Friday, August 25, 2017

Virtual Ability Works With Other Nonprofits in Virtual Worlds

Contributing Author: Gentle Heron

Virtual Ability, Inc.® was the first organization that began as a Second Life® community and then became a legally chartered nonprofit corporation. At the time the Virtual Ability community was forming in Second Life, a wide variety of nonprofit corporations from the physical world were coming into Second Life to do awareness, outreach, and fundraising. They formed a group called NonProfit Commons, sponsored at that time by TechSoup®. Virtual Ability became an early active corporate member of the NonProfit Commons (NPC) group in Second Life.

In addition to attending weekly meetings (Friday mornings at 8:30am Pacific), Virtual Ability members have given presentations, greeted newcomers to the NPC, mentored about virtual worlds and nonprofit functioning, and assisted several Second Life groups to apply for nonprofit tax status.

The mission of the Nonprofit Commons in Second Life is to create a community of practice for nonprofits and those doing social-good, cause-based work to explore and learn about virtual worlds, foster connections, and discover the many ways in which nonprofits might utilize these unique environments to achieve their missions. NonProfit Commons is now peer governed and funded.

This Friday, August 25, NonProfit Commons is celebrating its tenth anniversary in Second Life. Find out more about NPC's history at or join the parties at 8:30am or 5pm Pacific in the NPC Amphitheater on Plush* (SLURL: ) in Second Life.

Please email any questions about NonProfit Commons to

Editor's Note: Plush is a virtual location in Second Life with a special kind of link to get there. You will need to create an account and an avatar to use in the environment. If you are entering Second Life for the first time, visit this page to get started.

Image Credit: Rhiannon Chatnoir


  1. From Elder Voices, Inc a 501(c) (3) Charity
    Kara Bennett, PhD/Avatar Dancers Yao

    The Nonprofit (NPC) community is a special place to experience new possibilities for understanding how to express humanitarian values in our 21st century global society.
    For example, Elder Voices, brings human rights to health care with education, prevention, and intervention. Founded in 1996 by health practitioners, (Kara Bennett, PhD and Susan Patrice Weiner, MD, MPH), we support the World Health Organization concept of health as “a state of physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
    In addition to our work in the real world, because of the opportunity to have an office space at the NPC in Second Life, we have been developing new ways for people to learn problem-solving abilities that encourage respect for human rights. As Avatars in a virtual world, a person can try out different ways to think, look, feel, act, and make choices about the kind of character one wants to be. From this virtual experience, a person might also discover how to express their individual diversity and universal values in the real life community.
    A summary of this work is available as a book Chapter entitled; Learning Problem-Solving Strategies in Virtual Worlds that Encourage People to Respect Human Rights, in Integrating an Awareness of Selfhood and Society into Virtual Learning. Edited by Andrew Stricker, PhD, Cynthia Calongne, DCS, Barbara Truman, DCS, and Fil Arenas, EdD. (IGI Global Publishers 2017) For sample excerpts see
    For further information about Elder Voices, email Kara Bennett PhD, at, or contact us through

  2. Hey there! Sorry it took me so long, but I was, like, super-busy this week. If I were to attend Project Done and tell all the things I did you'd be amazed.

    So, as I said at NPC's 10th anniversary, I joined Second Life when I was terminal patient, in 2007. Well, not THAT terminal it seems, I'm still alive, maybe doctors are a bit over-dramatic sometimes. I couldn't leave the house. Actually, I was supposed to lie down all the time, but I toughened it out and spent that time sitting in front of my computer, exploring Second Life among other things. Even thought in 'real life' I was too weak to walk around, let alone leave the house, in SL I could travel. I visited museums and attended conferences. I went to japanese stores and met japanese fashionistas. I received numerous job offers. I even went to 'virtual' job fair. I saw beaches, forests and gardens. I visited Vienna and Kenroku-en. Events quickly became my passion and I started SL event promoting group. There were many art and science events from different groups. Virtual Ability Island for the disabled. SL was in fashion at the time, and I could attend many IT corporate events. Nature held events too. 'Real life' museums and universities had their presence there. Due to my condition I spent a lot of time in SL. Eventually I found NPC and attended friday events for many years. Even after my health improved and I stopped spending huge amounts of time in SL I still kept attending friday NPC meetings. Nowadays NPC is what still keeps me in Second Life. Non-profits I met at Nonprofit Commons inspired me to start my own NGO Blueberry Dreams Foundation in 2010... and now, in 2017, we're working hard at Blueberry Dreams to open our first nutritionist office and to eventually extend it to multiple ones.

    So, if someone asks me if virtual worlds are useful at all, who needs them... Well, improvement in my quality of life when I was severely ill was astonishing. Instead of wasting away at some hospice somewhere, not only I could travel when it was physically impossible, but I also met friends from US and other countries, started various hobby projects and eventually started my own NGO in real life. Not to mention, even for healthy people, being able to 'travel' virtually makes it possible to meet people from other continent each week, without travel costs. That's what's possible with that technology.

    Kesja Plecha
    Blueberry Dreams Foundation & Diet Center


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