Public Allies Arizona empowers participants to expand efforts to manage, support nonprofits

Public Allies Arizona empowers participants to expand efforts to manage, support nonprofits

2022 graduating Allies

Members of the 2021-22 Public Allies Arizona - Phoenix cohort gathered in late June for a graduation celebration, marking the end of their 10-month placements with local nonprofit and public organizations.

More than 400 have graduated from AmeriCorps program of the ASU Lodestar Center since 2006

July 11, 2022

In 2005, Arizona State University’s then-six-year-old Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation was looking for ways to strengthen its already highly effective abilities to recruit and prepare diverse leaders for the nonprofit sector.

At the same time, the Public Allies national office was seeking to expand its well-respected leadership model into new areas of the country, Lodestar Executive Director and Saguaro Professor of Civic Enterprise Robert Ashcraft discovered during a meeting with a Public Allies senior staffer at a W.K. Kellogg Foundation grantee meeting (the foundation is a supporter of Public Allies).

From that meeting in 2005 began successful efforts the following year to add Public Allies to Lodestar’s wide array of programs to further empower those who lead, manage and support nonprofits.

The 10-month Public Allies Arizona program, partly funded by AmeriCorps, is now offered in both Phoenix and Tucson. Participants need not be ASU students to enroll and complete it.

Ashcraft said the program has expanded “exponentially” since 2006, adding to the knowledge and expertise of both its instructional team and its alumni with each passing year. More than 400 "allies" had graduated from the program as it entered its 17th year in 2022. Graduates have served in more than 100 nonprofit and public organizations.

More than $6.2 million in federal AmeriCorps grants have been earned since the program's inception in Arizona, with an additional $12.5 million raised in local match support over that same time to fund the nearly yearlong apprenticeships.

Through paid, work-based learning with local nonprofit, social service and government agencies, allies advance community services and address real local needs. Once the program concludes, each ally receives an AmeriCorps Education Award to further their education or pay back student loans.

“Our Public Allies Arizona program exemplifies an asset-based approach to community development evidenced by how our allies, partner organizations and university partner to improve overall well-being for all who are touched by this remarkable program,” Ashcraft said. “We are profoundly grateful to AmeriCorps, the Public Allies national office and local partners for all the ways they support us and invest in our proven community well-being leadership strategy. The stories of impact from this program are, indeed, most transforming and everlasting.”

The Lodestar Center recently received a grant award from Bank of America to support the Public Allies Arizona National Service and Workforce Development initiative. The initiative taps into the unrealized power and potential of the diverse, emerging leaders who are Public Allies Arizona members or alumni, many of whom come from disadvantaged or overlooked communities, according to a June 28 Lodestar Center statement.

Fourteen spring 2022 Public Allies — seven each from the Phoenix and Tucson programs — graduated in June.

Two graduates — Molly McIntyre of the Phoenix program and Luis Placencia of the Tucson program — and recent Public Allies Arizona alumnus Bob Purvis talked about the value of the experience to them and those they hope to serve.

Read the ASU News story