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Grandma's Gifts is a charity organization that works to provide goods and services to children and families in Appalachia. To date, over 12 million dollars in goods and services have been provided. Additionally, over 650,000 books have been donated to needy children, daycares, hospitals, and libraries; more than 10,000 pounds of food have been given to families, battered woman's shelters, and food pantries. The organization is run by volunteer youth and young adults.
In 1993, Emily Douglas founded Grandma's Gifts in memory of her grandmother, Norma Ackison, who died of breast and lung cancer in 1991 at the age of 60. One of 11 children, Ackison was an infant when her father died. She survived during the Great Depression because of her neighbor's charity. When she grew up, she returned the kindness to others. Douglas stated that when she was a child, she would accompany her grandmother to the store to purchase canned goods and clothes for veterans. As a six-year-old, Douglas believed the goods were "for me". After her grandmother died, Douglas, at the age of eleven, "missed her so much, so I decided to [Grandma's Gifts] in her memory".
In the first year of Grandma's Gifts, Douglas wrote letters to her parent's friends who donated $300 to the cause. That year, she purchased Christmas presents and clothes for four impoverished children in Lawrence County, Ohio. Three years later, when Douglas was 14 years old, her parents drove her to a house that lacked phones to grant a boy's Christmas wish. The boy wanted a new coat, and after he received it, his mother wept. Thereafter, Douglas became devoted to charity.
Emily is currently the Director of Human Capital at Battelle for Kids. She also keeps the K-12 Talent Manager blog for Education Week, the world largest education focused newspaper, where she writes about strategic human resources, process improvement, leadership, and change management in education.
In 2014, Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Microsoft Education, named Emily a "Daily Hero in Education".
A list, by year, of the awards and recognitions presented to Grandma's Gifts or Emily Douglas on behalf of the organization and her work in education, health, and leadership.