“We had to expand our very first class,” said Elizabeth Winter, regional vice president of BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence, which supports nonprofits and promotes business volunteerism.
BVU was tapped by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to develop a program called YP Leader Corps, which began operations last fall. Its mission is to bring more young professionals into board and committee positions at nonprofits working in and around the city. BVU figured it would try to fill an initial class of 15 candidates – a number Winter said was both manageable and, perhaps, optimistic.
The first class last year had 21 members, and demand was so strong, others were still turned away, Winter said. This year’s first class had another 16, and Winter said it’s already looking like a fall class will have more than 15 people.
Eventually, BVU likely will get class size to a consistent 15 candidates, with two classes a year. But demand is stronger than anticipated among Akron’s millennials, Winter said.
“It’s amazing. It’s wonderful that we have so many people that want to be involved in the community,” Winter said.
And the area’s employers are supportive of their efforts — mentoring young volunteers, helping them with flexible schedules and encouraging them — in part because many employers know that volunteerism is important to young professionals.
“They’re looking for companies that are going to be good corporate citizens, and they want to be supported in their efforts,” Winter said.