The Classy Podcast

By Classy

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The Classy Podcast tells the stories of today's leading founders and executives in the social sector. Each week, we unlock their founding stories and share them with you to inspire the next generation that is mobilized to drive change. Visit or

Episode Date
Charity: Water and Blood:Water on Recurring Giving Strategies
In this special live episode of the Classy Podcast, we sat down with Tyler Riewer, brand content lead at charity: water, and Audrey Milicevic, annual giving manager at Blood:Water, to discuss their top tips on how to build successful recurring giving programs.
Listen in to hear their most effective acquisition strategies on different channels, the language and communication tactics that work best to get donor buy-in, and how their teams plan to grow their programs.
Dec 14, 2018
How JDC Tracks Donor Data to Identify Giving Trends
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, also known as JDC, has been serving their constituents for over a century, and they are continuing to evolve with their donor base and improve the way they interact with supporters. That requires a keen understanding of who their donors are. Andres Jimenez, senior director of marketing, shares how they leverage donor segmentation, collect the right "clusters" of donor data, and execute communication strategies that keep supporters coming back. 
Dec 07, 2018
How Miracle Foundation Grows Its Recurring Giving Program

With nearly 500 recurring donors and a median recurring gift size of $79, the Miracle Foundation is a standout leader when it comes to monthly giving. In this episode, project manager Anna Marr and systems manager Kat Jones walk us through their main acquisition and retention strategies, the platforms they leverage, and their communications tactics that keep monthly donors in the fold.  

Nov 30, 2018
How Feed My Starving Children Retains and Converts Volunteers

Feed My Starving Children considers their volunteer activities as their greatest donor acquisition model. In 2005, when Andy Carr Feed My Starving Children as VP of Development and Marketing, the organization was packaging around 18 million meals every year for their community. Since then, he’s helped the organization scale their impact to package 365 million meals every year. Learn how he engages new volunteers, retains them from event to event, and converts them into donors.

Nov 23, 2018
How Mobile Loaves & Fishes Converts Volunteers Into Recurring Donors

Tracee Henneke had over 12 years of nonprofit experience when she came on as annual giving manager at Mobile Loaves & Fishes. She shares insights on how to grow a recurring giving program, including tips on how to convert volunteers into monthly donors, test and track the success of appeals, and provide every possible option to give routinely.

Nov 16, 2018
Bridging the Gap Between Nonprofit Business and Technology

Michael Prodor, Classy's technical engagement manager, shares the unique insights he’s gained from helping nonprofits implement fundraising software and solve business problems with technology. Learn how technology helps nonprofits grow and scale, the mistakes you might be making with your current tech stack, why you need to lean into conversations with technical-minded people to solve business problems, and more.

Jun 23, 2018
Massachusetts General Hospital on Creating a Phenomenal User Experience
As the director of interactive solutions in the fundraising office at Massachusetts General Hospital, Noam oversees the organization’s marketing communication stack, peer-to-peer solution, and marketing automation solution. He works with the data team and various IT stakeholders to streamline all of these components, optimizing their content production and creating a phenomenal user experience that influences donor behavior. 
Tune in and learn how to solve for the user’s experience so they get the best-in-class online experience that they expect, why WordPress has been a great open-source technology for their team, how they’ve leveraged APIs to architect custom integrations and scale up their marketing, and more. 
Jun 18, 2018
Data Tips From the Director of Development, Information Systems at Shriners Hospitals for Children

Joe Kraynak shares how an organization that’s over 90 years old is holding its own in the online fundraising space. Tune in as he shares how to use technology in order to streamline business and the back-end, how he relates consolidated donor data to social media platforms, how Shriners Hospitals for Children are evolving their fundraising model and growing their network with peer-to-peer fundraising, and more.

Jun 08, 2018
How Teach For America’s Director of Data Quality and Technology Bridges IT and Development
As the director of data quality and technology at Teach For America (TFA), Queen Golder identifies the technology needs of 53 regions across the country and enhances the user experience for their regional and national fundraising base. Working as a bridge between the development department and IT, she identifies the solutions that their users crave, and then translates these needs to IT to execute on them. Tune into this episode and learn how she does it—as well as how she trains users and measures adoption of those systems.
Jun 01, 2018
How Team Rubicon's CIO Is Spearheading a Digital Transformation
As CIO and CTO of Team Rubicon, Raj is spearheading a digital transformation that builds a strong technology framework for the organization. In this episode, he shares how he's preparing the groundwork and implementing the change management process that will help Team Rubicon scale. You'll also learn why Raj focuses on collaborative partnership models for his tech and IT teams, his beliefs on the future of the API, the only way you can set yourself to make data-driven decisions into the future, and more. 
This episode is brought to you by Qlik.
May 25, 2018
How Susan G. Komen’s SVP of Development Gets People to Invest in Possibility

Christina Alford had over a decade of nonprofit experience when she came on as senior VP of development at Susan G. Komen. She shares a few of the lessons she’s learned along her journey, including why diversified revenue is key to successfully forecast and innovate, how to prioritize tasks in a resource-constrained environment, anecdotes about a major rebranding initiative, and more.

Mar 23, 2018
How PBS’ SVP of Development Services Engages New Generations of Donors

In this episode, we sit down with the senior vice president of development services at PBS Betsy Gerdeman to learn from her 20 years in public television. Hear her expert insights on managing a large network of affiliates, adapting to an ever-changing sector, and balancing suppor for hundreds of chapters that each have their unique challenges. You’ll see why Betsy believes a core message doesn’t change, only the way it’s articulated.

Mar 16, 2018
Charity Navigator's Chief Development Officer on Modern Donor Expectations

In this episode, Shannon McCracken, chief development officer at Charity Navigator, discusses how the roles of the fundraiser and marketer have transformed over the past two decades, and how the modern donor expects to be engaged. Learn how connected data creates stellar donor experiences, Shannon's tips for nonprofits whose impact can be difficult to explain, how experiments impact their fundraising success, and more.

Mar 09, 2018
How the UW Carbone Cancer Center Grows Their Annual 5K
Among her many responsibilities, Murphy Dunne spearheads the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center’s online fundraising and runs one of their largest annual events, Race for Research 5K. Learn how she constantly upgrades the run/walk to increase participation, implements modern tools that drive success, and successfully engages communities year after year. 
Mar 02, 2018
How Teach For America's Managing Director of Annual and Major Giving Engages Alumni
As the managing director of annual and major giving at Teach For America (TFA), Meghan Cressman is focused on expanding the organization’s individual giving from the national level. Learn how she supports 53 TFA regions—each with their unique philanthropic landscapes—to cultivate a culture of giving within their communities, especially among their alumni. 
Get ready to learn how TFA motivates their alumni to contribute financially, how they leverage and activate their national and regional boards, how Meghan helps maintain consistent branding across 53 regional chapters, and more.
Feb 23, 2018
How Heifer International’s Director of Influencer Marketing and Brand Partnerships Activates Power Players

Before joining Heifer International, Linda Rogers oversaw the corporate social responsibility arms at two companies you might have heard of: Disney and Coca-Cola. When it comes to corporate partnerships, she’s a seasoned expert that has sat on both sides of the fence—and she’s using her wealth of knowledge to engage influencers. Learn how to identify a strong partner and steward them from start to finish, create ambassadors of your brand, conduct change management, and more.

Nov 15, 2017
Vitamin Angels’ Former Senior Digital Marketing Manager on Data-Driven Strategies
As the former senior digital marketing manager of Vitamin Angels, Sarah Wright oversaw a uniquely structured team that managed over 100 corporate partnerships. But she was also focused on using data to expand their supporter base and diversify their income. Tune in to learn how she navigated and balanced it all.
Nov 03, 2017
From Apple to The Salvation Army: Lessons From the Southern Territory’s Director of Digital Strategy and Engagement
After working at Apple for three years, Piper LeJeune brings important lessons learned from her time with one of the most forward-thinking companies in the world to The Salvation Army, Southern Territory. Hear how her leadership and philosophies are moving the organization’s marketing into the future.
Oct 27, 2017
Convoy of Hope’s ED of Integrated Marketing Talks Excellence in Leadership
From selling cars for about a decade, to launching and running a couple publicly traded companies, to stepping into his current role as Executive Director of Integrated Marketing and feedONE at Convoy of Hope, Jeff Roman has cultivated a rich history of diverse leadership experience. Over the years, he’s honed a leadership style that has built and drives a nonprofit department rooted in excellence. 
Oct 20, 2017
How Oxfam’s Digital Engagement Director Drives a Winning Team

As the director of digital engagement at Oxfam America, Mason Weintraub shares how they built a digital team that thrives on a culture of collaboration, creativity, and empowerment. As a leader, they know that their team environment translates directly into the success of their digital efforts. You won’t be afraid to try bold, new ideas after listening to this episode.

Oct 17, 2017
How Classy's CEO Built a Top Fundraising Platform for the Social Sector

Why does fundraising have to be so hard? It’s a question that guided Scot Chisholm as he transitioned Classy from a neighborhood fundraising event into a leading SaaS company in San Diego. Learn about his serendipitous journey from pizza parlor to CEO, how he handled challenges building an organization from scratch, how the for-profit and nonprofit worlds can work together, and how to create a work environment that drives professional and personal growth for employees.

Aug 04, 2017
Former COO of charity: water Shares His Keys to Growth

In this episode, former COO of charity: water Rod Arnold discusses their emergence as a premier nonprofit brand and his years of experience as a nonprofit consultant. Tune in to discover what led to their success, how to leverage inbound marketing to capture target audiences, and Rod’s expert advice for tackling growth as a nonprofit organization.

Jul 28, 2017
How the Karam Foundation Takes On the Syrian Refugee Crisis

The Karam Foundation began when Lina Sergie Attar and her friend started holding social events with a humanitarian spin for Chicago’s Arab-American community. But when the Syrian Civil War created the largest humanitarian crisis of recent times, Lina (a Syrian-American herself) and her team were called to move from small-scale funding to on-the-ground programs. Learn how they stay grounded with a mission of immense scale.

In this episode, Lina shares how Karam adapts their fundraising strategy in response to current events, how her expertise in architecture and design informs Karam’s web presence, where she finds inspiration and motivation to keep going, and more.

Jul 21, 2017
How The Honor Foundation's CEO Maintains a Growth Mindset

In this episode, the CEO and founder of The Honor Foundation discusses the unconventional mindsets and practices that grew the organization’s online revenue by 191 percent in one year. Tune in to discover how to stay close to your mission through growth, overcome challenges unique to founders, and hire the right team to take you to the next level.

Jul 14, 2017
Why buildOn’s Founder Won’t Play It Safe

Jim Ziolkowski left a plum job at GE to start buildOn, a nonprofit organization that breaks the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through service and education. But his lofty mission was met with a string of rejections and setbacks. Find out how this failure powered Jim and his team to develop the humility and grit to keep going.

In this episode of the Classy podcast, Jim shares:

  • Why he couldn’t walk away when failure seemed certain
  • How an executive assistant gave buildOn a chance
  • Why he shares their methodology with other organizations
  • How risk-taking created this 25-year-old international nonprofit
  • Why buildOn is not a charity


Jul 07, 2017
Brad Ludden's Founding Story Started on a Kayak

Brad Ludden has spent the last 16 years taking young people with cancer on epic adventures around the world. His work has transformed the lives of hundreds of participants, including his own. Join us as we dive into his journey from working as a professional whitewater kayaker, to founding his nonprofit First Descents at age 20, to recently being honored as a CNN Hero.

In this episode, Brad shares:

  • Why the right board of directors is instrumental in your early days
  • The formula for locking in the right corporate sponsor
  • How to measure the impact of outdoor adventures on participants
  • How he conducts critical check-ins to reevaluate how he provides value as a CEO
Apr 19, 2017
Forbes Under 30 Entrepreneurs Share (Refreshing) Leadership Advice

Two Forbes 30 Under 30 stars are building successful social businesses to address food access in two very different ways: Noam Kimelman through healthy meals on-the-go in Detroit, and Shobhita Soor through insect farming in Ghana. What they have in common is a keen sense for establishing a solid revenue stream for their budding nonprofits and re-aligning the way work shows up in their personal lives. 

In this episode, Noam and Shobhita share:

  • Their founding stories building Fresh Corner Cafe and Aspire Food Group
  • Why they opted for a new revenue model outside the traditional nonprofit route
  • How they’re working towards financial self-sustainability
  • The business advice that influenced their early days
  • How this generation accepts entrepreneurship as a way of life
  • What they stand for: rebelliousness and opportunity
Apr 11, 2017
Paula Schwarz Is Solving Europe's Refugee Crisis

At 26-years-old, Paula Schwarz is a serial entrepreneur working on the frontlines of the international immigration crisis. This Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree is developing innovative solutions to the unique needs of refugees, and then testing them in camps around the world through her company, StartupBoat.

In this episode, Paula walks us through her leadership strategies and how to stay focused in the face of adversity. She shares:

  • How to attract partners like Facebook, UBS, Bayer, UNICEF, and Aspen Institute
  • Advice for assembling a team of lifelong learners
  • What the international immigration crisis really looks like

PLUS, stay tuned for a guest Q&A between Paula and Classy engineer Morgan Snyder, another Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree.

Apr 05, 2017
Jeffrey Martín Is Transforming Atlanta Into the Silicon Valley for the South

It’s been a whirlwind year for Jeffrey Martín. In February he signed his first big client deal, in May he brought on a team of interns, in September was his big fundraiser, and in October he won the Forbes $1M Change the World Entrepreneurship Competition as part of the Forbes Under 30 Summit. He always said starting his organization honorCode was a risk for him, until things started to fall in place at the end of 2016.

honorCode is a new social enterprise that’s feeding K-12 classrooms in Atlanta web development training and curriculum. As the CEO and Founder, Martín envisions Atlanta becoming the Silicon Valley for the South and is closing opportunity gaps with modern technical education. He wants Atlanta's next generation to be educated as coders and able to compete for lucrative jobs in their hometown.

Born into poverty, Martín is the epitome of the students he aims to empower today. With education from the Wharton School, grad studies at Brown University, teaching for Teach for America and a stint at Goldman Sachs, he’s now lived many lives. His experiences converge into one timely interview, as we speak to Jeff on his 26th birthday.

In this episode, Jeffrey shares:

  • The growth levers that took honorCode from an idea to a business
  • How to attract lucrative corporate partners, like Google and Forbes
  • The data points you need to use to validate your startup
  • Why you should apply to competitions and accelerators, and advice on how to do it right
Mar 28, 2017
Toilets & Water Filters: Two Startups Redefining Nonprofit Tech

In Classy's first ever podcast panel discussion, and in honor of World Water Day, we speak with two cutting-edge leaders in the WaSH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) sector, Jason Kass and Natalie Relich. 

Natalie is the Executive Director at O’Horizons, a nonprofit developing solutions that are characterized as Low-Tech, High-Thinking. Most notably, they've created a wood mold bio-sand filter that makes it cheaper, faster, and easier to get safe drinking water. Jason is the president and founder of Toilets for People, a social enterprise that designs and manufactures waterless bathroom products and trains NGO partners in the developing world how to build, install & maintain them. Their signature sanitation solution is an affordable, self-contained waterless toilet that uses technology to safely treat human waste.

In this episode, Natalie and Jason share:

  • How to stay forward-thinking at your own social startup
  • Tips for collaborating with like-minded organizations
  • Tactics for incorporating low-tech, high-thinking solutions into your nonprofit programs
  • Why lean startups like theirs are poised to drive significant change for the international development community
  • How low-tech, high-thinking solutions are a more sustainable approach to today's world problems
  • An insightful approach to the definition of "social innovation"
Mar 17, 2017
Upworthy’s Creative Director Will Radically Change Your Perspective on Millennials

Erica Williams Simon grew up watching her father transform people’s lives through stories. It didn’t take long to realize that she had a similar calling.

Today, after a stint in politics, dozens of TV appearances, numerous conferences, advising the White House and several Fortune 500 companies, and serving as Creative Director for, Erica has honed her voice and built a platform that uses storytelling to affect change across generations, with a particular focus on millennials.

In this episode of the Classy Podcast, Erica shares the work she is doing to create and share messages that help generation Y thrive and radically change the world. She revisits the experience of discovering her strengths, the moments and people that shaped who she is today, and how she approaches journalism and storytelling in very different ways.

In this episode, Erica discusses:

  • How to have a great personal and working relationship with millennials
  • Tactics to get outside your “filter bubble” and listen to news objectively
  • How to get “un-stuck” in your career path
  • Why it’s important to distinguish journalism from storytelling
  • Why it’s ok to not settle for just one professional title
  • The #1 challenge for anyone creating content today
  • Why her go-to power pose has more to do with her heart than her physical presence
Dec 30, 2016
How a Would-Be Medical Student Took on Nonprofit R&D | Renuka Kher, Tipping Point

Renuka Kher is the managing director of Tipping Point’s research and development engine, located in the heart of San Francisco.

On a path to medical school, Renuka’s life takes an interesting turn after participating in a design program. Her experience in science, design, and community-focused nonprofits inform her refreshing take on the social sector. Renuka is a passionate problem solver, and this conversation will ignite you to be one too.

Nov 19, 2016
A Data Scientist With a Heart for Impact | Jackie Roshan, Pencils of Promise

Each leader in the social sector has their own winding (and sometimes surprising) path to their present influence. For Jackie Roshan, the director of transparency and data innovation at Pencils of Promise (PoP), this journey has included childhood adversity; studies in South Africa, Peru, and Thailand; and a life-changing move to New York City. This path has brought Jackie to Pencils of Promise, where she now leads the vital effort to maximize impact and transparency at the high-profile organization.

Pioneers of peer-to-peer fundraising, Pencils of Promise partners with local governments and education ministries in Ghana, Guatemala, and Laos to change public education systems. They work within communities to build schools, train and support teachers, and implement water sanitation and health programs.

Jackie and PoP are also leading the way toward new heights of impact evaluation and transparency in the sector. Intent on identifying and optimizing programs that change lives, she and her team are using the power of data and accountability to unlock the potential of more than 33,000 students.

Nov 12, 2016
10+ Life Lessons From the COO of Movemeant Foundation | Charina Lumley, Movemeant Foundation

“I think ultimately my biggest takeaway from watching [the publishing industry] unfold over 15 years was really a lesson in understanding that we cannot sit still.”

Sitting still was never a hallmark of Charina Lumley’s career.

The first 15 years of her professional life, she worked in print and publication in the city that never sleeps, New York.

Then, she committed what many would call “career suicide.”

She left behind the stability and glam of the Big Apple and followed an itch. She became a parks ranger for the National Parks Service–a position that ultimately led her to the action sports industry and her active lifestyle. Ten years later, trusting the opportunities presented to her along this jagged journey, she now straddles the for-profit and nonprofit worlds: she serves as both the head of growth for a startup SaaS company and the COO of the Movemeant Foundation, an organization empowering women and girls to lead active lifestyles.

Forty minutes with Charina flew by thanks to a multitude of life lessons and advice peppered among stories of her own professional development.

Nov 05, 2016
Special Edition: The Future of Breast Cancer with Sarah Storey, Bright Pink

Sarah Storey decided to leave a 19-year career in the for-profit world because of her personal experiences as the daughter of a breast cancer survivor. In 2014, she officially signed on as the President of Bright Pink.

One of Sarah’s top priorities at Bright Pink is making bold, measurable changes in the world of breast and ovarian cancer. A big part of this goal is encouraging women to take proactive measures when they’re young and healthy. If you wait until you’re diagnosed, the fight gets that much harder.

“There are plenty of efforts that are put into treatment, advancing the cause for folks who are actually fighting the disease,” says Storey. “Those efforts are really meaningful, but we’re not satisfied to wait until that point.”

The more you know now, the better prepared you are to take action and reduce your risk of breast cancer. If Bright Pink didn’t attempt to reach these young women, they feel it would be a missed opportunity to save lives.

That sense of duty influenced the development of Bright Pink’s self-assessment tool, Launched in 2015, over 500,000 women have taken the comprehensive, 19-question risk assessment for both breast and ovarian cancer.

Oct 27, 2016
This Woman is Leading a New Era of Corporate Social Responsibility | Michele Sullivan, Caterpillar & Caterpillar Foundation

“I believe we all have a role to play, not only in our own successes, but in the successes of others, and I believe we must come together to make these changes.”

As the President of the Caterpillar Foundation and Director of Corporate Social Innovation for Caterpillar, this sense of responsibility motivates and inspires Michele Sullivan on a daily basis.

Caterpillar was founded in 1925, the Caterpillar Foundation opening years later in 1952. Over time however, these two parts of Caterpillar have been united as a strategic, influential company that gives back to society in order to improve our world.

In this episode, Michele discusses: • Societal and human infrastructure working together as one • Caterpillar’s evolution as a company • Solving problems as a business and as a nonprofit • The future of corporate philanthropy

Oct 22, 2016
How GE Defines Corporate Responsibility | Deborah Elam, GE & GE Foundation

“How do we leverage the knowledge and expertise we have and couple it with philanthropic dollars?”

As the president of the GE Foundation and the Chief Diversity Officer of GE, Deborah Elam is responsible for answering this question for one of the largest companies in the world. In her 30 years of work at GE, she identified an overlap between her efforts to provide employees with equal opportunity and the foundation’s philanthropic areas of focus.

One of the oldest philanthropic organizations today, the GE Foundation has developed a longstanding reputation for its programs in health, education, developing skills, and public policy. Deborah’s dual role works to empower both GE employees and the beneficiaries of the foundation to contribute to society and achieve their dreams. Under her direction, corporate responsibility goes far beyond the contribution of dollars and becomes an effective strategy other organizations can mirror to engage their employees in meaningful work.

Previously a Leadership Council member of the 2016 Collaborative + Classy Awards, Deborah recently joined us again to discuss corporate responsibility, her unique role at GE, and her personal leadership experience.

Oct 15, 2016
How the Wilderness Inspired This Veteran to Become a Nonprofit Director | Stacy Bare, Director, Sierra Club Outdoors

Post traumatic stress, a lack of purpose, feeling overwhelmed—these are just some of the challenges that veterans face as they transition into civilian life. Stacy Bare was no exception.

Before he became the director of Sierra Club Outdoors, Stacy served in Iraq. His transition out of the army was marked by drug and alcohol addictions and depression. But the more he got outside, the more his experiences in the wilderness helped him to see the healing power of the outdoors.

In this episode, Stacy shares:

  • How lessons learned in the wilderness influence his time in the office
  • The role veterans play in our country’s conservation efforts
  • How being a new parent has changed his perspective of the world around him
  • The many mentors who empowered him
Oct 01, 2016
This CEO Represents the Next Generation of Nonprofits | Brett Hagler, ‎CEO & Co-Founder, New Story

Brett Hagler is not your typical Silicon Valley CEO. While he is a CEO based in San Francisco, Brett is focused on growing a different type of business—his nonprofit, New Story. New Story uses crowdfunding to raise money to build homes for those who’ve lost theirs due to a natural disaster, first in Haiti and now El Salvador in Central America and Bolivia in South America.

Under Brett’s leadership, New Story is changing how traditional nonprofits do business. From their programs to their internal culture and core values, Brett approaches his organization with the same mentality of his startup, for-profit peers: with a laser focus on transparency, efficiency, and bottom line revenue. The only difference is that the revenue he generates goes to programs and impacting the families they serve.

Despite his young age, Brett’s experience in moving from the for-profit to the nonprofit world, growing a team, and raising capital make him a powerful mentor for other up-and-coming social entrepreneurs.

In this episode, Brett shares advice for attracting a high-profile board of advisors—and why this is critical for your success, how he and his team nailed their 10-minute pitch to Y Combinator and beat out 300 other companies, why Scott Harrison of charity: water is among his top three most influential mentors, and how he remains a lifelong learner through podcasts and books.

Sep 24, 2016
The Visionary Who’s Redefining Philanthropy | Jacob Lief, CEO, Ubuntu

Jacob Lief was only 21-years-old when he first visited the townships of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It was 1998 and the country was transitioning out of apartheid. With a college degree in his back pocket, Jacob cultivated a team of other inspired individuals and together they founded Ubuntu Education Fund with the hope of giving Port Elizabeth’s youth a more promising future.

Jacob’s founding story is one of grit, perseverance, and personal development. His journey of growing Ubuntu into a world-renowned leader in education is marked with many monumental challenges and milestones—including a pivot that completely changed the organization’s funding model, seven years into its operations.

Today, Jacob is a celebrated thought leader with a contagious vision for a better philanthropic sector—one that allows nonprofits to dream big and execute beyond the traditional walls of restricted funding and antiquated benchmarks of success.

In this episode, Jacob shares:

  • What it was like to turn down seven-figure funding from USAID
  • Key facets of the Ubuntu internal culture and how that culture has kept his core executive team together for 13 years
  • His personal growth as a CEO
  • Why he thinks culture is the most dangerous word in English dictionary
  • The mentor who pushed him to take care of himself first
Sep 17, 2016
Dirk Van Velzen, Prison Scholar Fund | Thriving in the Face of Adversity

Few people can say they spent nearly 20 years in prison and then received President Obama’s Volunteer Service Award. Dirk Van Velzen, the founder and executive director of the Prison Scholar Fund (PSF), can.

On this episode of the Classy Podcast, Dirk takes us on his journey through applying to and graduating from Penn State, starting the Prison Scholar Fund, and awarding scholarships to fellow inmates who wanted to pursue education—all during his incarceration.

After his release in May 2015, Dirk spearheaded the infrastructure building and program delivery of the organization, continuing to apply his lessons learned from previous challenges.

Sep 10, 2016
Leah Gilliam, Girls Who Code | Leading the Way for Women in Tech

If you had to describe Leah Gilliam—the VP of education, strategy, and innovation at Girls Who Code—in three words, “always be learning” would be the most appropriate.

Early influences (like her mom, who covered the Civil Rights Movement as the first black female journalist at The Washington Post) and experiences (growing up in D.C. and watching marches on the White House) has nurtured Leah into a life-long learner who leads through empathy.

Sep 02, 2016
Cindy Jones-Nyland, Heifer International | Leading With Intuition

In early 2016, Cindy Jones-Nyland stepped down as CMO of Heifer International, citing in a recent blog that “intuition spoke very clearly about needing to allow more time and space for other things I am passionate about, and for spending more moments with my family.”

This trust in her own judgment and courage to take new steps are exactly what define Cindy as a leader.

Her advice on authenticity in leadership and using intuition to make important life and career decisions, as well as her healthy opposition to the work/life balance debate, will leave you feeling renewed and rejuvenated in your own position. Not to mention, she shares a behind-the-scenes take from her experience running the marketing team of one of the largest, most trusted nonprofits in the world.

Aug 27, 2016
Lauren Bush Lauren, FEED | Approaching Business With Head and Heart

You’ve likely seen or even own Lauren Bush Lauren’s most popular product: a burlap tote that was inspired by the bags of food rations she saw being delivered by the World Food Programme in 2007. Nearly a decade later Lauren has inspired a movement of artisans and buyers and has established FEED as a leader within the intersection of business and social impact.

In this episode, the FEED Founder & CEO speaks openly about her early days founding the social business and the challenges and milestones that have carved her path since. She also reveals her hacks on finding balance in a busy world, where she finds inspiration, and mentors that have shaped her and FEED's trajectory.

Aug 17, 2016
The Beginning of a Movement with More Than Me's Founder & CEO

Katie Meyler and Emily Bell of More Than Me, an organization that provides education to the most vulnerable girls in the capital of Liberia, join us in this episode of the Classy Podcast. Soon after More Than Me opened their academy for girls, the Ebola crisis erupted and schools were shut down. More Than Me turned their academy into an Ebola outreach center working alongside the community on the frontlines.

Katie, the founder & CEO, was recently recognized by Time Magazine as the person of the year for fighting Ebola, and Emily, the marketing and development manager, has been quoted in Forbes, Mashable, and PBS News Hour, among others.

Aug 10, 2016
The Secret Sauce to Fundraising Success | Matt Scott, Team Rubicon

Team Rubicon is a veteran service organization that uses emergency response to reinvigorate better sense of purpose. Matt, as the Senior Development Officer, has grown the organization’s recurring giving program, pioneered its donor engagement efforts and scaled its donor management system with the Salesforce plus Classy Integration. Now, he’s also helping other organizations grow their online fundraising efforts with his consulting firm CauseMic.

Aug 10, 2016
How to Grow a Powerhouse Grassroots Organization | Kennedy Odede, Shining Hope for Communities

Since childhood, Kennedy Odede faced intolerable hardship, but he never let a bad draw undermine his determination to uplift both himself and his community. It’s not until you hear Mr. Odede speak that you can believe he holds such a positive and hopeful outlook on life. Together with his wife, Jessica Posner, Kennedy has grown Shining Hope for Communities into a powerhouse of change for Kenya’s largest slum and beyond. Last October they released their book Find Me Unafraid: Love, Loss, and Hope in an African Slum, which has recently been released on paperback.

In this episode, Kennedy and Jessica discuss the key to community-driven solutions to poverty. Both inspiring and practical, they reveal the challenges behind empowerment and the methods that have worked well for their organization. You’ll learn:

  • How to adopt a partnership mindset that’s actually fruitful
  • Why empowerment isn’t just in the hands of nonprofits
  • How SHOFCO enables leaders within the communities where they work
  • How SHOFCO’s holistic approach to poverty works
  • How to tell the stories of beneficiaries on the ground to donors in the US
Jul 29, 2016