YPOS has done a relatively good job at providing both digital and physical social experiences: parties, happy hours, articles about food – maybe it’s time to grow up a bit?
HA… No. Never grow up. I won’t commit to that. What we can commit to, is expanding upon the ways we’re impacting our community while helping others do the same.
Those are just words. Let me explain (with more words):
There’s a lot of charitable energy among young professionals in Seattle, but a correlated amount of skepticism around where to spend that energy. Until recently, I don’t think I’ve encountered a person or organization doing much in providing a solution and – speaking candidly on behalf of the YPOS leadership team – doing our part to bridge that gap has been a huge miss for us.
My personal belief is that we have a civic responsibility to communities that we live, work and play in; the level and nature of that responsibility is up to the individual but the responsibility exists nonetheless.
A quick story…
I was speaking at a recent ProDev event about the need to fulfill this collective civic responsibility, where I bumped into a woman, Archana Verma, who shared similar thoughts on the subject; except she was already taking action. I was intrigued.
Turns out, Archana managed the Emerging Leaders program at United Way of King County. They’re on a mission to build a community where people have homes, students graduate and families are financially stable.
Archana and Emerging Leaders was a conduit to a whole bunch of volunteer activities. I had a lot to talk about, so I made sure to monopolize a bunch of her time.
Because of that initial conversation (and subsequent meetings), YPOS is now in a position to announce a new strategic partnership with United Way, forming a new, issue focused division: YP Impact.
What the United Way partnership means for the YP Community
One of the non-negotiables in conversations with United Way was the need to provide variety to the YP community. Our partnership with United Way provides us access to their network of vetted and highly qualified charities, all serving the city.
YP Impact will align with United Way in focusing on one urgent social issue each quarter:
Q1 (Jan-Mar): Breaking the cycle of poverty (Financial Stability)
Q2 (Apr-Jun): Helping students graduate (Reconnecting Youth)
Q3 (Jul-Sep): Helping students graduate (Early learning)
Q4 (Oct- Dec): Ending Homelessness
How you can plug into YP Impact activities
1. Event Integration: Another requirement was that YP Impact needed to not just provide more opportunities for members to engage with charities, but a way to integrate these charities into the 50+ annual events YPOS is already hosting.
Going forward, you’ll see elements of a YP Impact “charity of the month” integrated into just about every event we host.
2. Purpose Focused Content: Each quarter we’ll interview a thought leader on the quarter's respective issue and share the conversation through the YPOS blog and social media channels.
Our goal is to document measurable impact that we young professionals can have on the city of Seattle through drives, donations and volunteer experiences.
3. Issue Based Volunteer Activity: At YPOS, we’re all about connecting people through memorable, engaging experiences.
Once a quarter, YP Impact will host an issue focused volunteer opportunity to help young professionals expend some charitable energy.
There isn’t a one size fits all solution for fulfilling civic responsibility or mitigating skepticism around charity, but YP Impact is our imperfect start. Each person on the YPOS leadership team has adopted the duty to help other young professionals integrate themselves into the community but we can’t go at it alone.
With the support of partners like United Way and a little help from the young professionals community, I’m confident we can make a meaningful impact on Seattle.
A call to action:
We’re looking for ambitious writers, event planners, and project managers who want to help steer this ship and make a measurable, collective impact on the City of Seattle.
If you’re interested in jumping on board, or you just wanna follow along to see what’s next, drop your email address below: