Shaping and Promoting Talented Young Leaders
We believe in making systems and organizations better, but we also work directly with young people to help emerging leaders extend their reach and influence. Case in point: Sixto Cancel was removed from his home when he was 11 months old; adopted by an abusive family at 11; became homeless between the ages of 13 and 15; and then took another chance on foster care. In high school he began advocating for child welfare reform, and was instrumental in getting a Connecticut law passed ensuring that siblings in foster care can stay together whenever possible. Soon after, as a Jim Casey Youth Opportunity Initiative Young Fellow, he began advocating for foster youth on a national level.
In 2014, while still in college in Richmond, Virginia, Sixto came to Youth Catalytics with the foundations of an organization called Think of Us. Even born leaders need practical guidance, and Sixto sought our expertise and support in managing organizational finances, spending oversight, setting up independent contractor agreements, and establishing organizational credit. In addition, Think of Us needed a 501c3 entity to act on their behalf to receive funds from donors and government contracts and grants that were looming opportunities.
What We Did
YC provided Sixto and his team with hundreds of hours of mentorship in nonprofit management and hands-on fiduciary oversight. To support the young organization’s ability to bring its vision to life, we:
- Partnered with Think of Us in securing their first federal grant
- Managed and tracked Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable
- Produced quarterly financial reports and provided continuous tracking and oversight
- Drafted internal operations policies
- Offered administrative and executive coaching
- Provided Think of Us contractors with 24/7 emergency support for travel
Today, Think of Us is taking off. The organization has a growing donor base, is receiving grants and tax-deductible donations, and has launched the legal process of establishing its own 501(c)3 entity. Our mentoring and practical services resulted in:
- An institutionalized, formal financial management system
- Administrative and financial foundations that enabled successful promotion and growth
- Preparation for a successful transition to its own 501c3 in 2017
Incubating young talent is the most important thing we can do to strengthen the next generation and sustain all the gains our field has made. As a result of our collaboration, Think of Us is poised to take a leadership role in leveraging technology, data, and multimedia to improve outcomes for young people transitioning out of foster care, and to promote technology integration in system reform.