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In April, individuals and organizations were nominated for consideration by peers, colleagues, or self-nomination through an online application process which closed on April 29th. A special Awards Committee of the YNPN Chicago Executive Board blind reviewed applications and selected the finalists below based on a scoring rubric measuring accomplishments, collaboration, community impact, uniqueness of contributions, and other qualities.

Celebration finalists: Text


A good supervisor is crucial to supporting young nonprofit professionals in navigating career challenges and inspiring and sustaining dedication to the sector. YNPN Chicago’s Supervisor of the Year Award recognizes someone who provides exemplary mentorship to emerging nonprofit leaders in Chicago through active personal and professional development. We seek to recognize an individual who exceeds the expectations of their professional and/or volunteer role(s) in the sector.


Executive Director, Prismatic

"During a transition, my supervisor, Debra, created a new job description including what the my new objectives were, how I could achieve those objectives, how to assess the success in my new role, defined milestones, and a transition plan that I got to read and provide feedback on. Collaboratively, Debra and I created the immediate projects to complete in the first three months in the role. Debra also encouraged me to think outside of the role and look to personal and professional goals I'd like to complete in the next six months."

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National Director of Digital Advertising, American Lung Association

"Emily always knows how to put a plan together and made me feel like she was always listening to my feedback, ideas, thoughts, and concerns with projects. I felt like I could truly be myself around her and that she would always have my back. Simply put, Emily is a rockstar and I'm so lucky to have worked with her."

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Celebration finalists: Meet the Team


Associate Boards (a.k.a. Junior Boards, Auxiliary Boards) are an essential link between the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, broadening support for nonprofit organizations, and developing a leadership pipeline for nonprofit governing boards. YNPN Chicago’s Associate Board of the Year Award will recognize an outstanding non-governing board that serves as an asset to the nonprofit community by allowing individuals from across professional sectors to unite in support of a nonprofit organization and the nonprofit community. This award will honor an Associate Board demonstrating innovation and maximizing collaboration to achieve measurable annual goals.


"The CYC Auxiliary Board is made up of over 30 early to mid-career professionals that are passionate about serving youth in underserved communities in Chicago. The Board members are part of CYC’s tremendous community of supporters and advocates who engage with our students and families in meaningful ways throughout the year. They also help raise funds for CYC programs through various events. The CYC Auxiliary Board volunteers at the various CYC Centers throughout the city. Whether it be lending a hand at the Center’s seasonal festivals, playing basketball with the youth, or providing academic tutoring, the Auxiliary Board is always willing to step in and assist where needed."

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"Open Books' associate board brings together a diverse group of individuals from beyond the non-profit space together to accomplish one goal: to cultivate literacy experiences for our youngest learners especially in Lawndale. Over the course of the year that I have spent on the board, I have been impressed with the reach that Open Books has and the autonomy and creative license the organization gives to the Associate Board to create and put on efforts to support the organization."

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Celebration finalists: Meet the Team


Chicago is home to hundreds of nonprofit organizations. The diversity of their missions and programs allows them to address some of society’s greatest needs. They serve as leaders in the community, and, with few resources, work to make the world a better place. This award will honor a nonprofit organization that exemplifies leadership in the sector and provides support for the young professionals it employs.


"Austin Coming Together (ACT) is a small, yet dynamic team. With less than twenty on our team, we have succeeded in positively impacting Chicago's Austin community because we leverage the power of collaboration to attract and support opportunities that allow all residents to thrive. ACT is Austin's only collective impact agency and has been building capacity of social services, relentlessly engaging with community to connect residents to those services, and creating a policy agenda to address systemic barriers since our inception 2010."

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"Holiday Heroes supports young heroes by bringing moments of joy and normalcy to pediatric patients, their families, and caretakers. We do so through a combination of in-person and virtual programs that connect directly with kids in order to inspire long-lasting joy and happy memories for them and their families."

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"mRelief is a diverse, women-led Chicago-based nonprofit technology organization which helps people in all 53 states and territories that offer SNAP (food stamps) to find out if they are eligible and apply for benefits. mRelief seeks to restore dignity by transforming access to social services. They have helped over 2.7 million individuals, and have unlocked over $1 billion in SNAP benefits."

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"The WasteShed provides Chicago with an organized, affordable, and reliable resource for repurposed art, craft, and school materials, and with a dynamic center for activities related to sustainability, art, craft, education, and material culture."

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"A national nonprofit organization with a mission to educate and develop leaders of color who create transformative change for young people, their families, and our broader communities. We are the preeminent pipeline addressing the dearth of leadership of color at the decision-making tables."

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"TRP believes that social change starts at the community level. When individuals feel safe and secure, they are more likely to invest in their community, making it a better place for all. We support this development by providing services that stabilize and protect families, by helping them acquire assets and improve their financial health, and by mobilizing them to advocate for long-lasting, positive change.

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Celebration finalists: Meet the Team


YNPN Chicago’s annual Young Nonprofit Professional of the Year Award recognizes a young professional who has made an outstanding contribution to the Chicago nonprofit sector through exemplary leadership at their organization and/or through volunteer involvement in the Chicago community. We seek to recognize an individual who exceeds the expectations of their professional and/or volunteer role(s) in the sector.


Sit Stay Read

"Zeeshan always makes a strong effort to give back to his community and does his best to make a difference. Everyone who works with him remembers him as a strong, confident individual who leads his team with compassion and energy."



Collaborative Connections

"Seva is a facilitator, trainer, and consultant working on both community and organizational development in Chicago and with partners around the US & globe. She continually seeks out new tools and innovative processes that center inclusion, participation and strategic thinking in group planning efforts. Much of Seva’s work focuses on the intersection community engagement, environmental justice, and anti-racism."

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Foster Progress

"The first person who came to mind when reading the Young Nonprofit Professional of the Year is Jasamine Young-Paulhill, because she is remarkable. Over the last four years, Jasamine has progressively taken on more leadership and responsibility as the organization grows. She is deeply passionate about creating accessible educational opportunities for youth, and she always approaches her work with the central question of, "How can we serve young people better?" She values each young person’s opinions and stories deeply, and takes each opportunity to show them the respect that many have not been afforded in the past. When a young person meets with Jasamine, they receive her full attention and dedication. They are not merely a number, or a case file, she sees them as a whole person who deserves respect and a helping hand."

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Little Village Education Collaborative (LVEC)

"Day in and day out, Valerie strives to be a fierce advocate for the families and children of Little Village. She understands the importance of access to high-quality early childhood education and ensures that each family she works with has the resources they need to provide what is needed for their child/children. I have had the privilege working along side Valerie and she is who I aspire to be more like in my professional life."

Celebration finalists: Meet the Team
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