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Board Member Spotlight: Becca Immanuel

Name: Becca Immanuel

Job title: Institutional Giving Manager

Organization: Erie Neighborhood House

Time in current role: 2 weeks :)

College attended: Concordia University Chicago

College major: Grant Writing, Management and Evaluation

What do you like most about working in the nonprofit sector?

I like that the work I do helps fund programs that help vulnerable members of my community. As a grant writer and a manager of institutional giving, I’m able to locate desperately needed funding to allow programs to continue to help those in need. I also get to tell the success stories of the transformational work of our direct staff every day.

If you could shadow anyone in the nonprofit sector, who would it be?

Felicia Davis, the President and CEO of Chicago Foundation for Women. She was the first NPO leader of color that inspired me to visualize and dream of myself as the head of a nonprofit organization.

What drew you to the nonprofit sector?

The nonprofit sector gives me purpose to work as hard as I do. I grew up poor and received many services and benefits that NPOs all over Chicago assist families with accessing. Finding my way out of my own cycle of poverty, I find purpose in furthering this work and making an impact in my city.

What drew you to YNPN originally?

YNPN offers programming and networking spaces unique to young nonprofit professionals. Chicago philanthropy may seem huge when you get started, but the further you get in your career, it gets smaller and smaller. YNPN helps connect future NPO leaders, but also offers programming that teaches and prepares young professionals to be ready for true growth.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

When I’m not busy at Erie Neighborhood House or YNPN, I’m working on the nonprofit I founded with my husband to serve Namibian youth. We launched over two years ago, and The African Connection (Namibia) has had such extraordinary success with empowering young Namibians to dream and continue their education.

Any guilty pleasures?

When I’m stressed or anxious, I rewatch the Twilight movies or reread Pride and Prejudice. What gets you out of bed in the morning?

My son. Literally when he wakes up at 7am on the weekends, and he inspires me to continue to dream and better myself as a human being.

What is your favorite hidden gem in Chicagoland?

Ponce over on Fullerton. It’s my favorite place in Chicago and tends to be hidden from those who don’t find themselves frequently eating Puerto Rican food. I can’t even describe the flavor of their Lechon, but I highly recommend it to my meat eating friends.

Where is your hometown?

Chicago. I grew up all around the city, but my formative years were over on Pulaski and Armitage.

You're happiest when ____.

I’m in bed with a book and my essential oil diffuser.

How would you describe your job to a child?

I ask for money for great people doing amazing things.

What advice would you give to people joining the nonprofit sector?

Volunteer! You can get such valuable insight when you volunteer with nonprofit organizations. No nonprofit is the same, and volunteering is a great way to see what kind of organization you like and what mission sings the loudest to you.

What was the last experience you had that made you a stronger person?

I enrolled in therapy and decided to care for myself. Burnout is real in the nonprofit field as is the nature of the work, but we cannot care for others if we don’t care for ourselves. Trauma-informed care with our participants is just as important as recognizing our own trauma we hold and operate with daily. My decision to enroll in therapy and to begin to meditate was for me to take my self-care to the next level and I feel like a stronger person because of it.

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

I want to become fluent in Spanish and ASL. Language should never be a barrier for services or human connection, and I would love to learn more languages to do my part to build an inclusive society.

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