Local nonprofit wins $500K

A Costa Mesa-based nonprofit that supports women in Uganda and Peru recently won $500,000 from the American Giving Awards.

Krochet Kids International co-founders Kohl Crecelius and Stewart Ramsey accepted the cash prize and Community Builders award during the second annual AGA ceremony in Pasadena, which was presented by Chase bank and broadcast Saturday on NBC.

The nonprofit received the AGA's second-highest award after receiving online votes through Facebook and Chasegiving.com.

"Extra" host Maria Menounos interviewed Crecelius and Ramsey, a 2008 alumnus of Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, after they received the awards.

"My body is still shaking," Ramsey said. "It's super surreal. I can't quite fully put my finger on how I feel right now, but we're pretty psyched."

Crecelius said the money will "revolutionize and just change what we're able to do."

Krochet Kids, which earned its nonprofit status in 2008, teaches nearly 200 women in northern Uganda and Peru how to crochet various fashion products, such as hats and shirts. It then sells those products to retailers nationwide.

The model gives the women the "assets, skills and knowledge to lift themselves and their families out of poverty," according to Krochet Kids' website. "The result is long lasting and sustainable change," the website says.

—Bradley Zint

Twitter: @bradleyzint

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