Public Allies Arizona has a long history of engaging young emerging leaders in Arizona. Serving across the Valley in more than 100 nonprofit organizations, nearly 400 alumni have participated in the program since its inception. The ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation added Public Allies to its portfolio of programs in 2006, aligning with the Center's focus to build the capacity of those who lead, manage and support nonprofit organizations.
Back in 2005, at a convening of grantees organized by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, ASU Lodestar Center Executive Director Robert F. Ashcraft met with a senior staff member of the Public Allies National Office (PANO). They shared mutual goals and aspirations for the need for more diverse leaders of social sector organizations that truly represent the communities in which they serve. PANO, it turned out, was seeking expansion through geographic reach to implement their proven leadership model. The Center, meanwhile, was seeking greater intentionality in its work to recruit and prepare diverse leadership for the sector. What would it look like to leverage AmeriCorps resources into Arizona to change the face of leadership?
In 2006, after an intense six months of strategizing and organizing, the Lodestar Center added Public Allies as a national partner to its portfolio of programs.
Public Allies' D.C. beginnings
In 1992, two young women, Vanessa Kirsch and Katrina Browne, mobilized a diverse network of young leaders and experienced mentors to create Public Allies in Washington, D.C. Confronting myths of young people as uncaring, apathetic, or worse, Public Allies began with the belief that the untapped energy and idealism of young people can be a powerful force to transform communities.
The founders created a program that links diverse young Americans who want to make a difference with nonprofit organizations in their communities who need them. In the process, Public Allies shows young leaders how to turn their passion for making a difference into a viable career path. This unique approach has led Public Allies to grow nationally, in 25 communities across the country, while developing a respected, replicable model.