One of the stories that lives in YNPN lore is that in 1998, it was awarded its very first grant from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, with the help of CompassPoint Nonprofit Services (where most of the network’s founders were working at the time and the first home of the fledgling YNPN group in San Francisco.) The group was so excited for the vote of confidence and the support, but there was one problem.
“Back then, YNPN enjoyed such great support from its own community members (both time and dollars) to run the day-to-day programming and work, that actually spending the grant became a little bit of a challenge," recalls Nelson Layag, current Training Director for CompassPoint and one of the founding members of YNPN. “The grant, though, was important for YNPN to take the next step - allowing the San Francisco chapter to thrive and eventually support the emergence of YNPN chapters around the country.”
Ultimately the group used the money to invest in some strategic planning and a marketing and outreach intern who helped give the group its first major membership boost. The story, however, offers insight into the culture of each organization—Haas, Jr. as a funder ready and willing to invest early in ideas with enormous potential impact, CompassPoint Nonprofit Services as an organization on the vanguard of supporting the next generation of nonprofit leaders, and YNPN as an organization focused on growing and diversifying its reach into communities from the very beginning.
Today, as that original chapter in the San Francisco Bay Area celebrates its 15-year anniversary and YNPN as a network stands at 34 chapters and 40,000 members strong, the Haas Jr. Fund has once again signaled its willingness to invest in important ideas at critical moments. Last week, the Haas, Jr. Fund made a generous award to YNPN National to help underwrite the cost of its annual YNPN National Leaders Conference, held this year in conjunction with the celebration of CompassPoint’s 25th Annual Nonprofit Day.
We hope you’ll join us in thanking the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund for their continued commitment to YNPN. To learn more about the foundation’s progressive investments in cultivating leadership for the nonprofit sector, visit http://www.haasjr.org/.