Program Alumna Nina: 5 Things I Learned From Allow Good

Nina participated in Global Philanthropy Summit (now called Summer Summit) in 2012, 2013, and 2014; Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy in 2013; and Global Engagement Excursions in 2014 and 2015. She has stayed involved with Allow Good through her position as the Youth Chair on our Board of Directors. In honor of our 5th year of programming, we asked Nina for the top 5 things she learned from working with Allow Good. 

  1. Service can take on a variety of forms. Often times growing up, we have a limited definition of service that largely consists of donations to charity and direct forms of community service (such as volunteering at a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter). Allow Good is unique because it teaches teens and young adults that no matter what walk of life you choose to pursue, you have the capacity to give back to your community. This is especially seen in programs such as the Summer Summit, where participants can see the service components in companies and organizations ranging from Groupon to Design for America to Microsoft. Allow Good teaches teens that giving back isn’t limited to giving checks to charity - rather, it is something that all of us can incorporate into our daily lives and careers, regardless of whether we choose to pursue a STEM field or public service.
  2. Philanthropy is accessible to everyone. Continuing off of the previous idea, Allow Good teaches teens that we too can be catalysts for change - philanthropic work isn’t just for richer adults. Allow Good provides teens with the tools that they need to solve issues that they are passionate about by broadening their outlook on what philanthropy involves. It doesn’t have to be about money alone; volunteering our own time and talents can be equally as effective in creating change.
  3. Meaningful change takes time to create; it is not instantaneous. Working with Allow Good over the course of the past few years, and watching how the organization has grown, has taught me that creating a true impact within a community takes a great deal of time and effort - a large monetary donation won’t always immediately fix the problem. Allow Good shows teens how to solve a societal issue from multiple angles, and to look at the various factors that influence it, as they teach us that understanding those intricacies are imperative to solving problems in the long-term.
  4. Collaboration and teamwork are essential for maximizing one’s own impact. What makes Allow Good special is not only exposure to different forms of philanthropy, but also the community of young philanthropists that it helps create and join together. Throughout the past 5 years, as I’ve participated in various Allow Good programs, I’ve had the opportunity to meet like-minded teens from around the Chicagoland area, all of whom have brought their own ideas, solutions, and experiences to the table. Exposure to such diversity from other young adults broadened my own perspectives on how best to help my own community. Allow Good provides a forum for discussion on a wide variety of issues, and in doing so, they magnify the voices of teenagers, who aren’t often heard in other nonprofit organizations.
  5. There are smaller, more complex details involved in philanthropic work. Another interesting facet of Allow Good’s programs is that they teach teens the finer details of philanthropic work, from different types of business models that give back to a community (such as TOMS shoes) to the grantmaking process, wherein participants have a full immersion in the experience as they choose an organization that they want to give to. Much of the time, kids are limited in their knowledge of how a nonprofit organization operates on a day-to-day basis, and Allow Good offers them clearer insight into those processes.
 Nina is pictured here on one of 2014 Global Engagement Excursions to Nicaragua

Nina is pictured here on one of 2014 Global Engagement Excursions to Nicaragua