Nonprofit Founded By UD Alum Recovers From Fire

Grace James
News Editor

A nonprofit founded by a UD alum lost $15,000 worth of possessions after a fire engulfed a container holding all of the organization’s residential items.

The nonprofit, Determined to Develop (D2D), was founded by Matt Maroon after he was inspired by volunteering from 2006 to 2008 in Malawi, a country in southeast Africa. D2D has eight employees. The mission of the charity is “to empower, through education, the people of Malawi to become agents of development for their families, communities, country and world,” according to its website.

During a yearly fumigation exercise on July 3, all residential items were moved into a storage container. After a nearby cooking fire spread to the bottom of the container, everything inside was incinerated. No injuries were reported, but the group suffered $15,000 in losses with all items destroyed. The lost belongings included:

  • 45 beds and mattresses
  • Blankets, sheets, comforters and pillows
  • Entire wardrobe for 45 children

“Everything was fully burnt leaving us completely devastated and with a big hole in our lives,” Maroon said on a GoFundMe page for the charity. “Everyone slept on the concrete floor because all of our beds were burnt to cinders and everyone slept with the clothes on their backs because that was all that was left – nothing to change into.”

To raise the funds to replace the lost items, Maroon set up a GoFundMe on July 4 with the goal of raising $13,000. As of August 7, the charity has raised $13,695.

“Malawi is always two steps forward, one step back,” Maroon said. “In a system that doesn’t have insurance or access to credit, families are always one disaster away from ruin, or in our case, a charity trying to give rural Malawian kids a chance.”

The fundraiser had a total of 123 donors with 550 shares. The organization has almost fully recovered and has replaced all the beds, bedding and clothing for the kids, Maroon said.

Photos courtesy of Matt Maroon

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