Meet the 2014 - 2015 Launchpad Fellows


Special thanks to the generosity of the


In the fall of 2012, thanks to a generous gift from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, YNPN National was able to establish the Launchpad Fellows Program as a way for aspiring individuals interested in building skills and experience in a very specific area to lend their time and talents to a fast-growing, dynamic organization.

For nine months, Launchpad Fellows work virtually from all over the country for ten hours per week meeting day-to-day organizational needs AND building sustainable systems that will help YNPN achieve its next level of development.  In turn, fellows walk away with valuable skills, a wider network of colleagues, and a $3,000 stipend. This year we're extraordinarily proud to be working with an exceptional group of YNPN National Launchpad Fellows:

  • Kiara Boone - Development Coordinator
  • Al Heartley - National Conference Coordinator
  • Kira Luna - Program Innovations Coordinator
  • Hafizah Omar - Chapter Support Coordinator
  • Bailey Patton Brackin - Communications Coordinator

Read on to learn more about this extremely talented group and how they will be working to build and support the YNPN national network.

Kiara-Boone-e1413302051310.jpgKiara Boone

Montgomery, AL

Development Coordinator

Kiara Boone is a Justice Fellow at the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. EJI is a nonprofit human rights organization working to improve justice and fairness in America for the poor, disadvantaged, and incarcerated. As a Justice Fellow, Kiara manages a variety of projects as it relates to EJI’s efforts in challenging the death penalty, mass incarceration, and children in prison. In addition to the criminal justice work, Kiara assists with EJI’s race and poverty project by coordinating public education outreach and conducting research to analyze the legacy of racial injustice and economic inequality in America. Kiara also works on EJI’s development team, assisting with cultivating and sustaining relationships with both philanthropic organizations and individual donors. Kiara graduated from Davidson College with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and concentration in Communication Studies. In 2012, she earned a Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate from Georgetown University. Prior to joining EJI, Kiara was a Fellow at the Jessie Ball duPont Fund in Jacksonville, Florida, where she explored her interests in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector by managing the Fund’s grant making in Port St. Joe, Florida, and working to develop youth employment programs in two of the Fund’s core communities.

Kiara's work as Development Coordinator: As the Development Coordinator, I will have the privilege of working with the YNPN fundraising team to chart out goals and innovative ideas to ensure financial support of the organization. In this role, I will work to help YNPN maintain the funding partnerships currently in place while also striving to foster new relationships to support the expanding programs of YNPN. In addition to these external projects, I will also develop an internal fundraising management system.

Why Kiara applied for the fellowship: As most nonprofits rely on donations for a significant amount of their funding, fundraising is a critical activity in the sector. The Development Coordinator position interested me because I believe effective development and fundraising strategies can help ensure an organization is able to carry out its mission. Competence in these areas is a valued asset for any nonprofit organization. The fellowship seemed like the ideal chance to enhance these skills while also developing new ones. I was also excited about the prospect of being able to collaborate with and learn from nonprofit professionals across the country.

Something you wouldn't know about Kiara from her resume: I am an active alumna of both Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science and Davidson College serving on admission and scholarship committees to help ensure future students enjoy the privilege of attending these awesome schools.

How you can connect with Kiara:

Twitter: @Ki_Boone

Al-Heartley_Headshot-.jpgAl Heartley

Cleveland, OH

National Conference Coordinator

Al Heartley is a theater administrator, director, and diversity and equity advocate based in Cleveland, OH. He currently works as the assistant to the artistic and managing directors at Cleveland Play House where he was previously the education associate. Al has previously worked as the theater management apprentice and multicultural fellow at Steppenwolf Theatre Company and has worked for Writers Theatre in Chicago. Al has directed in Cleveland and Chicago, most recently in Cleveland Public’s Theatre Springboard and Big Box Series where he directed Same Difference by Sam Roberson. Al was a 2012 Young Leader of Color for the Theatre Communications Group (TCG) and was a Small Group Facilitator for TCG’s Fall Forum on Governance. Al has also moderated a panel at the 2013 TCG conference in Dallas, TX about diversifying staff through internships and fellowships. Al is a graduate of Florida State University with a BA in Theater with a concentration in African American and Latina/o Theater. Al is a board member with YNPN Cleveland and the events committee chair for the chapter. Al is a member of South Euclid United Church of Christ where he is the chair of the Christian Education and Faith Formation Ministry, a member of the Nominating Committee, and an usher. Al loves to travel (Delta is his favorite airline), write about diversity, and read new plays.

Al's work as Conference Coordinator: I am very excited to work with the team at YNPN and the YNPN Little Rock chapter to coordinate the 2015 National Conference. I will coordinate all aspects of the national conference and help to implement the vision of this year’s conference. I will also focus on creating strategic goals to make this year’s conference not only good, but magnificent.

Why Al applied for the fellowship: Why not?! I call myself a leadership nerd. I like to read about leadership, practice leadership, and talk about leadership. The Launchpad Fellowship felt like a natural fit to helping me develop key strategic and executive leadership strategies that will help me to become a producer and executive director in theater.

Something you wouldn't know about Al from his resume: I naturally love theater. But I think you wouldn’t know that I love college football. I reserve Saturdays to watch football games all day. It’s one of the few ways that I relax and get to do something different.

How to connect with Al:

Twitter: @sollytwokings

Instagram: @aheartley LinkedIn


Kira-Luna-e1413303989275.jpgKira Luna

Albuquerque, NM

Program Innovations Coordinator

For the past year I have been working as the Prevention Education Coordinator running various youth programs with the aim of ending sexual violence. On a typical work day, I am thinking up creative ways to talk with middle school girls and high schoolers about healthy sexuality, media deconstruction, and gender equality. Previously, I worked as a volunteer coordinator and as a researcher on various projects related to renewable energy policy, educational assessments, and web marketing.   I graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in International Studies and eventually headed out to Albuquerque to complete a master’s degree in Latin American Studies at the University of New Mexico. My passion for volunteerism and social justice led me to the nonprofit sector where I find immense joy in working with my community. When I am not at the office, I can usually be found at a local cultural festival or hanging out with my mentees listening to hip hop or eating paletas.

Kira's work as Program Innovations Coordinator: As the Program Innovations Coordinator, I will be helping to develop and launch a handful of programs that will offer exciting professional development opportunities for the members of the network. In this position, I will get to wear my creative cap, build solid partnerships, and engage with members in order to create programming that serves and supports the diverse network.

Why Kira applied for the fellowship: After a few years in the nonprofit sector, I felt that this was the ideal time for the next level of professional development and network building. I loved the idea of strengthening my program development and management skills while working alongside other energetic and motivated nonprofit professionals all over the country.  

One thing you wouldn't know about Kira from her resume: I continually seek out unique adventures, and I’m filled with abundant happiness any time that I get to dance salsa, camp in the forest, or travel to another country.

How to connect with Kira:


Hafizah-Omar-168x300.jpgHafizah Omar

Chicago, IL

Chapter Support Coordinator

Hafizah Omar is the Administrative Assistant at D5 Coalition, a 5-year initiative to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the philanthropic field. At D5, we believe that as our constituencies become increasingly diverse, we need to understand and reflect their rich variety of perspectives in order to achieve greater impact. Prior to that, Hafizah spent a year teaching in Guyana, South America. She also worked at the Center for Public Policy Studies, as well as the Center for Independent Journalism in Malaysia, doing research on governance, civil liberties violations, and media freedom in Malaysia. Hafizah graduated from the University of Michigan in 2010 with a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics, and Comparative Literature (French and English). Originally from Malaysia, Hafizah has survived five Midwest winters and the Polar Vortex, and is always on the lookout for a tropical island to call home.  

Hafizah's work as Chapter Support Coordinator: As the Chapter Support Coordinator, I will be supporting YNPN local chapter leaders across the country. The YNPN local chapters can serve as a great learning community to each other, and I will be facilitating this exchange of resources, and knowledge.

Why Hafizah applied for the fellowship: I really value the work of YNPN in ensuring that young, and diverse professionals in the sector are able grow their skills, connect, and exchange ideas through its vast network. I think the fellowship would provide me with the opportunity to not only grow my skills, but also help others build the kind of community and network that I have seen in my local YNPN chapter.

One thing you wouldn't know about Hafizah from her resume: I love food, and I love trying new food. I will try anything once!

How to connect with Hafizah:



Bailey Patton Brackin

Wichita, KS

Communications Coordinator

Bailey Patton Brackin is a licensed master social worker. For the last three years she has been engaged in anti-trafficking work in various capacities. She currently works as the Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator for the Wichita State University Center for Combating Human Trafficking. In this role, Bailey acts as a liaison to campus and community partners in addition to managing volunteers who wish to be a part of CCHT’s work. Bailey is responsible for planning and coordinating outreach and awareness events designed to educate community members on the issue of human trafficking. Bailey played an important part in the efforts to establish January as human trafficking awareness month in Wichita, Kansas.

Bailey graduated from the University of Kansas in 2011 with a Bachelor of General Studies in Psychology and a minor in English. She completed her Master of Social Work in 2014 at Wichita State University.

Bailey’s Work as the Communications Coordinator: As the communications coordinator, I get to work alongside YNPN national staff, chapter leaders, and the team of Launchpad Fellows to be the voice of YNPN. Through our blog and various social media outlets, I help connect chapters to resources both inside and outside YNPN and stay up to date on the latest sector news.

Why Bailey applied for the fellowship: The work the YNPN is doing really resonated with me! For the nonprofit sector to be successful we need diverse, talented, young professionals. YNPN is a helping to cultivate those individuals through leadership and skill training. I thought it would be a great way to grow professionally and connect with other like minded people in my field.

One thing you wouldn’t know about Bailey from her resume: I love to be active. Whether it is running, biking, or yoga. I am happiest when I am moving. I am also crazy about University of Kansas basketball.

How to connect with Bailey:

Twitter: @bailey_brackin








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