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An Update from Growth Grant Recipient Kate Kelly


I have followed YNPN Chicago for years on social media and always found it as a great network and inspiration for bringing young professionals together. In August 2021, I started working at Foster Progress, a growing Illinois nonprofit with the mission to “empower Illinois youth currently or formerly in foster care to attain a college degree and transition into adulthood successfully by providing mentorship, advocacy, and educational opportunity.” In my new role as Operations Manager on a team of five, I use my previously acquired knowledge from other roles and my education. On a small team you are often tasked with questions you have never come across before (or had an entire department to defer to) and I am constantly learning new skills as questions arise on the job!


As a small team, I continually found myself Googling human resource-related questions as I tried to learn more, and find templates to save valuable time. My searches continually lead me to Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Their robust resources would answer my questions and lead me to the next logical question…then to a paywall with the answer behind it. I was disappointed. Foster Progress’s budget was set, and there were no extra funds for an HR membership. I planned on asking the Board of Directors for the funds in the next fiscal year and I would find free (and less helpful and pertinent) answers in the meantime.


In March I saw the social media call for applications for the YNPN Professional Growth Grant for up to $500. My mind immediately went to a SHRM membership and all the incredible resources locked behind that paywall. I applied for the grant and was so excited to receive the award and purchase the membership.


Since joining SHRM, I have learned so much about human resource best practices, and saved so much time leaning into their expertise. Foster Progress is about to complete our first employee manual, which would have taken far more time (and would probably been missing some key components!) without SHRM to consult. We are working on our goal statements for this fiscal year, and I plan on fully utilizing my SHRM membership to set Foster Progress on the best path as we continue to scale. I am learning so much through my SHRM membership, which was only made possible through the YNPN Professional Growth Grant. I will carry the answers to so many human resource questions with me as Foster Progress grows!

Want to learn more about YNPN Chicago's Professional Growth Grants? Visit our website.


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