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National Conference Highlights Innovation, Entrepreneurship in Nonprofit Sector

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 Stories of innovation and entrepreneurship will highlight the 2011 National Leaders Conference, hosted by the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Grand Rapids. On March 25-26, young nonprofit professionals from across the United States will converge on Grand Rapids to discuss the challenges and successes faced in the nonprofit sector.


Local professionals are invited to participate on Friday, March 25th from 8:30am to 9pm at the Wealthy Street Theatre, located at 1130 Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids. The days topics will focus on big ideas and unique strategies to approaching challenges in the nonprofit sector.


The day will begin with the Innovation Series, where four presenters will have a chance to give 10 minute-presentations on big ideas in the sectors. Notable speakers for the conference include:


  • Sam Davidson – A nonprofit entrepreneur from Nashville, Davidson is know nationally as the co-founder of Cool-People Care and has spearheaded new initiatives such as the Oasis Center and The Climate Project.
  • Reed Sandridge – A professional from Washington, DC, Sandridge garnered media buzz for his 365-day project called Year of Giving. After loosing his job in September 2009, Sam gave away $10 a day to strangers and asked them how to use their money. Now he works as a Regional Director for World Wildlife Fund and as an executive Director of the Urban Philharmonic.
  • Seth Starner – Not all nonprofit executives want to address the hard truths of their sector, but Starner prefers tackling challenges head on. In working with NGOs in Ghana, Starner has developed a list of top 5 priorities the next generation must accomplish to reorganize NGOs and make a significant difference.


Following the speakers, participants will be divided up into break-out groups focusing on the evolution of the nonprofit sector. Topics will range from those facing the individual to big systems change.


The conference will continue on Saturday, March 26th for national YNPN leaders. The cost is $50 to register. For more information about the conference and to register, visit



Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Greater Grand Rapids (YNPN GR) provides emerging nonprofit leaders under age 40 with opportunities for professional development, education, and networking, while promoting a dialogue among nonprofits in the Greater Grand Rapids region. To learn more about the organization, please visit 

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