A three-year, $400,000 grant awarded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will try to stem the so-called brain drain in Akron and match young professionals with nonprofits to serve as board members.
Among the ways to match nonprofits and young board members will be a speed-dating event, an annual training for up to 100 young professionals on the duties of a board member and a matching service for potential board members and minority board members.
“Akron continues to attract talented young professionals. We want to encourage emerging leaders to build a career and life in the region and get civically involved,” said Jennifer Thomas, Akron program director for the Knight Foundation. “We hope this program will engage our next generation of talent in Akron by providing them with the skills and capacity to strengthen Northeast Ohio.”
The 2009 Knight-funded Soul of the Community study found young people are moving to Akron but indicate they don’t feel attached to the area.
“If you can engage young people in your community, it helps them feel more allegiance to a community and then they’re more hesitant to leave,” said Brian Broadbent, president and chief executive of Business Volunteers Unlimited: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence. Founded in Cleveland in 1993, BVU merged with the Akron-based Center for Nonprofit Excellence in 2011. The merged organization has offices in both Cleveland and Akron, and provides services and training to nonprofits.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.