The Rapidian Home

Eight young nonprofit professionals honored

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

Underwriting support from:


The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Greater Grand Rapids is proud to present the 2010 YNPN Leadership Awards, an annual opportunity for local nonprofit and community leaders to come together and celebrate their accomplishments.

This year, over 230 supporters came together to recognize young nonprofit professionals who have made outstanding contributions to local nonprofit organizations through exemplary leadership, innovation and community involvement. 

There were 40 finalists this year but only eight winners.

And the winners are: 

  • Edison: Jamiel Robinson, Executive Director of Open Book Project
    YNPN's Edison Award will go to an individual who has utilized innovative practices within their organization or by starting a new organization to fill a need in the community. In honor of Thomas Edison, this person will have shown extraordinary leadership in innovation over the past year.
  • Exemplary Executive: Elissa Hillary, Executive Director of Local First & Local First Educational Foundation
    The YNPN Exemplary Executive award will go to an exemplary young nonprofit executive director. This executive director should show strong leadership and initiative in moving their organization forward.
  • Good to Great: Denise Cheng, Citizen Journalism Coordinator for Grand Rapids Community Media Center - The Rapidian
    YNPN's Good to Great award will go to an individual that has moved an organization or program from good to great. This person may have increased the participation in a program at your organization, strengthened an organization so they may provide stronger service to the community, or simply took a dying organization and made it sustainable again. The person that will receive this award will have shown strong initiative toward improving and strengthening a program or service.
  • Grantmaking Guru: Nicole Notario-Risk, Program Manager for Kent County Nonprofit Technical Assistance and Program Consultant for the Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation
    A YNPN Grantmaking Guru is an individual whose work demonstrates a dedication to thoughtful community investments and meaningful partnerships between West Michigan's nonprofit organizations and foundations. His or her work extends beyond grantmaking office as an "on the ground" community investor and engaged citizen.
  • DoGooder: Janelle Hill, Community Services Coordinator for Arbor Circle
    The YNPN DoGooder Award will go to an exemplary volunteer. A DoGooder volunteer is one that never quits. A Doogooder might be involved with multiple organizations or volunteers every chance they get for your organization. Nominating someone for this award allows you the chance to tell them thank you for all they do for your organization and in the community.
  • Advocate: Ashley E. Nickels, Assistant Director of Grand Valley State University: Women's Center
    The YNPN Advocate award will go to an individual who is always advocating for their cause. You can't see this person anywhere without hearing about their favorite green organization, how many children are hungry in West Michigan, or how voting will change everything! This person is on the street talking about their cause, and raising community-wide awareness of their issue every day.
  • Resource: Grand Rapids Community Media Center
    The YNPN Resource award will go to an organization that has proven over the year to provide praiseworthy support for young nonprofit professionals. An organization eligible for this award must provide resources, support, and professional development for young nonprofit professionals either working at or as a member of their organization.
  • Young Nonprofit Professional of the Year: Janay Brower, Coordinator for Grand Rapids Area Coalition to End Homelessness Coordinator
    The Young Nonprofit Professional of the Year award will go to a nonprofit professional who excels in their work, always goes above and beyond for their cause, is always looking for a new way to make a nonprofit service better, and is an overall fabulous young professional. This person exemplifies all that is a young nonprofit professional and deserves recognition.

Congratulations to everyone; your contributions help to grow and strengthen the local community!

A special thanks goes out to all of the YNPN Leadership Awards committee members, nominators, selection committee members, sponsors and finalists, without you this fantastic night would not have been a success.

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.


I demand a recount