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          In 2010 Laura and Mark Belk traveled to Ghana to adopt their youngest daughter, the first child with Down Syndrome to be adopted from the country.  The persecution experienced by their own daughter because of her disability, and the poverty and desperate need they saw in the lives of the other children weighed heavily on their hearts.  Together they decided that they wanted to do something to help these children.  Because of their experiences following the birth of their third child, a son with Down Syndrome, Mark and Laura knew how much every child's life mattered, and they felt strongly that education would be the key to breaking the poverty cycle, and dispelling prejudice towards children with disabilities.  

       From the beginning, Nurturing Nations has been a small charity doing big things.  We are an organization of volunteers, so every penny of your donation goes directly towards aiding and supporting those in need, bypassing any administrative or overhead costs.  Our attainment of 501(c)(3) status in 2014 ensures tax-deductibility for donations in the United States, while our accreditation as an approved N.G.O. by the Department of Social Welfare in Ghana underscores our commitment to transparency and credibility.  



       Our mission is to empower children through education, dispel prejudices against people with disabilities, and protect and provide for those in need.  


       At times the world can feel like a dark place, filled with war, poverty, prejudice, corruption, and despair.  But there is also great beauty and love when someone selflessly reaches out to help another and touch their lives for good.  Nurturing Nations is our way of spreading this power for good across miles, over mountains, and across oceans to lift the burdens of our fellow human beings and make our future bright.  



Laura Belk, President and Founder

Laura is Nurturing Nations founder and president.  She provides the primary guidance and direction for all of Nurturing Nations activities, manages the organization’s day-to-day operations, and coordinates outreach and fundraising.  She served on the Utah Governors counsel for People with Disabilities. She and her husband have nine children, four of whom are adopted from three different countries (Korea, China, and Ghana).  Four of their children have special needs. Laura is a full-time Mom and she loves learning with her family and working through the challenges of everyday life. It is through the experiences of adoption, caring for children with special needs, and being a mother that she developed a passion for advocating for individuals with special needs, those in poverty, and vulnerable children.  Her experiences in Ghana as part of the adoption of her youngest child provided the motivation and the direction for the founding of Nurturing Nations. In addition to coordinating and overseeing all aspects of Nurturing Nations, she regularly delivers presentations about the value of every human life and the need to serve beyond ourselves.


Mark Belk, Vice President

Mark C. Belk is a professor of Biology at Brigham Young University and father of nine. He enjoys taking in the beauties of the natural world, hunting, fishing, and reading. Along with his wife, he founded Nurturing Nations and currently serves as Vice President. Mark assists in coordinating and overseeing all aspects of Nurturing Nations. Just as tiny, seemingly insignificant cryptobenthic fishes can impact the health of a massive coral reef, Mark believes that the tiny acts of kindness we do have the power to ripple outward and impact generations. As an educator himself, he sees the power of education in changing lives for the better and opening up worlds of opportunity.


Percy Amoah Gogoe, Ghana Director

Percy Amoah Gogoe is the Nurturing Nations Ghana Director.  He is a strong advocate for child welfare in Ghana. Percy grew up in poverty and he understands firsthand the struggle and hardship experienced by many to survive and find opportunities for education.  


In consequence of these difficult experiences while growing up he developed a passion for helping vulnerable and less-privileged children. Through hard work and persistence Percy graduated from the University of Ghana, Legon.  For over twenty years he has worked with non-governmental agencies to help many children with special needs, orphans, vulnerable and exploited children, victims of child slavery, unwed teenage mothers, and individuals in poverty.  Percy is happily married, and he and his wife Miriam have six beautiful children.


Rachel Moyar, Secretary

Having grown up with siblings with disabilities, Rachel is a supporter of Nurturing Nations mission to dispel prejudice and help children of all abilities to thrive. 

Rachel graduated from Brigham Young University in 2011, and is now the mother of five children. At Nurturing Nations, Rachel often works behind the scenes on the website, newsletters, and other media. 


Luke McPherson, Advisory Board

After graduating law school in 2009, Luke spent a few years in the private sector working for a large firm and public corporation in Dallas, Texas.  Then in 2013, Luke joined the USAF JAG Corps as a commissioned officer.  Luke spent a few years on active duty before separating and joining the Air Force reserves, where he is still currently an active reservist.  In his civilian capacity, Luke has continued to work within the DoD as a civilian attorney, first with the Air Force, and now with the Navy Office of General Counsel.  


Luke and his family have supported Nurturing Nations for several years.  He says he appreciates its focus on helping the poor and the needy, and protecting and educating all children regardless of their natural capabilities.  He also values that as a nonprofit, Nurturing Nations has little to no overhead, which makes it so every dollar donated helps its mission. 


Chris and Tara Wall, Advisory Board

Chris and Tara Wall are a farmer husband and wife raising apples, peaches, and tart cherries on their family farms located in beautiful South Utah County. Together with their children they enjoy cultivating the land for the community and have loved living a sustainable life of growing fruits and vegetables for others to enjoy. Everyone must be fed and needs to know where their food comes from. Farming makes you appreciate the importance of hard work, good nutrition and the privilege it is to be nourished.  

Chris and Tara love supporting Nurturing Nations and are honored to be associated with this community. 


Aaron and Shannon Brown, Advisory Board

Aaron was born in Utah and Shannon is from Southern California. They met over 30 years ago on a double date, Shannon happened to be his friend’s date.  They love spending time with their family- which consists of 5 of their own kids, 3 more who married into the family, and their favorite humans, 3 grandchildren.  They enjoy motorcycling, skiing, snowboarding, and boating together at Lake Powell.

Aaron and Shannon are entrepreneurs and love the reward of working hard and making a difference in the lives of others.  They are co-owners of Canopy Mortgage which has become a national company with 500+ employees.  

In 2022, they were privileged to travel to Ghana with two of their children, and were able to witness firsthand the good that Nurturing Nations is doing. They are happy to serve on the advisory board and help to support this great work.

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