2020 Young Nonprofit Professional of the Year Award Nominees

The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Cleveland was proud to present its second annual Young Nonprofit Professional of the Year award in 2020! Six young professionals from around the city were nominated by directors, co-workers, friends, and mentors.

The six nominees represented various causes and missions, but they all had one thing in common: they truly care about who (and what!) keeps Cleveland great!

We appreciate all the nominators who took time to tell us about what makes these young professionals great. Our Board loved reading about the work being down throughout the city by these professionals and appreciate all that they do. 

Position: Director of Innovation and Technology

“Ian developed technology that would sync your windshield wipers with your car radio. He applied for a patent, then auctioned it off, with all proceeds going to charity. He also headed up an initiative for 3D printing face shields.”

Position: Executive Vice President

“Rachel is constantly working to bring non-profit leaders together to work collaboratively, be it on an event or program or on an initiative critical to the health of our city. She has worked to bring individuals and leaders together to create awareness of the need to address health disparities, issues of equity and inclusion, and to mobilize people to join forces to volunteer for the FoodBank, MedWish, and Cleveland Kids Book Bank. Rachel worked closely with Sisters of Charity Foundation to establish the Innovation Mission, a program designed to encourage individuals to pursue innovative ideas to combat poverty in Cleveland.She encourages the development of mentoring relationships between established and aspiring non-profit leaders, and facilitates discussions among diverse individuals to encourage them to overcome differences and build trusting relationships.”

Position: Program Manager

“Being an effective manager for the Cleveland Clinic means taking on a deeper understanding of the role of caregivers in the hospital system, in addition to administrative and data based decision making. Khush allows me to gain insight on the multi-faceted nature of nonprofit sectors.”

Position: Associate Director of Community Partnerships and Programming

“Marcela is a leader in everything that she does. She works tirelessly to serve the students, families, and community at Cleveland Play House’s partner schools. She is very creative in how she serves our students as well as in finding solutions to the challenges that their families face. Marcela leads our out of school time programs focusing in literacy, math, and arts enrichment. She and her team have shown an exceptional commitment to serving the community during the pandemic as they rapidly transitioned their programming to remote delivery over Zoom.”

Position: Executive Director

“Tom is responsible for the founding and development of Empower Sports, (www.empowersports.org) a successful 501 c 3 nonprofit organization integrating sports and exercise programs for children and adults with various physical and cognitive disabilities with teams of typically-developing kids and adults. The results are nothing short of amazing. He instills a culture of kindness, teamwork, empathy, acceptance, inclusion and diversity in school and corporate teams of youth and adults that will undoubtedly carry this culture and set of values within their own circles. Tom exhibits a sincerity and depth of social responsibility beyond most I’ve encountered in over 20 years of nonprofit leadership roles.”

Learn More about Tom and his nomination in our featured blog post !

Position: Development Coordinator

“Audrey is one of the most authentic, hard working, highly driven young professionals I have ever met. She does everything out of true passion and drive – and is never looking for praise/recognition. She does things behind the scenes that most people probably don’t even know about. I believe Audrey is a strong candidate for this award.”