Empowering Change: YPC’s Inaugural Year

One of the major themes for GTF in 2023 was that anyone, despite their experience or lack thereof in the nonprofit realm, can be a GTF Hero. The creation of the Young Professionals Council (YPC) serves as the physical embodiment of this concept. The YPC brings together young people in the workforce with little to no exposure to nonprofits or to being on a board and gives them the opportunity to hone their skills while guiding initiatives to benefit GTF and the transplant community. 

With each member having to be younger than 40, the YPC participants have plenty of room to grow but also already have established themselves enough professionally to have networks they can utilize. Just as much as the YPC would be helping GTF diversify its outreach efforts and revenue streams, they would benefit immensely from the experience and networking opportunities being on the YPC would give them. 

The motivations of the members to join are varied. Still, all are rooted in the concept that the “YPC is both a helping and learning experience,” as put by team member Randy Levin. Randy knew he could “use [his] existing professional skills while acquiring new ones that [could] help shape and guide YPC over time.” Elle Fergus was most excited with the fact that she “would be able to meet and work with other young professionals in the Atlanta area, all while raising money for a good cause.” For Hannah Graves, it was simply an opportunity to help GTF, an organization she already knew and loved. She shared, “Anything to do with GTF, I am front and center and jumping in any way that I can! I honestly didn’t know what YPC was when I first [heard of it], but if it helped GTF, then I knew I would want to be there.”

With any group of this nature, it takes time to get things rolling. Navigating the uncharted territories of the nonprofit arena, these YPC pioneers not only faced the challenges of unfamiliar terrain but also grappled with the intricacies of forming bonds within their newfound team. Despite these challenges, according to Ermias Bizuwork, “the follow-ups came naturally, there wasn’t much of a wind-up period, everyone was on the same page.” The inaugural YPC class emerged triumphant, concluding the year with an impressive series of achievements.

They launched two minor fundraisers. The first of these fundraisers was at the local Five Guys, where from 11 am to 10:50 pm, 20% of proceeds from every purchase was contributed to GTF, resulting in $461 for the transplant community. For the second, YPC joined forces with Cards for a Cause, seamlessly aligning the need for holiday cards with philanthropy. By encouraging supporters to purchase bulk boxes of holiday cards, they ensured that an impressive 43% of the proceeds would benefit GTF, turning festive greetings into a powerful fundraising opportunity.

These two fundraisers were prime examples of the YPC members combining their skill sets to come up with mutually beneficial opportunities for people to help GTF. However, the crown jewel of their brilliant run in 2023 was their inaugural event, Hit The Mark. Hosted at Flight Club, the Hit the Mark event saw YPC members rally their communities to sell tickets for a great night of drinks and darts while also marketing raffle entries and earning donations. Through family, friends, and community members, Hit the Mark sold out and brought in a whopping $7,300 for the transplant community. It was not only a massive financial success but also introduced GTF to an entirely new group of potential volunteers, supporters, and advocates. Hit the Mark served as another example of the helping/learning experience Randy mentioned previously. The YPC members were able to help GTF immensely while also gaining a notch on their belts of how to spearhead a sold-out and successful event.

In such a short time since its creation, YPC has already had a massive impact on the community and has laid a solid foundation to continue making a difference in 2024 and beyond. This is crucial to Ermias, who shares that YPC “needs to be sustainable. We don’t want it to be a 1-and-done. In 2024, we need to keep the pedal to the medal. The sky’s the limit.” Elle knows that they “are a dedicated group of individuals with stellar ideas to move YPC in the right direction in 2024.” This group has a chance to define its legacy and what the YPC means for years to come. So far, they are making the most of that.

All in all, the YPC’s inaugural class had an incredible start, both in helping GTF and helping themselves develop as professionals. Hannah, a self-described “very proud member of the YPC,” “learned so much [she feels] like [she] should compensate GTF.” If you, like Ermias, feel “the responsibility to help” and want to gain vast experience, visit GTF Young Professionals Council to learn more and submit your application. Be a part of something special this year and learn from “an awesome group of people with different backgrounds, areas of expertise, and training.”