2014 was a big year for YNPN. We celebrated ten years as a national network, set an ambitious fundraising goal and blew through it, hosted our biggest and best conference yet, and... well, we're getting ahead of ourselves.
Over the next few weeks, we'll be reviewing those moments from 2014 and a few of our other favorites events and experiences from this year. We call it the 12 Days of YNPN and we're kicking it off by welcoming our newest chapters to the network!
These three fabulous new chapters bring the YNPN network up to 40 chapters across the country. Welcome Birmingham, Hampton Roads, and New Jersey!
Do you have a favorite YNPN moment from this year? Tweet @ynpn and tell us!
In November, our National Board and Launchpad Fellows met in Baltimore at the Annie E. Casey Foundation to review the work of 2013 and get ready for 2014.
This year, YNPN National has invested in important infrastructure, like our improvements to the Wordpress platform used by National and many of our local chapters. We also refreshed our mission and vision statements to make sure that they expressed what we hope to accomplish across the network and the nation.
We also embarked on a Theory of Change process that will inform our next phase of growth and impact as an organization. Throughout 2013, we have been consulting with our National Board, local Chapter Leaders, and experts to identify how we can best support our chapters and partners. As we compile the final data and reports, this information will be used to create a strategic framework that will maximize our impact and help us reach our full potential.
Our National Board, staff, and Launchpad Fellows have been thinking big and bold about the future of YNPN. One of the biggest highlights of 2013 has been laying the groundwork for 2014 and beyond. We're looking forward to making next year and the years ahead even better than this one, and we hope you'll join us on the journey!
YNPN National Board during their November Retreat at the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore
As nonprofit professionals, we all know how critical donations and financial support are to an organization's ability to fulfill its mission. YNPN has been fortunate enough to work with fabulous funding partners who support our work and our mission of creating a more diverse and powerful social sector.
This year we began working with two new funding partners: the Newman's Own Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
We also maintained and deepened our relationship with the American Express Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, two long-term supporters of YNPN:
As we look back at 2013, we are so thankful for our funding partners who made our work possible.
In addition to corporate and foundation support, we also increased the number of individual donors to YNPN. We are of course grateful for the resources these donors have contributed, but we're also blown away by their willingness to invest in next generation leadership and their support for the YNPN movement.
Thank you all for believing in YNPN!
This year YNPN National launched a Chapter Congress to ensure that every chapter has a voice in the conversations and decisions that impact the whole network. Each local chapter from across the country appointed a representative to attend Chapter Congress calls and speak on behalf of their chapter as we work together to determine the future direction of YNPN.
Kari Mirkin and Qyana Stewart, the members of the National Board responsible for chapter engagement, led the Congress through its first year. Says Kari, "Qyana and I want to thank all of those chapter representatives across the country that made a commitment to building Chapter Congress in its first year (you know who you are!). Your continued engagement from call to call--and email to email--helped drive several important national initiatives, and your chapter's feedback has helped us to begin to shape Chapter Congress into the vital network engine we all want it to be."
On December 11, representatives from the following chapters called in to talk about how we could refine the Chapter Congress model in 2014:
YNPN Milwaukee YNPN Twin Cities YNPN sfba
YNPN San Diego YNPN-NYC YNPN Seattle
YNPN KC YNPN Boston YNPN Oklahoma City
YNPNdc YNPN Atlanta YNPN Portland
YNPN Phoenix YNPN Pittsburgh YNPN Chicago
YNPN Cleveland YNPN TriangleNC YNPN Baltimore
According to Kari, "Our final call of the year this December gave us a chance to check in with chapter representatives--many of whom have stuck with us through every call and email--to get their feedback on ideas big and small, and to celebrate the accomplishments of 2013. Thanks to them, plans for building an even better Chapter Congress in 2014 are already well underway."
Qyana, Kari, and the rest of us at YNPN National want to thank the chapters across the country who made a commitment to Chapter Congress in its first year. We look forward to working with you in 2014!
In addition to celebrating milestone birthdays and developing innovative programming, YNPN elevated its national profile this year. Many of our local chapters received recognition for their accomplishments and the National organization was invited to participate in several discussions about the future of the nonprofit sector and youth leadership.
One of the most exciting events, however, was being invited to participate in the last White House Youth Summit of 2013. National Board member Ese Emerhi was repping YNPN in the White House Treaty Room on December 4th and livetweeting pictures and commentary from the discussion about the Affordable Care Act:
President Obama speaking on the importance of the Affordable Care Act. Photo by Ese Emerhi.
With so many young people in America uninsured, we were glad to be included in the discussion about how to help our generation access affordable healthcare. This was YNPN National's third trip to the White House, and we'll continue to make sure that young nonprofit professionals' voices are heard.
In today's 12 Days of YNPN post, we're looking back at some of the innovative programming our local chapters developed in 2013.
This year, YNPN-NYC held their first ever Young Leaders Conference. Erin Roberts, Co-Chair of the event, described for us how the Conference grew out of another YNPN-NYC event:
"We've held a Professional Development fair in early December for the last few years and have had a great deal of success giving our members the opportunity to learn about programs and organizations that can help build their careers. The conference was a way for us to take that experience to the next level by focusing not just on the programs that help to create leaders but also on what it takes to be a nonprofit leader."
This year's conference was a huge success:
And, Erin says, "We look forward to holding the Young Leaders Conference again (and building on our success) next year!"
YNPN Denver was also investing in the skills and knowledge of their members with Elevate Denver, a yearlong leadership program that combines lectures, networking, and peer-to-peer learning. The participants were able to develop a customized program of study drawing from four sets of key competencies: fundraising and marketing; human resources and management; law, financials, and board management; and upcoming trends in the nonprofit sector.
This year's program started with an inaugural class of 20 fellows:
We're so excited to watch this program and Denver's young leaders grow.
In 2013, the network also held its very first regional conference in San Diego. The YNPN Southwest Regional included Chapter Leaders from YNPN Central New Mexico, YNPN Denver, YNPN Los Angeles, YNPN Phoenix, YNPN Southern Nevada, and organizers YNPN San Diego. According to conference co-organizer and National Board member Jessie Singer, "It was a great way to bring five other chapters together to share best practices and good laughs between National Conferences." If you're interested in the conversations from the conference, notes and presentations from the weekend are posted on the Leaders Site.
Chapter Leaders at the YNPN SW Regional Conference
These programs, and the many others executed by local chapters throughout the year, show that not only are young nonprofit professionals are eager to develop their skills and knowledge, but they're also willing to take the initiative and collaborate on innovative programs with their peers.
We are so excited to see what interesting programming 2014 holds!
Earlier in our 12 Days of YNPN series, we celebrated adding eight new chapters to the network in 2013. In the same year that we added so many new chapters, we also had many of our established chapters celebrate milestone anniversaries.
Today we want to celebrate the "birthdays" of our local chapters and recognize them for their longevity.
YNPNsfba, the chapter that started it all, celebrated their 16th anniversary this year at San Francsico's Cartoon Art Museum.
YNPNsfba volunteers and award winners
YNPN Chicago celebrated their 12th birthday!
YNPN Chicago Board at their Annual Celebration
YNPNdc celebrated their 10th anniversary in style with a gala at NPR Headquarters:
White House Fellow Mark Hanis addresses YNPNdc members
Congratulations to YNPN Orlando on a great eight years!
YNPN San Diego used their birthday party to give a gift to their members: professional headshots
YNPN Little Rock
And last but not least, YNPN Indianapolis and YNPN Atlanta entered their terrific twos.
Congratulations to all of our local chapters on your years of service working to strengthen and connect the nonprofit sector in your city!
Awesome GIF originally found by YNPNtc
We often hear from our members that the friendships they've made are one of their favorite things about joining the network. In addition to developing themselves professionally, our members are having fun and we wouldn't have it any other way.
Across the country, local chapters have been gathering to celebrate the holidays.
YNPN Portland got together to celebrate their first year and enjoy some cider:
YNPNsfba celebrated their Volunteer Corps, the group of dedicated members who commit to spending 20 hours per month planning networking events, developing programming, and improving the nonprofit sector in the Bay Area:
The members of YNPN Hampton Roads took the opportunity to celebrate AND do good by donating more than 90 pounds of canned goods to a local food bank:
And what would the holidays be without ugly sweaters? Here's YNPN Kansas City modeling theirs:
YNPN Twin Cities also put on their finest Christmas apparel:
YNPN Austin got in the holiday spirit by decorating cookies:
And YNPN Central New Mexico exchanged gifts:
After all, there ain't no party like a YNPN party because a YNPN party advances a diverse and powerful social sector. :)
In 2013, we said farewell to our first group of Launchpad Fellows and brought on our second class of talented young nonprofit professionals to work with the national organization.
Funded by the generous support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Launchpad Fellowship is a way for YNPN to develop young talent while also extending the capacity and resources of the organization. These paid fellowships provide young professionals with the opportunity to work part-time for YNPN to develop infrastructure and systems that help us fulfill our mission.
We reached out to our fellows and asked them to tell us about their fellowship experience:
Betty Jeanne Rueters-Ward, Talent Coordinator (2012 - 2013)
“Since the start of my career, I’d felt called to help leaders (and myself) live out their commitments to social change in sustainable, healthy, effective ways. YNPN gave me an incredible opportunity to put that calling into action. As national Talent Coordinator, I shaped the organizational culture, leadership structures, and strategic planning of a national movement of nonprofit professionals; a fascinating population of young leaders who were building the early foundations of their careers, and supporting each other in the process. I can’t say enough great things about this learning and leadership experience.”
Ebony Harley, Chapter Resources Coordinator (2013 - 2014)
"Being a LaunchPad Fellow for the past couple of months has been a really neat experience. I've loved having the opportunity to not only learn more about the nonprofit sector, but about the amazing young professionals across the YNPN network that comprise it. Definitely looking forward to what the next 6 months as a LPF have in store!"
Jessica Jesswein, Conference Coordinator (2013 - 2014)
"My favorite memory so far as a fellow was our Baltimore retreat. I got to bond with these other people I'll be sharing this year's experiences with. I'm also enjoying working with the brains at the Twin Cities chapter, they are brilliant and have the best ideas and have made planning the 2014 National Leaders Conference a breeze."
Jamie Smith, Communications Coordinator (2013 - 2014)
"The Launchpad Fellowship has been an incredible opportunity for professional growth. I've been given real opportunities to dig in and do creative, interesting work. Trish and the Board of Directors so clearly believe in us and what we're doing and it's been wonderful to get to work with such a smart and capable group of staff, board members, and other fellows."
Ashley Hartman, Field Coordinator (2012 - 2013)
"The LaunchPad Fellowship came at just the right time in my career. It was a great space to learn new skills, push myself professionally, and further investment in the nonprofit sector. Through the Fellowship I gained the confidence to take on new leadership roles in my local chapter. What I loved most about the Fellowship was the people - getting to work with national board members and staff, local chapter leaders and the other fellows. Their energy for social good is contagious. The YNPN family is filled with some of the brightest, hardest working and passionate people I have had the honor of working with. I know that network will be part of me the rest of my career."
If you're interested in joining our next class of Launchpad Fellows, check back next summer for more information about the application process.
Ese Emerhi has served on the YNPN National Board for five years. During that time, she's helped YNPN grow tremendously and has been involved at every level, from developing the big picture vision of what's next for YNPN to improving the details of chapter support.
This month Ese is leaving the board to pursue an exciting opportunity in Nigeria. We asked her to share some of her experiences, insights, and memories from the last five years.
How as serving on the YNPN Board been enriching, both personally and professionally?
I first got involved with YNPN when I joined YNPNdc as a board member in 2006. Before joining the local board, my professional experience had been primarily limited to the public sector though I had volunteered for numerous nonprofit organizations throughout college and in my early professional life. So serving on the local board gave me a direct look at the nonprofit sector and the challenges young people often face in navigating that space.
I quickly moved from regular board member to National Liaison to YNPN National for YNPNdc, and that's when I think I truly fell in love with this organization. The mission and vision of activating emerging leaders in the sector is something I am passionate about and believe in wholeheartedly. The opportunity to work and strategize with other young people who were just as equally passionate about the mission only made things that much better.
The one thing most people say is an added benefit of being involved with YNPN is the number of new friends you make. That is so true. I know I have a solid network of friends from the people I've come across: there's Kelly Cleaver in Detroit, Steve Strang in Chicago, Qiana Nurudin in Houston, and Malcolm Furgol in Washington, DC. These people and so many others have been pivotal to my growth both professionally and personally. When I decided to become an independent consultant some years back, the first place I turned to for potential new clients was my YNPN family and they come through with real clients that made that transition so much easier.
Ese during an exercise at the November Board Retreat
How have you seen the organization change during your time on the board, and what has it been like serving on the board of an organization that has grown quite a bit during your tenure?
What some people may not realize about YNPN and the type of people it ultimately attracts is that it has, at its very core, a deep entrepreneur spirit. This spirit allows us to never accept the status quo, to constantly be asking questions, to be able to pivot on the spot and change directions when needed. The biggest growth I've witnessed is watching the amazing growth of YNPNdc from when I first joined and they were struggling to find members. I remember the board gathered ourselves on a cold Winter day in an office in downtown DC to come up with one of our first strategic plans. During the visioning exercise conducted by the consultant we hired for that weekend I scribbled on a piece of flip chart of the wish of one day having an office on the iconic K street NW corridor of DC: this is the street most occupied by the powerful lobbying firms across the Nation. It seemed silly, hopeful, a dream that could not be realized. I mean, at that time, we didn't even have an official business bank account. Today, YNPNdc has an office on K street NW.
That dream came through! We believed and we acted as if it already was a reality.
YNPN National has grown leaps and bounds since I have been involved. We've always been challenging ourselves to think of a future of fully activated young leaders and we've done that in the way we work - our white papers, the types of partners we engage with, the communities we work in, and the impact we leave on those we encounter. We've moved from a full working all volunteer board to one that is finding its way as a governing board with staff that now reports to us. Most importantly, the biggest change I've witnessed is that we are now fully at the decision-making table with more senior organizations in the nonprofit sector; our opinions on how to improve the sector is sought after from small nonprofits to the White House. We still have a long way to go, and I have no doubt we will find our way.
Do you have any favorite YNPN memories?
There are too many to share here. Every Leaders Conference is a favorite memory because it is then that you get to see the whole network in one room. It may sound cliche, but even the bad memories are good ones! Oh, the debates we've had with each other in the board room, cramming five to a hotel room just to afford the Leaders Conference, late nights on the phone with chapter leaders trying to figure out solutions to their challenges. They've all been "growing" moments.
Outgoing National Board President Lydia McCoy, National ED Trish Tchume, and Ese
What would you say to someone considering joining the YNPN National Board or a local chapter board?
Do it! You will challenge yourself in ways you hadn't imagined. You will be given real leadership opportunities to determine the future direction of this organization. You will make friends - who knows, you might even find your life partner from this. I know of a few marriages that have come about because of YNPN. We are a full service organization!!
Do you have any final thoughts?
I'm leaving YNPN and America to move to Nigeria to start a new journey. It's time for me to move on and create a space for someone else to shine. While anything new is a terrifying thing, I know I am prepared for this new challenge in my life because I was given the opportunity to find my voice, sharpen my skills, and grow as an individual. I've always fancied the idea of YNPN going international, and who knows, just maybe I'll form the first YNPN chapter on the African continent.
I am excited about all the possibilities open to YNPN National and though I'll be away, I will be watching and cheering along. I'm going to miss my YNPN family. But like family, they will always be with me. Wishing you all the very best of luck!
What's next for Ese?
She'll be leaving Washington, DC to move to Nigeria where she will serve as the Program Lead of NDLink (a new knowledge platform) for the PIND Foundation. The mission of PIND Foundation is to establish and encourage innovative multi-stakeholder partnerships that support programs and activities, which empower communities to achieve a peaceful and enabling environment for equitable economic growth in the Niger Delta. NDLink will serve as a digital hub for sharing activities, connections, key discussions among stakeholders, program updates, and including building up the knowledge base of issues that impact the Niger Delta. As Program Manager for NDLink, Ese will be primarily responsible for the design, implementation, and engagement of the new knowledge platform.
Prior to PIND Foundation, Ese served as a KM officer and Community of Practice specialist for the World Bank Institute where she advised and lead workshops on the how-to of communities of practice for internal World Bank clients, including curating resources and templates that enabled clients to implement their own communities seamlessly on multiple collaborative platforms. She also served as a board member for the Washington Peace Center, and is currently serving as the Director of Institutional Operations for Vote of Quench. Originally from Nigeria, Ese has spent the majority of her adulthood traveling and living in multiple countries and is looking forward to this new exciting and challenging part of her professional growth in Nigeria.
We say farewell to Ese, but not goodbye!
Ese relaxes with fellow National Board Member Darrell Scott during the November Board Retreat
Top photo: Lydia McCoy, Ese Emerhi, Trish Tchume Left photo: Ese Emerhi and Malcolm Furgol Right photo: Ese Emerhi and Qyana Stewart