Lindsay Gill is a 2002 graduate of Severna Park High School and the founder of a nonprofit that’s designed to assist families with free and easy access to basic baby essentials.
The Napkin Network, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a social network of moms that spans across all 50 states and is spearheaded by Gill’s specialization in social media, strategic communications, fundraising and identifying the natural inclination for moms to help other moms in need.
“When your child hurts, struggles, is in need, there is no greater pain,” Gill said. “By tapping into the mom community, and collectively working together to support each other, we can make a difference in the life of a child.”
Gill, a former Falcons field hockey and tennis player, has a personal connection to her mom-centric nonprofit. She and her husband, Fletcher, have three children all under the age of 7: Fletcher Jr., Gwyneth and Dane.
After graduating from the University of Maryland in 2006, Gill lived in the nation’s capital for nearly 10 years and then moved to Bethesda once married.
Her first job out of college was at National Geographic. However, the more time she spent in television production and behind the camera, she realized her heart wasn’t in it.
Starting in 2010, Gill worked with her husband on his nonprofit, Luke's Wings, for about a decade. There, she served as the executive director for the organization, which aims to support families of wounded servicemembers. She helped grow it from an all-volunteer organization to a staff of seven and raised $2 million.
“But when the pandemic hit, and I had two little kids at the time, and soon a third on the way, I had to leave that position,” Gill said.
It was only a few weeks later — and after seeing countless moms struggling to afford basic baby essentials like a clean diaper — that Gill decided to host a diaper drive.
“The diaper drive was wildly successful, and to be honest, a little anticlimactic after I donated them,” Gill said. “I wanted more — more insight into what was needed, who we were helping, more of a community, more of an impact.”
Gill had no doubt she could bring together moms. So, on December 31, 2020, she made a logo, secured an Instagram page, mocked up a mission statement and vowed that 2021 would be better than 2020 had been for her family and other families she knew they could help.
Gill was right. The Napkin Network quickly made an impact.
In its first two years, The Napkin Network donated more than 100,000 diapers, 500,000 wipes, thousands of formula cans and countless other baby essentials such as diaper rash creams, new clothing, strollers and car seats. Currently, The Napkin Network has eight drop-off locations around the District of Columbia area and is run by volunteer moms.
“There isn't anything a mom can't do,” Gill said.
In less than three years, the organization has hosted hundreds of events promoting the well-being of moms in their communities. Every event has a dual purpose: to bring moms together and to collect unused baby items and repurpose them back into the community. The Napkin Network partners with underfunded, but well established, nonprofit organizations with deep roots in the community and donates items to those groups.
During the height of the formula shortage crisis that impacted moms around the country, The Napkin Network organized large-scale formula drives that garnered national attention. Gill has been invited to roundtable discussions with senators and members of Congress. She’s also been interviewed by various sources on the highs and lows of the motherhood journey and built ongoing partnerships with businesses and people who not only support the mission to help mothers but also the desire to make the motherhood journey less isolated.
“With The Napkin Network, I want to be focused, but more importantly, I desire to be flexible,” Gill said. “To listen and adapt and support where we are needed most. If it’s formula today and medicine tomorrow and food next week, we will figure it out.”
The Napkin Network strives to increase funding to assist moms who are not local to the capital region and desire a pantry or open storage area where moms can pick up items monthly as needed.
Visit www.thenapkinnetwork.com to learn more, donate or to get involved.
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