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Check Out Alexander Nicely’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexander Nicely. 

Hi Alexander, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
I started Lift with Purpose as a way to give back to the disability community using fitness. As a person with Cerebral Palsy throughout the first 18 years of my life I had taken part in many different methods of rehabilitation, ranging from traditional physical therapy, Botox, surgeries, intensive physical therapy, and functional fitness. As a byproduct, I also witnessed the cost of all these treatment methods. Through those experiences, I began to understand what a tole, having a disability can take on an individual’s family. It was only through the love and support of my community and love ones that I was able to regain and maintain the ability to walk and I decided at 23 that I wanted to use my passion for fitness as a way to assist other disabled people to be more independent. 

When Lift with Purpose was founded our first fundraising efforts were fitness competitions. We would partner with a family who was in need of assistance and host a weightlifting competition. All the proceeds from that competition would go towards helping the client obtain whatever rehabilitation service they needed. After a few years, we determined that we wanted to broaden our reach and began reaching out to local and national businesses for monetary donations in order to help our clients. 

Since 2014 Lift with Purpose has assisted 20 individuals and their families across the United States and Central America in receiving physical therapy, personal training, surgery, or medical equipment. Specifically in 2021 Lift with Purpose with the support of Title Boxing Nashville has paid for annual membership to Title Boxing Church Street for a woman with a Spinal cord injury so she can work to maintain and improve her strength. After a donation from Fred Anderson Toyota, we were able to purchase a set of controls for another person with a spinal cord injury so she could continue driving. Most recently, Lift with Purpose was able to purchase a custom-built wheelchair for a woman with an autoimmune disease thanks to a more than generous donation from a Nashville-based production company, TN Event Designs. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Lift with Purpose has been very blessed by many businesses both local to Nashville and across the country. Falcon Fabrication in Nashville has fixed wheelchairs for us at no charge. Rehabilitation clinics in several states we have sent clients to have offered us tremendous discounts on their services. For these things, I am very thankful. So, in that way it has been smooth. 

The biggest challenge I have faced as the founder of the organization has been in some way self-inflicted. It is hard for me to tell others about the Lift with Purpose because I am naturally very introverted and very private. I often don’t share things that are taking place with the organization unless I am asked directly. This is a major flaw of mine. 

It is my opinion that in order to be a great business owner you must be extroverted and willing to share your business ideas and goals with anyone. This has always been a struggle for me. I would much rather just do the work and take none of the credit. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
At Lift with Purpose, we believe physical therapy, active recovery, or personal training, can change the life of a disabled person and that every disabled person should have that opportunity if they so choose. 

We specialize in partnering with individuals and their families that are affected by disability and assisting them in getting the rehabilitating services they need. This individual attention to one particular family at a time is what /I hope we are known for. At Lift with Purpose, we want to make a very direct impact on someone’s life. 

I am probably most proud of a short film that was made about Lift with Purpose. the film is called “The Big Pull” It was directed by an independent filmmaker here in Nashville, Jama Mohamed has been shown at the Belcourt. 

Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
If I were to advise someone who is starting a nonprofit, I would tell them first and foremost don’t be afraid to share their story, get comfortable talking about themselves in every setting and in every way. I would also strongly recommend achieving the 501c3 tax exemption for your organization as the very first thing you do. Without being a tax-exempt organization, one is very limited in how you can raise funds. 

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