The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Cleveland was proud to present its inaugural Young Nonprofit Professional of the Year award in 2019! Fourteen young professionals from around the city were nominated by directors, co-workers, friends, and mentors.
The fourteen nominees represented various causes and missions, but they all had one thing in common: they truly care about who (and what!) keeps Cleveland great!
We appreciate all the nominators who took time to tell us about what makes these young professionals great. Our Board loved reading about the work being down throughout the city by these professionals and appreciate all that they do.
Position: Director of Advancement
"Mike serves all who come in need of food, clothing, shelter, advocacy and a path to self sufficiency. He lives it. I've seen him attend graduation ceremonies for clients, give them rides places and eat lunch with them. He really cares and takes ownership of what we do, which is why his fundraising work is so genuine and successful."
Position: Operations Manager
"Astounding would be an understatement for Daniel's ability to juggle several large projects at once. Currently working on his doctorate on top of his day job, he has volunteered the equivalent time of an additional full-time job with various North East Ohio (NEO) nonprofits including the Lorain County LGBTQ+ and Allies Task Force. With the Task Force he has served as the Chair of the Development Committee and is advising the Board as it establishes educational programming to offer a range of schools, nonprofit entities, and businesses that have contacted the Task Force requesting such programs to increase their outreach to and support of LGBT residents. The Task Force has in turn inspired a community movement and a number of leaders in Lake County to begin creating a similar entity in that county to serve their community."
Position: Campaign Specialist
"Polly is simply a rockstar. She coordinates logistics for events that see attendance of 10,000+ people, and keeps her cool while doing it! She manages both internal and external volunteers, working to ensure everyone feels connected to the cause. She is always looking for ways to best engage the community with the LLS mission and truly keeps the mission in the forefront of all that she does. She is a great example of a young professional who is on the rise."
Position: Founder and Executive Director
"The greatest leaders serve and engage. What makes Erin quite remarkable and unique is that she juggles and manages the nonprofit work both here in the United States, drumming up support and planning projects, and in Uganda, meeting with officials, building her Ugandan team, and overseeing the projects being built. She is constantly engaging others to get involved, sharing her journeys in the field and finding creative ways for supporters to get involved here in Cleveland through fun runs and walks, beach clean-ups, water festivals, and community events."
Position: Director, Business and Community Engagement
"Heather demonstrates self-awareness and an openness to learning. She actively assumes leadership of new ideas and figures out how to do it, in coordination with others. Heather possesses skills from her position in the for-profit sector with project management, time management software, which she shares easily with other team members. Heather is open in sharing challenges with trusted team members, seeking support and feedback."
Position: Associate Banking Advisor
"Meghan was awarded Volunteer of the Year from Youth Opportunities Unlimited in 2017 for her service to our youth in communities all across NE Ohio. It was not only the number of hours she served, but the amount of events she served at. She was never a "one and done" volunteer. She's not only maintained her commitment to our organization and youth were serve, but she's brought others along! She is truly a young leader who is making an impact in Cleveland and beyond!"
"As co-director of IRTF, Ms. Stonebraker-Martinez has been instrumental in convening local coalitions which come together to support the rights of migrants in Northern Ohio, as well as Clevelanders living in poverty, or who struggle with mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline. She is constantly working to connect partners within the Cleveland community and grow grassroots people power."
Position: Community Liaison
"Simone Swanson is an exceptional young lady. In her nearly two years at The Gathering Place, she has made a significant impact in our organization with her creative ideas, her energy, enthusiasm, sense of commitment and strong work ethic. Simone will go far in her career. She is a leader and grows more and more in this capacity every day."
Position: Executive Director
"Amy has only been in her current position for a short period of time, but has already brought together new and diverse stakeholders to raise money, awareness, and visibility about a disease that it often associated with profound shame and embarrassment. She has done so while being calmly public about her own experiences living with Crohn's, and has thus served as a powerful role model for thousands of northeast Ohioans. Prior to this position, while serving as Chief Program Officer at Open Doors Academy, Amy managed 11 sites and dozens of young professionals, helping ensure that northeast Ohio young people were receiving consistent, high quality after school and summer programming."
"At just 33 years old, Ashley Basile Oeken has dedicated her professional and civic career to making Cleveland a better place for all of us to call home. Her passion, dedication, and love for the Cleveland young professional community has led her to make a positive impact on Cleveland and has inspired others to do the same. She motivates the young professional leaders around her to get involved, take on new roles and advance the Cleveland community. As an extraordinary business leader, mentor and new mother to a newborn baby girl, I can honestly say that Ashley’s professional accomplishments and determination to inspire others to become influencers in the community make her the perfect candidate for this award."
Position: Sr. Project Manager, Policy & Special Projects
"Grace is true to the live, work, and play in Cleveland mantra. As a member of Cleveland’s nonprofit community, living in close proximity to the people she serves is incredibly important to her as it informs the decision making process. Being part of the fabric of the Cleveland community means that rather than serving “clients” or “participants”, Grace gets to serve her neighbors – the people who are ultimately affected by decisions that organizations are making. To Grace, investing in the success of her neighbors means investing in the future of the greater Cleveland community as a whole."
Position: Senior Manager of Donor Relations
Position: Development Coordinator
"Audrey is one of the most authentic, hard working, highly driven young professionals I have ever met. She does everything out of true passion and drive - and is never looking for praise/recognition. She does things behind the scenes that most people probably don't even know about. I believe Audrey is a strong candidate for this award."
Congratulations to Brian Schultz, who received the honor of being named the Young Nonprofit Professional of the Year!