Some of this year’s 40 under 40 honorees built a career at one nonprofit and became highly influential and indispensable there. Others worked at many organizations exerting influence across their field and community. Many have personal connections to the causes they champion. All have made what every nonprofit strives to make: an impact.
It was the desire to do something to help people that motivated most of our awardees to apply their skills to the nonprofit sector, along with the desire to choose a career that would make their children proud and one that would feel like a productive use of their precious “under 40” years. Otherwise, why would some have made the switch away from more lucrative for-profit careers to the nonprofit sector, where your job can often consist of helping to fundraise for your own salary?
Many had to combat misconceptions about their careers: It isn’t just a hobby, it’s a 9-to-5 commitment and beyond; fundraising is more than attending fancy dinners and making cold calls; skills gained within the corporate sector are transferrable to the nonprofit sector. And they’d have you know that there’s a lot more dedication and hard work going into it then most people realize. Some would even label their careers a calling.
There were many nominees – and plenty of additional slots that could have been filled with deserving candidates. There are also quite a few candidates who have a few years left to be considered among the 40-under-40 set. We are honored to undertake the challenging process of separating out 40 individuals who we feel exemplify the level of commitment and degree of influence that qualifies them as rising stars. It was also our pleasure to speak with each winner and learn more about what motivates them. Their profiles, found within the pages of this journal, are a snapshot of both the quality and the character that fills the nonprofit community.
Overall, the process sparked confidence in the future of a sector where leadership positions turn over frequently amid a challenging operating climate and much ink has been spilled fretting over the abundance of vacancies in the C-suite as baby boomers retire.
As our awardees look forward to continuing to wield influence on the New York nonprofit sector – whether by advocating for critical pieces of policy, creating safe spaces for young people to express their many and varied talents, helping to lift others out of poverty or leveling the playing field for older adults or individuals with special needs – we look forward to covering their successes and the causes that they’ve dedicated their young careers to. So congratulations to our 40-under-40 nonprofit rising stars. And dare I say – the best is yet to come!
― Aimée Simpierre