rise academy
for leaders of color

Raising the collective voice of nonprofit leaders of color through a BIPOC informed, community-focused, equity-centered design.

Rise Academy for Leaders of Color

Rise Academy for Leaders of Color shifts the landscape for ascendant BIPOC nonprofit leaders of youth development organizations. This award-winning program was developed in partnership with the Center for Nonprofit Leadership at Adelphi University in New York, and participants will earn a comprehensive certificate in Organizational and Community Leadership. The 18-month immersive experience integrates personal leadership development, nonprofit management, community leadership, development of mental health strategies, executive coaching led by AIIR Consulting, capital investment, organizational development, and a mentor program.
Rise Academy for Leaders of Color holistic design model
Image: creating a pipeline of BIPOC leaders in youth development organizations
Creates a robust pipeline of BIPOC leaders in the youth development field, advancing equitable representation to reflect the diverse youth population served.
Image: expand access to emergent BIPOC leaders through a network of mentors and coaches
Expands access to spaces historically denied to emergent BIPOC leaders through a network of mentors and coaches.
Image: advance competencies in nonprofit management and organizational leadership
Strengthens the confidence and advances the competencies of emergent leaders in nonprofit management and organizational leadership.

The Future of Leadership

Accelerating racial equity and heightening representation
Rise Academy for Leaders of Color was designed to elevate BIPOC leaders by honing their leadership skills while assessing and improving the organizational culture and systems in which they operate. This impactful program strengthens the talent pipeline of diverse leaders and builds greater access for leaders of color to advance and succeed in nonprofit leadership, heightening representation and accelerating the advancement of equity and inclusion in the nonprofit sector.

Advancing Racial Equity

Building strong DEIB cultures for Leaders to thrive
Through Rise Academy's applied learning and organizational development, Executive Directors of participating Rise Academy Leaders engage in facilitated sessions to help infuse and expand diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) throughout their organization. An enhanced focus on building a strong DEIB culture creates the conditions for leaders of color to feel supported and thrive.

Over a decade of supporting Youth INC, we have witnessed the incredible work they do to provide youth development organizations with the resources to help young people develop skills and confidence to achieve their full potential. Our contribution to fund the launch of the Rise Academy for Leaders of Color underscores our commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion in our business and communities as Youth INC expands its efforts to provide dedicated support for BIPOC nonprofit leaders.

Jeff Barlow
President, Canaccord Genuity LLC

Nonprofit boards and executive leaders are disproportionately white, which creates risk for the organization – from ineffectiveness at best to unintentionally doing harm at worst. We launched Rise Academy for Leaders of Color to focus on remediating historical inequities so that BIPOC leaders can ascend to their seats at the table.

Rehana Farrell
Executive Director, Youth INC

Structural inequities in the nonprofit sector have perpetuated disparities amongst its leadership. As a capacity builder, we are uniquely positioned to assess and address these barriers and support our rising nonprofit leaders of color and partner organizations by creating an environment where everyone can have access and opportunities for leadership that will influence how organizations lead youth constituents of color.

Tracie Gilstrap
Director, Partner Network Engagement, Youth INC
Slider left arrow
Slider right arrow

Rise Academy 2022 cohort

The leaders of rise academy

Stanley Smith, America on Tech
Stan Smith
Director, Development and Partnerships
America on Tech
Veronica Collazo, Marketing and Communications Manager, America SCORES and Rise Academy Leader
Veronica Collazo
Marketing and Communications Manager
America SCORES New York
Becca Weng, Program Director, Common Denominator and Rise Academy Leader
Denise Cotton
Director of Programs
Behind the Book
Dunasha Payne, Community Program Coordinator,Drama Club and Rise Academy Leader
Dunasha Payne
Community Program Coordinator
Drama Club
Melissa Benjamin, Director of Development, Fiver and Rise Academy Leader
Melissa Benjamin
Director of Development
Fiver Children's Foundation
Sayra Solis, Digital Media Specialist, I Challenge Myself and Rise Academy Leader
Sayra Solis
Digital Media Specialist
I Challenge Myself
 Kristian Moton, Kids Creative
Kristian Moton
Education Coordinator
Kids Creative
Ashley Allen, Operations and Program Manager, Play Rugby and Rise Academy Leader
Ashley Allen
Operations and Program Manager
Play Rugby USA
Jonee Billy, PowerPlay and Rise Academy Leader
Jonee Billy
Director of Strategic Partnerships and External Affairs
PowerPlay NYC
Kyesha Lewis, Manager of Program Operations, Read Ahead and Rise Academy Leader
Kyesha Lewis
Manager, Program Operations
Read Ahead

Participant Experience

Rise Academy for Leaders of Color skills-based leadership model provides participants the opportunity to:
  • Clarify their vision, mission, and leadership development plan.
  • Build their skills to effectively lead their organizations across major functional areas.
  • Organize and lead community change initiatives.
Grounded in our holistic approach to change management, Rise Academy also provides participants the opportunity to engage with a network of mentors and executive coaches and creates access to critical funding to support and accelerate growth.
The key components of the program include:
  • Individual Leadership: Assessing participants’ leadership skills and developing a personalized leadership development plan that builds their capacity to lead multicultural groups, organizations, and communities effectively.
  • Nonprofit Organizational Leadership: Guiding organizational leadership practices including governance, leading talent and teams, planning, financial management, and fundraising.
  • Community Leadership: Building coalitions, and engaging community constituents, organizations, and public agencies in social change initiatives for measurable social impact.
  • Capstone Presentation and Certificate from the Center for Nonprofit Leadership at Adelphi University: Working together on capstone projects addressing actual organizational, community, or public policy issues.
  • Executive Mentorship & Coaching: One-on-one mentoring to guide ongoing growth through Youth INC's mentoring process and access to an executive coach through AIIR Consulting’s Elevate Project for an additional 6-months of coaching after completing the certificate program.
  • Mental and Emotional Wellbeing: Ensuring that every Rise Academy Leader has equitable access to the tools and supports they need to move forward personally, professionally, and in their leadership roles within their communities.
  • Applied Learning and Organizational Development: Bi-monthly learning opportunities for Executive Directors/Managers of participants, and a workshop for selected Board members of participating organizations to discuss and facilitate the application of the principles and practices learned through this program and ways to foster an inclusive, positive organizational culture that supports the advancement of leaders of color.  
Youth INC’s venture philanthropy model provides all of our programming free of charge to our Nonprofit Partners.  Thank you to Canaccord Genuity LLC and Goldman Sachs for their generous investments in Rise Academy.

Thank you to Canaccord Genuity LLC

Canaccord Genuity LLC, the US division of Canaccord Genuity Group Inc., has committed $750,000 to fund the launch of Rise Academy for Leaders of Color, bringing its support of Youth INC to $5 million over the past 10 years. This multi-year, unrestricted contribution helps us in our mission to dismantle systemic barriers to advancement for leaders of color in youth development nonprofits.

Read the press release.
Canaccord Genuity Capital Markets Logo

Thank you to Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs’ investment of $250,000 in Rise Academy for Leaders of Color draws from its Fund for Racial Equity, established in 2020 to support the vital work of leading organizations addressing racial injustice, structural inequity, and economic disparity.  This investment will support nonprofit organizations that demonstrated their commitment to racial equity by nominating the leaders selected for the inaugural cohort and provides each organization with the capital to ensure operational efficacy and future sustainability as the leaders undergo this important program.

Read the press release.
Goldman Sachs Logo

Rise Academy for Leaders of Color named an Anthem Awards Winner!

Rise Academy for Leaders of Color has been named Best Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Community Engagement and Best Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Partnerships and Collaborations at the Inaugural Anthem Awards. The Anthem Awards was launched in response to the prevalence social good has taken within the national conversation and cultural zeitgeist in recent years. The inaugural competition received nearly 2,500 entries from 36 countries worldwide. By amplifying the voices that spark global change, the Anthem Awards are defining a new benchmark for impactful work that inspires others to take action in their communities.

Read the press release.
Anthem Awards 2022 Winner

Rise Academy recognized by NYC Imagine Awards

Youth INC was named a finalist in the 2nd Annual NYC Imagine Awards for its Rise Academy for Leaders of Color program. The NYC Imagine Awards was created to acknowledge some of New York City’s most effective and innovative nonprofit organizations.  
With nearly 250 applications submitted for consideration in five categories, including Innovation, Leadership Excellence, Rising Star, Social Impact and Arts & Culture, Youth INC was recognized as one of the four finalists in the Innovation category.

Read the press release.
NYC Imagine Awards Finalist

Youth INC's Rise Academy Elevates Nonprofit Leaders of Color in New York City

Rise Academy is raising the voices of BIPOC nonprofit leaders through an equity-centered design
"Rise Academy strives to create a pipeline of BIPOC leaders in the youth development field that reflects the diverse young communities they serve."

- Gotham Magazine

Nonprofit partners boost corporate diversity at local firms

Corporations wanting to support the city's BIPOC communities team with savvy intermediary groups
"As the country continues to face a racial justice reckoning, corporations and philanthropies have partnered to pour money into nonprofits that exclusively serve communities of color. Organizations such as Youth INC, the New York Community Trust and others serve as intermediaries making sure the financial investments are well used."

- Crain's New York Business

Rise Academy for Leaders of Color announced as a NYC Imagine Awards Finalist

The annual awards event shines a spotlight on some of NYC's most impactful and innovative nonprofits
We are delighted to announce that New York City Imagine Awards has selected Youth INC as a finalist for their OneGroup Innovation award for creating a lasting impact in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging.

- Imagine Awards

Contact us to learn more

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.