Every great design tells a story. Some of our favorite stories happen when designers work with people who are trying to change the world. Today we’d like to introduce you to Wilderness Watch and Project Swbi, two of our 99nonprofits. These organizations work in very different ways, but both are driven by a desire to protect and strengthen the cause they care about.


Worth more than gold: Wilderness Watch

Those of us in America’s towns and cities may not often think about our country as “wild,” but there are still pristine places in the United States. The long-term future of America’s wilderness system is threatened at times by attempts to mine or develop. Wilderness Watch calls citizens to act to preserve the country’s wild side.


Middle fork of the salmon river. Via Idaho Rivers.

A recent excursion took workers deep into the heart of Idaho, to a proposed gold mining site by the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. The U.S. Forest Service suggested allowing 13 to 18 core holes to be drilled, and the creation of a 4,000-gallon waste-water pit near the headwaters of Big Creek, a Salmon River tributary. Wilderness Watch argues that this will destroy the area. They’re requesting that a federal judge review the plans and rule them inappropriate.

As you can imagine, this organization is home to a rugged bunch. Wilderness Watch came to 99nonprofits looking for a logo “to better capture the grit and tenacity we bring to our work.”


By brandsformed® for Wilderness Watch

The winning designer has already demonstrated that tenacity. Staff and board members requested a few rounds of changes from several designers before selecting the winner.

“He created a strong logo for us that symbolizes what we do,” a representative says. The designer and Wilderness Watch are working together on final changes. The organization plans to introduce a new website as well, and the team is excited about sharing their new image with their audience.

Hope for women’s health: Project Swbi

Halfway around the world, Project Swbi (pronounced “SOO-bee,” the Lugandan word for “hope”), began with three doctors and a mission: to reduce preventable deaths of women in sub-Saharan Africa.


A coming together of two worlds. Via Project Swbi

Dr. Meg Autry connected with faculty at Mulago Hospital and Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. She and her colleagues, Drs. Felicia Lester and Stefanie Ueda, used their vacation time to take turns visiting the hospital and training physicians. They teach improved surgical techniques and emergency obstetrics, and are also raising funds to sponsor the education of Uganda’s first formally trained gynecologic oncologist.

What began as a personal project has blossomed into a thriving nonprofit and bilateral exchange program. Fellows from Uganda visit UCSF to learn about the health system there. Meanwhile, UCSF residents spend a rotation in Uganda. Mulago serves as the referral hospital for the entire country, making it arguably one of the busiest in the world. Students from both universities enrich their education by working side by side.


Long lines to see the doctors. Via Project Swbi

The doctors have seen notable progress in patient outcomes at Mulago. Dr. Ueda notes, “I have actually now seen two patients in follow-up on subsequent trips, which is rare since there is really no outpatient clinic.” One of these patients was initially admitted with malnourishment and stage IV ovarian cancer. She responded well to chemotherapy, but a check-up 3 months later revealed residual cancer that required surgery. Luckily, the doctors caught it in time.

“She is now cancer free,” Dr. Ueda reports.


By 99HEro for Project Swbi

When Project Swbi recently formalized, the fledgling organization needed a professional logo and visual identity. Working with 99nonprofits resulted in over 100 designs to choose from. The winner, a logo that combines the African continent and a woman’s silhouetted face, symbolizes the impact of women’s health on African life. Project Swbi is moving forward with a website, brochures, and plans to raise $10,000 to sustain the progress they’re making in medical care.

Both organizations still depend on efforts from people who share their passion. Whether help comes from a dedicated med student or a citizen who believes the American wild is worth preserving, no contribution is too small. At 99designs, we’re delighted to lend a hand through the 99nonprofits program.

Want to hear more great nonprofit stories, or tell us yours? Visit 99nonprofits to learn about our free design program for selected nonprofits.