Mission and History of YLBC
The Young Leaders Breakfast Club (YLBC) is a ten-month cohort-based network and leadership development program. YLBC is geared toward philanthropy professionals who have five to fifteen years of experience, with an intentional focus to engage communities historically underrepresented in the philanthropic sector. YLBC creates a space for participants to build relationships across a diverse community of professionals, work on personal and collective learning agendas, and practice leadership skills. Through YLBC, we are building a more networked philanthropic sector dedicated to equitable, inclusive, collaborative, and innovative philanthropy.
Throughout our almost 40-year history, Philanthropy New York has supported philanthropic professionals at every stage of their careers through continuing education, skills development, and network building. Core to our mission is developing a diverse and capable group of future philanthropic leaders. In 2010, we identified a gap in opportunities for members in their twenties and thirties to expand their professional and leadership capacity, build a strong peer network in the field and navigate how they contribute to mission-driven work as a younger professional. We developed YLBC with the understanding that philanthropy is more effective when the field creates equitable opportunities for leadership and an inclusive space for relationship-building, collaboration, and problem-solving.
YLBC provides multiple opportunities for young leaders to identify professional challenges and growth areas, unpack their motivations for mission-driven work and grapple with tensions in the field of philanthropy. These core themes are present throughout the formal components of the program.
- Individual reflective activities provide space and structure for young leaders to reflect upon their work, their professional goals, and the perspective that they each bring to the field. Solo work sets the foundation for getting the most value out of the program and for building a strong YLBC community.
- “Breakfast Clubs” are comprised of three young leaders (of similar levels of experience across philanthropic focus areas and roles) and a group mentor. The group alternates between meeting as a young leader peer group and as a group with their mentor. Members design their own agendas and use their meetings to navigate professional challenges, strategize about short-term and long-term goals and build deeper relationships with colleagues across the field.
- One-on-one meetings enable young leaders to build relationships with one another and their group’s mentor. Professional relationships enable young leaders to discuss challenges that arise, integrate new perspectives into their work, and collaboratively develop strategies for social change.
- Cohort activities bring the YLBC community together as a vibrant network for resource sharing, skills development, and relationship building.
We launch a new cycle of YLBC every other year. The next cycle will start in the Spring of 2020. We will hold information sessions toward the beginning of 2020 to cover critical information about the program goals, structure, time commitment, participant responsibilities, and application process.
Young leaders: To receive announcements about the next YLBC cycle, edit your profile and choose “Young Professionals” as a professional interest area.
Mentors: Email Donita Volkwijn to inquire about serving as a mentor.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I’m a good candidate for YLBC?
YLBC is designed for early to mid-career Philanthropy New York members who are seeking to grow as a professional and are aligned with Philanthropy New York’s vision that philanthropy works together to develop a more equitable, sustainable, and democratic society.
Participants generally have between 5 and 15 years of professional experience.
PNY seeks to create a cohort of young leaders and mentors who represent the local community and the diversity of roles and types of foundations. This program prioritizes the participation of young professionals of color, as well as from other underrepresented communities in philanthropy, including from immigrant, LGBTQ, and disabled communities. We also encourage professionals across the organization to apply (i.e., program, communications, grants management, finance, administration, research, executive, etc). To ensure that the cohort reflects PNY’s organizational membership, we limit the number of participants from any one member organization.
Each cycle, we will accept up to 40 young leaders, depending on mentor availability. We look for participants who will be highly engaged, eager to direct their own learning, and will be committed to working in collaboration with fellow participants.
If you feel you would be a good candidate for the program but have questions about eligibility, please reach out to Kristen Ruff to set up a time to discuss by phone.
Who are mentors?
YLBC mentors are seasoned professionals who are actively engaged in the sector. Mentors serve as facilitators, sounding boards, resources, and coaches for their group. They help to create a productive space for confidential conversation and offer personal reflection and constructive feedback. Mentors are life-long learners and eager to explore a range of topics with their group.
Know someone who would be a wonderful mentor? Email Kristen Ruff to nominate them.
What is the time commitment?
Participation in the program requires a significant time commitment to do the necessary individual work, meet with your breakfast club monthly, commit to one-on-one relationship building with your mentor and peers, and fully participate in cohort activities.
Breakfast club meetings and cohort programming often take place during regular business hours. Some breakfast clubs opt to meet before or after work for their monthly meetings, depending on group availability, and PNY schedules cohort activities before, during, and after work to accommodate schedules.
We encourage all young leaders to set aside time for this program. We regularly hear that the program is as valuable as the energy you put in. We prioritize applicants who can be fully engaged in the YLBC community.
How are groups assigned?
Young leaders do not select their mentor and peer group. We organize breakfast clubs based on where you are in your career and themes from your application. We aim to create diverse groups where individuals bring their unique perspectives to the table and build a strong peer support system.
How do groups use their "breakfast club" time?
Each breakfast club develops their own meeting agendas and young leaders take turns planning and facilitating their group meetings. Participants used their time together to strategize about short-term and long-term professional and leadership goals, gain support and advice for navigating professional challenges, learn from one another about the sector, and build relationships with colleagues across the field.
Participants identify at least one professional goal they want to work on with peer feedback and support. The breakfast clubs provide a confidential space to get support and objective feedback from your peer group and mentor, and a helpful structure for holding yourself accountable to your goal.
Groups schedule their meetings at a time that is convenient for the group. You do not need to meet over breakfast!
Who is eligible to apply?
YLBC is open to staff and trustees of PNY member organizations. (For corporate members, you must work for the company’s corporate giving program or corporate foundation.) In keeping with PNY’s membership policies, YLBC is not open to fundraising and development professionals. Participants must be affiliated with a PNY member organization for the entirety of the program. Please do not apply if you are seeking employment elsewhere. You will not be able to continue in the program if you are no longer affiliated with a PNY member organization.
Participants must have a minimum of five years of professional experience, in or out of philanthropy.
As stated above, PNY seeks to create a cohort of young leaders and mentors who represent the local community and the diversity of roles and types of foundations. This program prioritizes the participation of young professionals of color, as well as from other underrepresented communities in philanthropy, including from immigrant, LGBTQ, and disabled communities. We also encourage professionals across the organization to apply (i.e., program, communications, grants management, finance, administration, research, executive, etc). To ensure that the cohort reflects PNY’s organizational membership, we limit the number of participants from any one member organization.