I remember being an undergrad and asking Dan Doughterty, one of the directors of our campus social justice center, why he always took the bus. I knew where he lived, I knew he had a car, and I knew that it took him an extra 45 minutes to get to campus every day each way because he chose to ride the bus instead of taking his car. I think I expected something about environmental impact or gas prices in response. Instead he said, “Well, when you do the sort of work we’re trying to do here, I just think it’s important to start every morning standing in community.”
Over the years, the people whose practice I’ve most admired have always been people who’ve lived into this philosophy in some form or another. Whether it was my boss at the Building Movement Project, Frances, who would literally get itchy if she spent more than three straight weeks researching and writing about social movements rather than being “on the ground;” or fierce Sister Gene from my high school who ran around Latin America every summer to various demonstrations where she thought the presence of an American might lower the chances of (but not necessarily guarantee against) a massacre.
Fortunately, I’ve never had a job that required me to stand so directly in the line of fire, but the importance of actually touching the people and communities that you’re working “for” has been deeply, thankfully ingrained in me over the years.
So in 2012 during my first year as Director of YNPN, I knew that I wanted to spend as much time as I could with our chapters and our chapter leaders - that I would learn the most in that space about what our network was truly contributing to building a more just and equitable world and the direction I needed to set in order to help our chapters do this even more effectively.
While I didn’t have a chance to visit with every one of our 34 chapters (though at some point I do remember believing that this was actually possible. Yeah, not sure what I was thinking there...) I did have a chance to visit with 12 of our chapters over the course of the year - Chicago, Phoenix, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, Twin Cities, New York City, DC, Boston, Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Southwest Michigan. On each of these trips, I was consistently reminded of everything that kept Dan and Frances and Sister Gene on the bus and on the ground and in solidarity.
On each of these trips, I was reminded of how vibrant, creative, values-driven, strategic, diverse, and vital to communities our chapters are. It was during these trips that the first projects of YNPN 3.0 took shape and the YNPN LaunchPad Fellowship became an obvious solution for expanding our capacity. I would get on the plane humbled and energized and return to my desk clearer, more full of possibilities, and driven to do what needed to be done to support the network.
We have much to be proud as a network from the past year - both in terms of National recognition and in terms of all the amazing programming provided by our chapters. Knowing, however, how much more network infrastructure we still have to build to become THE platform for developing and moving diverse talent throughout the nonprofit sector, I thought it was critical to start the year by “getting back on the bus” - virtually for now. For the month of January, our new Field Coordinator/LaunchPad Fellow Ashley and I will be hosting calls and google hangouts with every single established chapter in the YNPN Network, starting with Atlanta and ending in Las Vegas.
We’ll be posting and tweeting along the way so be sure to like us on Facebook and follow the #ynpnvrt13 on twitter to learn fun facts about the chapters we’re “visiting.” The goal will be to expand on what we learned from spending time with 12 chapters in 2012 and use it to set a bold strategic vision in 2013.
Mostly, it will be an opportunity to start our year standing in community.
It started out this summer as something of an internal design challenge: how do we take our current resources (i.e. money, people, staff capacity, good will) and rearrange them in such a way that everyone gets back more than what they put in?
One of the many exciting results of this organizational shift in thinking is the YNPN National LaunchPad Fellows program - a way for aspiring nonprofiteers interested in building skills and experience in a very specific area to lend their time and talents to a fast-growing, dynamic organization.
A little over two months ago we put the call out that we were looking for energetic, talented folks from the YNPN network and beyond, who might be willing to offer us 10 hours a week of their time and talents in exchange for substantive work in an area they hoped to learn more about, focused professional development, and a modest stipend.
We were *completely overwhelmed* by the response - not only by the number of applicants but by the quality, range, and depth of experiences they brought with them. Folks applied from all over the country and the Fellows we were lucky enough to select are proof positive that the nonprofit sector absolutely does not suffer from a lack of talent.
It's a great privilege for us to introduce Shinei, Ashley, Laci and Betty Jeanne.* Click here to learn more about the work that they'll be doing for YNPN, what makes them tick, and - most importantly - how to connect with them.
(Special thanks to the Annie E. Casey foundation for their ongoing commitment to building a stronger, more impactful sector.)
*UPDATE: We've added a fifth YNPN LaunchPad Fellow since this post originally went up in November. You can learn more about Krysten Lynn Ryba-Tures, our Data Coordinator, by clicking on the link above!
The second in a 3-part blog series by Jeanne Bell of CompassPoint and Trish Tchume of YNPN
Pedro Trujillo is 23 years old and has been organizing around immigration reform for 4 years, currently at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles(CHIRLA). He tells an important story of unintended consequences—of unintentionally pitting generations against one another in the national movement to pass the Dream Act.
Instead, he says, he would like people who were pushed out of high school and did not obtain their diplomas to take ownership of the fact that they too are Dreamers. "I want immigrant grandparents and families to step out and say, 'We are Dreamers too!'"
With what he calls "the small but important victory of the Obama Administration’sdeferred action policy," multigenerational leadership was essential. "The whole reason we won 'deferred action' is that all parts of the immigration reform movement started saying the same thing, not just the youth."
|Jeanne Bell and Trish Tchume||In co-designing our joint conference, Generations of Change: A Multigenerational Leadership Conference, YNPN and CompassPoint were committed to moving the generational differences conversation forward to how the generations can and are working together for progressive social change. One of our panelists was especially provocative on the topic.|
|The mainstream often expressed acceptance of the Dream Act because eligible young people were "not at fault" and were "brought here against their will." He says this messaging came about in part through immigrant-youth-led discussions on what language would work best and be viable with mainstream America.||Youth activists from CHIRLA’s, Wise UP! program in Los Angeles|
|"Once young immigrant leaders began to incorporate these talking points into their story of self, many other students adopted it without question. Naturally, politicos jumped on this messaging too, as well as the media and everyone else. I say naturally because it is easier to stand next to and demand for an undocumented student to be considered 'American' if they are on their way to a degree, than to do the same for someone who is a household worker or fast-food restaurant employee and is also undocumented.|
We agree with Pedro that activists across the generations have more that unites them than distinguishes them; our work together is the only path to meaningful victories in the work for social equity.
By Jeanne Bell of CompassPoint and Trish Tchume of YNPN
We thank the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Walter and Evelyn Haas, Jr. Fund for their investment in our collaborative national convening and this blog series it inspired.
Those of you who were with me at the joint YNPN/CompassPoint Nonprofit Day back in August probably came out of the day feeling energized by all of the discussions about innovations that will help to create a more effective and impactful sector – everything from new models of multigenerational leadership to rethinking the way that we make decisions on the personal and organizational levels.
However, one of the most exciting innovations that struck me was the announcement of the pending launch of the American Nonprofits Federal Credit Union (ANFCU) - a federal credit union specifically for the non-profit sector. So I made a note to follow up on this initiative and learn more about what it would look like, what it would mean for the sector, and what it might mean for YNPNers in particular.
So I recently had the chance to talk with Pamela Davis, the President of American Nonprofits, and Charlie Wilcox, the organizer of the American Nonprofits Federal Credit Union. Here’s what they had to say about this new effort:
Dan Blakemore (YNPN National Board): Okay, first things first - how does a credit union work?
Charlie Wilcox: A credit union is a cooperative business equally owned by the members, 1 share per member and each member is able to vote on the organization’s activities. The members elect a board of directors who have fiduciary responsibility for the organization. The credit union is able to offer lower cost financial services for the membership. Any profits are either distributed back to the members as dividends or used to support additional growth.
DB: So what will ANFCU mean specifically for the non-profit sector?
Pamela Davis: The credit union will provide a more efficient banking model for the sector, as it is typically more difficult for non-profit organizations to secure credit due to a lack of understanding of how these groups function. ANFCU will also seek to raise awareness about our sector and how our financial models function.
DB: I’m sure lots of folks will be excited to hear that. So what’s the timeline for the credit union’s development?
PD: By the end of 2013, we expect to have ANFCU up and running and serving members.
DB: Great! In the meantime, how can YNPN members and their employers support this effort?
CW: YNPN members can complete this survey that is the next step in the process to make the credit union a reality.
PD: We’re also looking for volunteers who have skills in data analysis and communications. Additionally, we are in the process of raising $10.5 million in seed funding and are always interested in making connections with prospective funders.
DB: Those sound like really great opportunities for input and engagement. Anything else YNPN members know about this effort?
CW: We see the Nonprofits Insurance Alliance Group as a successful model that proves the viability of non-profit groups creating their own financial institutions. Pamela has been a big part of NIA Group’s success over the last 23 years, so it is great to have her taking part in the ANFCU project.
PD: ANFCU will provide the means for the non-profit sector to support itself in a substantive and strategic way by leveraging our cumulative financial resources.
YNPN is proud to support the ongoing effort to create a federal credit union specifically for the non-profit sector, the American Nonprofits Federal Credit Union (ANFCU). For more information on this effort, click here and feel free to leave any comments or questions for Charlie or Pamela in the section below. They’d love to hear from you!
The first in a 3-part blog series by Jeanne Bell of CompassPoint and Trish Tchume of YNPN
Multigenerational leadership is an organizational, network, and movement stance in which leaders of all ages prioritize their shared values and leverage the perspectives and capacities of all generations to achieve progressive social change together.
Does this definition resonate for you?
|That’s why we were concerned by the results of a survey we took at our August 2012 co-designed conference, Generations of Change: A Multigenerational Leadership Conference. More than 500 YNPN and CompassPoint stakeholders from across the country attended. As we kicked the day off, we asked attendees to participate in flash research—a quick pulse-taking of their knowledge and beliefs about multigenerational leadership.||Generations of Change Conference cartoon by Lloyd Dangle|
|Twenty-six percent of respondents said they felt no explicit effort in their corner of the nonprofit sector to embrace and leverage multigenerational leadership. Another 31% weren’t sure if they did—suggesting uncertainty about what we mean by the term and what conscious leveraging of leadership across generations could look like. While it’s a start that 43% did see evidence of these efforts, given the decade-plus we have all been at work on this, we hoped to be further along.|
By Trish Tchume of YNPN and Jeanne Bell of CompassPoint
- Building Movement Project Report: What Works: Developing Successful Multigenerational Leadership
|Jeanne Bell and Trish Tchume||The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) and CompassPoint share a deep commitment to nurturing a powerful and diverse leadership pipeline for the nonprofit sector. In our own ways, we have helped to shape the dialogue about who "next generation" leaders are; about what it takes to develop and sustain leaders in social equity work especially; and about what healthy leadership transitions entail as veteran leaders move from executive director seats into other sector leadership capacities.
Committed to nonprofits?
Ready for a leadership position?
Want to help lead the growing YNPN movement?
We'd love to work with you!
YNPN National board members have the unique opportunity to play a critical role in the development and growth of the YNPN network across the U.S., to help shape a growing national organization, and to work to build a stronger nonprofit sector.
Participation on the national board is also an excellent professional development opportunity AND you get to work with a fun and highly motivated team of passionate individuals (see photo above:)
We encourage all those interested to apply! Candidates reflecting the following attributes especially would help add to our board diversity:
- young professionals between the ages of 22 and 28
- people of color
- those living in the midwest, pacific northwest or south (including Florida)
- current or former members of local YNPN chapters
- those with expertise in one of the following areas: advocacy, strategic planning, financial planning, or technology
Click here to apply or to learn more about serving on the YNPN National Board of Directors. Applications are due by Friday, October 26th at 8pm ET. In the meantime, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!
The YNPN network was built 15 years ago on the simple idea that in order to access their full potential in the sector, young leaders need access to four things:
a strong peer and professional network, mentors, training on specific skills, and a place to exercise those skills.
For this reason, we couldn't be more excited to be announcing the YNPN LaunchPad Fellows Program – a way for talented folks who are interested in building their skills and experience in a very specific area to lend their time and creativity to a fast-growing, dynamic organization.
The past year for us especially has reflected our network's continued commitment to building leadership in the sector. At the National level, we've made tremendous strides in building out our network-wide infrastructure via the YNPN 3.0 initiative. And at the chapter level, the roll call at our Leaders Conference made it clear that the scope and sophistication of our local programs is growing every day. These Fellows will play a crucial role in helping to support and advance this work while advancing their own careers in the sector.
(Deadline extended to Monday, September 24th.)
Over half of the 900 respondents identified as YNPN members. So the survey results - which provided enough data for four compelling articles featured in the June 28, 2012 issue of the Chronicle of Philanthropy - not only tells the story of what is happening for young people accross the sector, but gives special insight into the experience of those attracted to the YNPN network. Together the four articles tell the story of critical challenges facing our constituents, from concerns over healthcare access to mounting debt - challenges which mirror those of so many workers in America and the vulnerable populations often served by our sector.
To read the full articles, click through to the links below (Chronicle login required for some):
- Fledgling Nonprofit Workers Bear Financial Burdens
- Health-Care Law Helps Young Nonprofit Workers Get Coverage—From Their Parents
- The Gender Gap in Pay Among Young Nonprofit Workers
- Early-Career Nonprofit Employees: a Portrait
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/.