8 Organizations Developing Young, Social-Minded Leaders

By Stephen Alexander, Exponent Philanthropy

The Talent Philanthropy Project recently wrote a blog post about funders who invest in nonprofit leadership. Among the nine funders identified as leaders in this area were two Exponent Philanthropy members (Community Memorial Foundation and Meyer Foundation) and several partners.

This article got me wondering: What nonprofits in the social sector are developing and supporting talented, social-minded Millennials and Gen Z’ers? What organizations should be on the radar of these funders and others like them?

To start, here are 8 programs and networks investing in young leaders. They are inclusive, accessible, and pushing participants to think big about the future.

  1. Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) – A national network with 12 chapters, EPIP works to develop leaders committed to building a just, equitable, and sustainable society. Chapters provide local learning and networking opportunities, and the national arm builds a voice for a generation aimed at transforming philanthropy.
  1. Fellowship for Emerging Nonprofit Leaders (Aspen Institute) – This program aims to provide nonprofit leaders with the tools and perspectives necessary for effective, enlightened leadership. Participants are given the opportunity to move beyond daily operational concerns to take time for the “blue sky” thinking and exploration of core values that animate their work and inspire them to become more effective, innovative, and inspiring leaders.
  1. Net Impact – Net Impact is a worldwide network with over 300 chapters and 50,000 student and professional members. They provide the network and resources to inspire emerging leaders to build successful “impact careers” – either by working in jobs dedicated to change or by bringing a social and environmental lens to traditional business roles.

  1. Next Gen Fellows Program (Exponent Philanthropy) – This 6-month training fellowship is designed specifically for young leaders involved in foundations as trustees or staff. The program inspires and empowers individuals to make change within their organizations and communities.
  1. NGen (Independent Sector) – This yearlong program is designed to build the capacity of nonprofit and philanthropic leaders age 40 and under to have significant impact on society’s toughest challenges. This program has propelled the work of many emerging stars, including Scott Beale (Atlas Corps), Jennifer Ford Reedy (Bush Foundation), Rahsaan Harris (EPIP), Monisha Kapila (ProInspire), and Trish Tschume (YNPN).
  1. ProInspire – ProInspire is building the next generation of nonprofit leaders by expanding the talent pipeline, developing professionals, and increasing diversity. Its fellowship program has created a path from the for-profit world to the social sector, and its Managing for Success training equips new and recent managers with the resources they need to succeed.
  1. Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) – A national network of 37 chapters (and 25 in waiting), YNPN strives to provide professional development, leadership, and networking opportunities for nonprofit professionals. Several chapters have developed and launched leadership programs at the local level, including Chicago, DC, Denver, and the Twin Cities. 
  1. Youth Philanthropy Connect (YPC) – YPC is a youth-led network for youth involved in philanthropy. A program of the Frida C. Fox Foundation, YPC offers leadership, learning, and connecting opportunities to Gen Z’ers across the nation.

To many philanthropists, it’s clear we’re in need of intelligent, pragmatic, and inspiring young leaders. And, fortunately for us, there are great networks and training programs already in existence.

Help me build out this list. What other networks and programs should funders know about?

StephenProgram Manager Stephen Alexander designs sessions for our educational programs and coordinates content production with the goal of delivering the best service possible to the Exponent Philanthropy community. Before coming to Exponent Philanthropy, Stephen worked with Thomson Reuters, Jones Lang LaSalle, and two small nonprofits in Washington, DC. Stephen currently serves on the board of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network’s DC chapter. Follow Stephen on Twitter @StephenALXdc and Exponent Philanthropy @exponentphil.

12 thoughts on “8 Organizations Developing Young, Social-Minded Leaders

  1. Heh, My man, Gary Williams beat me to it! Love this list, Stephen – and I hope in an upcoming list, you have room for Public Allies, as we’ve advanced 5,600 leaders over the past 21 years in 23 cities through our AmeriCorps Apprenticeship rooted in a values-based leadership practice and striving for equitable and sustainable communities.

  2. Great suggestions and thank you both for sharing! I’m planning to post part two or an updated list this fall. Are there other programs, organizations, or networks you recommend including?

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