For the organizational leaders who participated in the third cohort of New Sun Rising’s Nonprofit Resilience Program, many said the experience was unparalleled compared to other programs they’d been involved in.
Not only was it tailored to the Northside community, but this cohort was created for leaders identifying as Black, Indigenous, and people of color.
“I had not been a part of something like this before,” said Rick Mason. “It was a great opportunity to just connect with other African American leaders, and for there to not be any judgement when talking through and discussing honest feelings. That was the biggest value of the program.”
Mason said he believes the instant connection and understanding amongst the seven individuals in the cohort allowed the group to “dig deep pretty quickly.”
Similar to previous iterations, the One Northside Nonprofit Resilience Program began with an Emotional Intelligence Assessment that helped program facilitators create Development Sessions based upon the needs of the leaders in the program.
“It allowed us to see where we needed to care more for ourselves and we felt comfortable having that discussion, like, ‘Yes, I definitely feel like I’m not caring for myself in these ways and that is affecting my professional activities and interactions,’” said Angela Williams, president of Charles Street Area Council.
Williams said self-care was at the forefront of the program throughout the remainder of the sessions and one-on-one consultations with coaches, which each participant received outside of the classes.
Ashlee Carter, development director at Northside Christian Health Center, said she was impressed by the professional diversity of the coaches who were selected to support the participants, and how they allowed individuals to learn “different techniques of how to be a better leader in [their] community.”
This Northside edition of the Nonprofit Resilience Program was made possible with funding from The Buhl Foundation, which also gave participants a stipend to use on additional executive coaching after the cohort concluded. Carter said she is grateful for the opportunity to sign on for additional services that are tailored to her and her growth as a Northside leader.
Eric Acosta, project manager at Urban Strategies Inc., said he was one of the younger participants and he felt fortunate to be part of the program because he “had never been in a space like that before.”
“I’m really happy that I was part of this program and I hope it doesn’t become a one-off thing. I think there are a lot of people who could benefit from it in the Northside, but also Pittsburgh in general,” Acosta said.
Mason said he knows there is value in programs having a time limit, but there were some “really great conversations” that participants didn’t have a chance to finish or follow-up on, and he thinks spending more time together and continuing to forge those relationships “would have been beneficial.”
Carter felt similarly. She said she found a lot of the conversations “very thought provoking” and believed it would be valuable for the program to be scaled around “different communities in different areas.”
“This program isn’t all talk. This program provided a warm and welcoming environment where we felt comfortable, and it also provided real strategies and tools for how to overcome challenges that we were experiencing personally that would affect our professional roles,” Williams said.