

Later, when my daughter was struggling with mental health and I was just starting the Stirling Foundation, I noticed that when she was engaged in helping others, she felt better. Focusing outward, on helping other people, rather than focusing inward, typically brings perspective and benefits everyone involved.

What is your role in the Stirling Foundation? How did you start to become involved? 

Four years ago, my husband’s brother, David Stirling, founder of dōTERRA, asked me to start a family foundation to expand our philanthropic efforts. This was the conception of the Stirling Foundation.  

As the foundation has grown, we have been led to many project partners, individuals, and organizations (many grassroots) who have the vision, integrity, sustainable plans, and proven results. Together we have been able to make a much larger impact than we ever could alone. Currently, we are in 29 different countries and with over 200 projects somewhere in our project pipeline.  

What do your efforts look like in Ukraine? How have you been helping the crisis in Ukraine? What are your main goals with these efforts? 

We had projects in Ukraine prior to the current war breaking out. We first began our efforts to help the children of Ukraine after my husband’s stepsister traveled there to adopt. She became aware of unthinkable conditions and situations that the children living in orphanages are subjected to.

Since then, we have been working with Nicolai Kuleba, former Ombudsman to the President of Ukraine for Children’s Issues. We have been supporting his efforts to deinstitutionalize the orphan care system, taking kids from orphanages to foster families. His goal is to curb abusessuch as trafficking, which is alarmingly rampant in Ukraine. When the war broke out, we utilized our partners in Ukraine to bring immediate relief. To give a few examples, we have been feeding displaced people, buying ambulances, and providing medical supplies and battlefield protection equipment for doctors. We have also been providing filtration systems for clean water.

How can the community help if they want to get involved? 

Since The Stirling Foundation is privately funded and doesn’t accept public donations, we recommend the community help via dōTERRA Healing Hands. Sharing the same founder, the Stirling Foundation and dōTERRA Healing Hands are like sister foundations; we support each other. 

From the very beginning, dōTERRA Healing Hands has always been open and welcoming to community support. Since the start of the Ukraine crisis, they have connected with the right people throughout their extensive networks and have made a huge impact. Check out https://doTERRAhealinghands.org/ to learn more and become involved.  

Have you had community support in your efforts thus far? 

Yes, dōTERRA Healing Hands received an outpouring of support from the community once the call for help went out. They have used community support and aid to provide emergency kits, toiletry bags, and sanitation kits and have funded a great number of other initiatives with trusted partners in Ukraine. 

Have you been able to see the good that your efforts have affected Ukraine? 

It has been clear how profound our emergency response efforts have been. We have been able to get people to safety and provide for the basic needs of life. Together with dōTERRA Healing Hands, we have provided relief aid to over 25 different organizations on the ground in Ukraine. As a result of our combined efforts, more than 11,000 people have been moved to safety. A family farm and bakery we work with supplies 400 loaves of bread and milk to the local community each day. Our support was instrumental in the creation of seven refugee shelters/border transport stations, and we have stocked dozens of shelters in Moldova with food and other essentials. We provided warm clothing for nearly 40 people who were sheltering in a subway station and directly helped over 120 families. The needs of Ukrainians right now are real and immediate, and gratefully, our generous local partners and our brave boots on the ground have helped our response match some of the needs.

We have seen that the crisis in Ukraine was all over the news when the war first broke out. Now it seems to have fallen off people’s radar. Do you think it’s crucial that people keep talking about it to urge our lawmakers to make policies to help?  

Although the coverage has waned some, people are still talking about it and wanting to make a difference. When I travel to different parts of the world, for example Africa, I am impressed by how often the war in Ukraine is mentioned. As global citizens, we need to keep them in our hearts and in our minds. We need to pray for them, and then we need to get to work and do what we can to help.

The World Trade Association of Utah thanks Nicole for her time, insights, and passion for helping people in need. For more articles from the WTA, visit: https://wtaofutah.com/wta-blog/ 

Copyright © 2022 World Trade Association of Utah
Copyright © 2022 World Trade Association of Utah
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