The Morgan Stanley Institutional Nonprofit Collaborative (MS INC) Turns 10

April 13, 2022

The Morgan Stanley Institutional Nonprofit Collaborative (MS INC) was developed to connect the bright minds of Morgan Stanley’s early career-professionals with the tenacious and impactful nonprofits of the Youth INC Partner Network.

Recognizing the talent and passion for social impact of Morgan Stanley's young professionals, Mark Dimilia, managing director and member of Youth INC’s Board of Directors, helped spearhead this initiative, tapping Youth INC and its powerful network of youth development nonprofits in New York City.

I am incredibly proud of the triumph of this long-standing partnership.

"For over ten years, Morgan Stanley's philanthropic partnership with Youth INC has allowed us to engage young talent at our firm to help advance the business needs of youth development nonprofits," said Jeff Holzschuh, chair, Institutional Securities Group, Morgan Stanley, and Youth INC National Advisory Board member. "I am incredibly proud of the triumph of this long-standing partnership and the hundreds of Morgan Stanley professionals, who over the years have leveraged their knowledge and expertise to deliver powerful and sustainable solutions to help New York City nonprofits thrive." 

Now in its 10th year, and as Youth INC launches the 21st cycle of MS INC, we celebrate the legacy of a program and the people whose partnership has created meaningful social change.

Forging sustainable and equitable corporate-nonprofit partnerships

Nonprofit organizations fill the gaps in our communities, providing critical services that strengthen the fabric of our society. Although often under-resourced, nonprofits draw on the passion of their staff and supporters to fulfill their mission. In a longitudinal survey of Youth INC's partner network, 92% of nonprofits stated that they are motivated to take their organization's development to the next level. However, only 48% report that they have the time and resources to do so. "Our hands are usually full meeting the needs of those we serve," says Sister Bisi Ideraabdullah, founder and executive director, Imani House and recent MS INC participant. "This leaves marketing and other important aspects of development lagging. Working with Morgan Stanley volunteers is a gift as they take the time to view our organization with fresh eyes and focus on our challenges."

Working with Morgan Stanley volunteers is a gift as they take the time to view our organization with fresh eyes and focus on our challenges.

Bridges between skilled volunteers and nonprofit organizations enable nonprofits to address capacity and infrastructure needs to advance their mission and accelerate impact. "It is important to connect our nonprofits with the resources of larger corporations, such as Morgan Stanley," said Alexis Duke, operations coordinator, Youth INC. "There are distinctive resource gaps between nonprofit and for-profit organizations, and it is the responsibility of nonprofits and corporations alike to point out and work towards equity and resource sharing. Filling these gaps requires collaboration, and MS INC creates the space to do that."

The MS INC program matches Morgan Stanley’s junior professionals with youth development nonprofits seeking specialized support for organizational or operational challenges. Over a four-month period, each participating nonprofit partner works with a team from Morgan Stanley to identify and collaborate on actionable solutions that the nonprofit can execute.

Thanks to the purposeful engagement of more than 360 Morgan Stanley professionals over the past ten years, 71 Youth INC youth development nonprofit partners have received guidance on key strategic questions. Overall, MS INC volunteers invested about 11,500 hours in Youth INC's nonprofit partners, a value of nearly $3M towards youth development. Immeasurably, the impact over the past decade has helped bolster nonprofit operational efficiency and effectiveness, fueling the programs that empower young people to achieve their full potential.

“[The Morgan Stanley teams] are much appreciated," said Sister Bisi. Remarking on the symbiosis of corporate volunteer programs, she continued, "the MS staff gain by giving themselves and their talent to groups like Imani House who work daily for the greater good of our youth and families." The learning opportunities created by the MS INC program provide value for both the nonprofit and the volunteer.

Building lasting social change together

Corporate volunteer programs, like MS INC, uplift the existing skills of employees, enhance their talents and have a ripple effect on the internal culture of a company. MS INC provides a great opportunity to get involved in nonprofit work," said Natalie Smithson, associate, Global Capital Markets at Morgan Stanley. "There are so many junior employees who are consistently eager to find ways to give back in line with Morgan Stanley's core values, and the MS INC program has been an important pillar [through which to do so].”  Smithson served as an MS INC volunteer in 2020 when she worked on developing financial contingency plans for Youth Represent. She was part of the largest MS INC cycle to date when, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Morgan Stanley doubled their volunteer commitment to support a sector in crisis.

It is inspiring to see the impact that analysts and associates are able to have on local nonprofits and the relationships they build with the nonprofit teams.

Smithson's experience with MS INC motivated her to deepen her philanthropic work. She now manages the MS INC program for Morgan Stanley alongside Margaret Williams, vice president, Investment Banking. "It is inspiring to see the impact that analysts and associates are able to have on local nonprofits and the relationships they build with the nonprofit teams, using skills they have already built in the course of their jobs. Beyond the external impact of the program, it is a great way to meet other professionals with whom one might not typically work, and gain experience and a network that allows participants to subsequently join junior nonprofit boards,” said Smithson. “We are so thankful for the partnership with Youth INC – the guidance and facilitation they provide make it so much easier to give back to our community."

As part of the MS INC program, Morgan Stanley volunteers experience growth in their network within the firm and within their community. Through Youth INC's Get on Board program, the volunteers learn about nonprofit board roles and responsibilities and hear firsthand the powerful rewards of board service from MS INC alumni engaged in board service. Over the years, many MS INC volunteers have joined the young professional boards of Youth INC's nonprofit partners, growing their philanthropy, broadening their networks, and championing the youth of New York City.

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Youth INC and MS INC’s partnership, we want to recognize Jeff Holzschuh, Mark DiMilia, Natalie Smithson, Margaret Williams, and the over 360 Morgan Stanley volunteers who have donated their time and knowledge to raising our city. 

As we enter the 21st Cycle of the MS INC program, we will continue the legacy of generosity and stewardship that the Morgan Stanley teams built over a decade. We are excited to welcome a new slate of MS INC volunteers to work in allyship and collaboration with City Growers, Notes in Motion, viBe Theater Experience, Writopia Lab and You Gotta Believe. The insights the nonprofits receive and the experience the volunteers gain through these partnerships carry on through the years, building a more caring and equitable world. 

Thank you to Youth INC’s nonprofit partner network for their participation in the MS INC program:


Mayci Hicks

Mayci Hicks serves as an associate of Partner Network Engagement, supporting capacity-building, community connectivity and enrichment of Youth INC’s nonprofit partner network. Prior to Youth INC, Mayci worked as the partnership coordinator for the youth development nonprofit, Thanda. Outside of work, she is active in climate advocacy and spends her free time writing.