With nearly 1.5 million non-profit organizations in the United States alone, it can be pretty overwhelming to try to figure out where to focus your philanthropic energies. Every couple of weeks, we’ll be highlighting 3 organizations that we think are doing cool sh*t. These will range in terms of cause or program – we’re omnivorous in terms of that stuff. But, when it comes to engaging young professionals, these non-profits really have it down. For this week’s post, we picked a handful of organizations in Boston, but we want to widen the lens and capture some other great ones elsewhere. Got a non-profit you’re really proud to support? Let us know, and we’ll highlight it in a future post.
- The Social Innovation Forum
Full disclosure: I’ve been crushing hard on the Social Innovation Forum (SIF) for a pretty long time. SIF is a fantastic program that helps a half-dozen non-profit innovators build capacity and prepare for their next phase of growth through a comprehensive training program. To select these innovators (through a highly competitive application process), SIF works with passionate, focused funders to identify areas of need, and subsequently, to find the organizations that are working in that space. After non-profit innovators have been accepted, they go through an intense training program and work closely with specialists and consultants to meet their goals. Short the long of it: Not only will your donations to SIF go a long way to help non-profits be more effective, but it’s also a great outlet to give time and expertise, too. Plus, I’ve found tons of other great organizations I support directly through them – they’ve got their finger on the pulse, they’re smart, and they get things done.
2. Artists for Humanity
When you walk into the Artists for Humanity (AFH) Epicenter in South Boston, it’s hard not to immediately be drawn in. Committed to providing studio space for under-resourced Boston youth to create art, AFH has employed over 3,000 young people in its 24-year existence. In addition to the thousands of talented teen artists they’ve empowered through their program, AFH has also reached 12,000 other young people through their cultural programs and youth in enterprise activities. Short the long of it: AFH’s mission to bridge socio-economic and racial divides for urban youth is effective, powerful, creative, and is leaving the world a little more beautiful as a result. You can purchase art and directly support a teen artist, or get involved in their new young professionals group, the Luminaries. And for a pro tip – their event space is next level gorgeous. If you’re looking for a different space to host an event, get married, or just have an intimate dinner party, I highly recommend it.
- InnerCity Weightlifting
What moves me most about the power of the non-profit sector is the ability to approach real problems that feel insurmountable in unique, interesting ways. InnerCity Weightlifting (ICW) is a great example of one of those organizations. Founded by a Millennial, ICW “reduces youth violence by offering proven risk young people a meaningful career track in personal fitness training, and through the gym, connects our students with new networks and opportunity. By replacing segregation and isolation with economic mobility and social inclusion, we disrupt the system that leads to urban street violence.” Their wonderful mission and the results they’ve had in a few short years really speaks for itself: 154 “high-risk” students have been trained through their program, boasting a client list of over 260 people. Short the long of it: Next time you’re working on your fitness, consider signing up for personal training services at ICW – their session packages are pretty affordable compared to other gyms in the area. Or, just donate.