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The closing keynote speaker at the 2016 Nonprofit Talent & Culture Summit left everyone speechless.

Speaker Tim King, president and CEO of Urban Prep Academies, shared an inspiring story of hope and change. He discussed how Urban Prep has seen 100 percent of its graduates accepted into four-year colleges for several straight years. This would be a remarkable achievement for any high school, but Urban Prep Academies isn’t an average high school. It’s the nation’s first charter high school for African American boys, and 85 percent of its students come from low-income families on Chicago’s south and west sides. How do they do it? According to Tim’s talk, it all comes down to recruiting teachers and staff who contribute to Urban Prep Academies’ culture of excellence and devote themselves to changing the lives of Chicago’s young men.

There were few dry eyes in the room as the audience were moved to their feet to give Tim a standing ovation.

One of the attendees most moved by his inspirational talk was Jackie Gordon, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at the YMCA of the USA.

Feeling inspired after hearing the story of Urban Prep’s students, Jackie connected with the organization after the Summit in search of a graduating student who may interested in a paid summer internship working in human resources and learning about the nonprofit sector at her organization. YMCA of the USA interviewed and selected Anthony Payne, a student who graduated from Urban Prep with honors in May and has been awarded a full four-year scholarship to Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont.

This summer, Anthony is assisting YMCA of the USA in downloading resumés for review by managers, preparing materials for new hires, greeting job candidates and attending all of the staff and organizational meetings. He will also be rotating through each of their national departments two days a week to enhance his learning experience. This will ensure he continues to develop his professional and personal engagement skills, which Jackie believes will be a great benefit as he goes into an academic environment that is vastly different from the one he has left.

In addition to engaging with Urban Prep in her intern search, Jackie attended the graduation ceremony for the school’s 2016 graduating class at the Civic Opera Theatre and felt proud to sit among the family and friends of the 252 young men who are making the transition from high school to four-year college.

This story is just one of many that proves that the Nonprofit Talent & Culture Summit was more than just another conference. It inspired relationships that are impacting individuals and organizations in ways both big and small. This is just the beginning of the change we hope to spark through conversations about talent and culture in the nonprofit sector, and we can’t wait to see what kinds of amazing stories the 2017 Nonprofit Talent & Culture Summit has in store. Sign up to be of the first to hear when the 2017 date and speaker lineup are announced.

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