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. Developed in partnership with the Center for Nonprofit Leadership at Adelphi University in New York, participants will earn a comprehensive certificate in Organizational and Community Leadership. The 15-month immersive experience integrates personal leadership development, nonprofit management, community leadership, 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
Create a robust pipeline of BIPOC leaders in the youth development field, reflecting the diverse youth population served.
Image: expand access to emergent BIPOC leaders through a network of mentors and coaches
Expand access to spaces previously unavailable to emergent BIPOC leaders through a network of mentors and coaches.
Image: advance competencies in nonprofit management and organizational leadership
Build confidence and advance competencies in key areas of nonprofit management and organizational leadership.

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: Access to an executive coach through AIIR Consulting’s Elevate Project for an additional 6-months of coaching after completing the certificate program.
  • Applied Learning and Organizational Development: Quarterly 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.  

Over a decade of supporting Youth INC, we have witnessed the incredible work they do to provide youth development organizations with resources to help young 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

Youth INC has focused on self-reflection for the past year to determine how we can improve DEIB at every level of our organization. Rise Academy is the culmination of 12-months of study of the inequities faced by BIPOC nonprofit leaders. It centers their voices in the solution, making all of us at Youth INC incredibly proud and inspired for the change we can achieve together.

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

My goal is to become an executive director of a small or medium-sized nonprofit. I’ve been seeking out a professional development opportunity like this program for almost two years, and the biggest hurdle has been “the fit.” I am excited about the possibilities of what Rise Academy for Leaders of Color could offer me.

Melissa Benjamin
Director of Development, Fiver and Rise Academy Leader
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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
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.
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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.
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Contact us to learn more

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