June 8, 2018

Advice for budding nonprofit leaders: partner, collaborate, and share resources

Three inspiring stories of innovation and ingenuity across America

Each week, The Renewal Project shares three stories from around the country that highlight the innovative solutions individuals and organizations are creating in their communities. Want to share a story from your hometown? Email us at info@therenewalproject.com.

How to grow a nonprofit: Building a successful nonprofit organization is notoriously challenging with its non-stop fundraising cycle, long hours, low pay, and tough issues to tackle. This week at the Social Innovation Summit in San Francisco, business and nonprofit leaders, innovators, and social entrepreneurs gathered to discuss the “next big idea” in the civic, business, and philanthropic spheres. Melissa Sawyer brought her expertise as a social innovator. She co-founded the Youth Empowerment Project, or YEP, in 2004 with a staff of five people. Today, the New Orleans nonprofit has a staff of 50 and helps 1,200 young people find the education, enrichment, and support they need to become successful adults. (YEP was one of this year’s Renewal Awards winners, receiving a $20,000 grant from Allstate.) Sawyer spoke with Tara Leweling, Vice President, Stakeholder Relations and Corporate Thought Leadership at Allstate, about how nonprofits can scale up and work together to solve their community’s problems. “There are so many folks doing good work. If you can collaborate, if you can partner, if you can actually just share resources—as opposed to starting your own [nonprofit]—I would highly encourage folks to do that.” Watch their full discussion in the video above.

We’re No. 1—after New York and San Francisco: Despite the rising cost of doing business in of New York and San Francisco, America’s coastal kings are still the top locations for startups. But Atlanta, with a buzzing economy, affordable rent, and booming startup activity, has been recognized as the third best place for startups behind those two business behemoths. Fit Small Business, a news site for small business owners, recently ranked Atlanta as the best U.S. city for startups that aren’t New York or San Francisco. Cities were judged on eight metrics, including number of startups, venture capital investments, tech talent pool growth, and cost of living. Atlanta boasts housing affordability and one of the highest growth rates in the tech labor pool, according to the site’s research. The city also has one of the highest numbers of startups, 10,193, ranking it sixth out of the 41 of the largest metropolitan areas on the list.

Finding solutions to poverty on the college campus: According to a study released in April, 36 percent of students surveyed on college campuses struggle with food insecurity. Researchers at Temple University and the Wisconsin HOPE Lab also found that 36 percent of the students, from 66 institutions in 20 states, were housing insecure in the last year and that 9 percent were homeless. At community colleges, the homelessness rate was 12 percent. Colleges across the country are working to respond to these alarming figures. At Amarillo College, a community college in the Texas Panhandle, President Russell Lowery-Hart and his staff have implemented an outreach system for roughly 800 students with at least one dependent and a family income under $19,600 a year, according to CityLab. The school employs social workers who help students manage life’s small and large life emergencies that could cause a student to drop out. “They can’t focus on learning the quadratic formula when they don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” said math professor Mandi Wheeler, who coaches students who come to the college from Amarillo high schools with a high population of low-income students.

Margaret Myers

Margaret Myers

Margaret Myers is the editor of The Renewal Project.