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ASU Lodestar Center receives $500K grant from Public Allies

By

Heather Beshears

The ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation recently received a grant from Public Allies National Office in the amount of $503,100 that allows its Public Allies Arizona program to recruit and engage 43 new participants this coming year.

Public Allies Arizona, about to begin its ninth year at Arizona State University, is an AmeriCorps national youth leadership organization that recruits, places and develops leadership skills in dedicated, service-minded individuals who engage in paid, 10-month apprenticeships throughout local nonprofit partner organizations. Allies are diverse and passionate individuals interested in social change and making a positive impact in their community. In the 2014-2015 year, Allies will be specifically working at nonprofit organization that focus on: economic opportunity, healthy futures and/or education.

“After nearly a decade of experience in operating one of the leading Public Allies affiliates in the United States, we have learned what the key ingredient is to achieve impact,” says Robert F. Ashcraft, executive director of the ASU Lodestar Center and professor of nonprofit studies in ASU’s School of Community Resources and Development, part of the College of Public Programs. “The key is leadership development through talented, motivated and diverse individuals. Evidence shows clearly that our Public Allies model for leadership is the difference maker in assuring profound social impact through our nonprofit partners.”

In addition to the federal grant received, an additional $560,000 in local funding is contributed through Public Allies Arizona Partner Organizations – bringing the total investments this year to over $1 million in support of this leadership development program. As one of the largest Public Allies sites in the county, the impact on the local Phoenix metropolitan-area community through capacity-building programs such as Public Allies Arizona is profound.

“Allies have improved our relations with volunteers and donor groups, created new programs for those in need and expanded the capacity of current programs. Allies continue to bring in a fresh perspective on how we can better accomplish our mission,” says Max Goshert, a Public Ally alumnus and current Ally supervisor and volunteer coordinator for St. Vincent de Paul. “Allies have allowed us to accomplish so much, and we are excited to see what our partnership with the program can accomplish in the future.”

Over $4.2 million in external grant dollars have been awarded to the ASU Lodestar Center in support of Public Allies Arizona since the program's launch in 2006. When accounting for in-kind support as well as the funds contributed by the nonprofits to have an ally placed within their agencies, the total economic value of the program is more than $7.4 million over the past eight years.

“My experience with Public Allies has been comprised of a series of life-defining moments. From the thought-provoking conversations we have about race and privilege, to participating in numerous community service events, I've been impressed with the program's ability to dissect the socioeconomic issues that plague our communities,” says Nancy Linh Le, a current first-year Public Ally and certification specialist for WBEC-West. “I also value the vast network of compassionate, motivated and civic-minded individuals that I work with and serve."

“Money, buildings, services, programs mean nothing unless they are tied into the people they are supposed to benefit. Allies are indispensable for being that front line, effective, relational link between those we serve and the services that exist. That is where the transformation takes place,” says Jeffrey Bisgrove, a current Public Ally supervisor and executive director of Arizona Neighborhood Transformation.

Written by Nicole Almond Anderson, 602-496-0185, nicole.almondanderson@asu.edu.