The Rapidian

Young Nonprofit Professionals caters to young in spirit

The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network seeks to serve as many members as it can by providing new opportunities this year.
The YNPN board

The YNPN board /Adam Beck

Co-Chairs Megan Murphy & Breannah Alexander

Co-Chairs Megan Murphy & Breannah Alexander /Photo provided by YNPN

Taken at a conversation starter event

Taken at a conversation starter event /Photo provided by YNPN

The local Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) of Grand Rapids is a nonprofit member orientated organization established with the intention of creating educational opportunities for members and employees of local nonprofits.

The YNPN is a national nonprofit with chapters all over the United States. The goal of the YNPN is to provide learning opportunities, networking with like-minded people, recognition, and the opportunity to lead alongside colleagues. By empowering these young professionals, the hope is that the young adults will continue to thrive in their career by utilizing the skills and network they established with the organization.

Lucy Dyer-Joswick, Community Development Director of the YNPN of Grand Rapids says that their organization in particular caters to not just the young, but the “young in spirit.” She encourages anyone interested who works in the nonprofit fields to join.

“The national organization restricts age to under the age of 40,” Dyer-Joswick explains. “While we are not changing our name, we are not restricting our membership.”

Dyer-Joswick says that the local chapter is evolving to meet the needs of those who are young in spirit, new to the profession or new to a specific role within their organization.

“The emphasis for us is more on novice versus young,” says Dyer-Joswick. “Our long term goal for the organization is to be the go-to place for nonprofit mentoring, regardless of age."

“We are trying to launch more potential professional development opportunities for our members,” says Dyer-Joswick.  This year, the YNPN started offering educational opportunities by partnering with institutions such as the Johnson Center of Philanthropy. It is the hope of Dyer-Joswick that they will be able to offer more of these types of opportunities with more partners in the upcoming years.

"The thirty or forty-something age group is finding that what we are offering them is a little been there, done that," Dyer-Joswick says. "We need to find a way to offer opportunities to younger and older groups of members."

The YNPN already offers monthly opportunities for the young professionals to gather. They host an event called Conversation Starters, where members can discuss the monthly topic over coffee and bagels. Some other fun events for members include Libations and Conversations, which is a mingling event that coincides with the traditional happy hour.

One of the bigger events for the organization is the Leadership Awards. Last year, the YNPN was able to sell all the tickets for this awards ceremony, and this year they are hoping to keep up the pattern. This year’s event is being held on October 30.  

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