Pro Bono Day NYC Top Five

Pro Bono Day NYC Top Five

Guest Post by Miriam Young, NPower Community Corps

Multimedia from this Release

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 11:30am

CAMPAIGN: Pro Bono Week


We had a great time on Wednesday celebrating Pro Bono Day NYC, hosted at the Social Centre for Innovation as part of Pro Bono Week 2013Taproot Foundation and desigNYC organized the event with sponsorship from Citi Foundation as a way to showcase and celebrate New York City’s ever growing pro bono landscape.

We were thrilled to get to participate on two panels – “Using Technology to Accelerate Your Impact” and “How Fortune 500 Companies are Changing the Pro Bono Landscape in NYC.” 

While there were so many great highlights from the event, we wanted to share our top 5:

1-The space!

Located in Chelsea, The Centre for Social Innovation is a wonderful new addition to New York - a coworking space/community center/incubator/fun event space for people and organizations that are changing the world.  I personally loved the chandeliers, floor to ceiling windows and, yup, that’s a suspended canoe hanging from the ceiling for good measure.  But this is also a place where serious work is getting done.  I actually got to use one of the rooms to take a call before our panels started. I could see the concentration and energy of all the organizations working from shared tables, individuals tucked into small reading nooks with lap tops or groups brainstorming in workshop rooms.  It was really a perfect home for an event like Pro Bono Day that’s designed to encourage more collaboration between disciplines and sectors in the pro bono movement. 

2- Jake Porway from DataKind = the best

There were three panel discussions held during the day, convening a variety of wonderful speakers.  I spoke on the Accelerating Impact panel designed to give best practices on engaging pro bono tech resources.  I was also joined by one of The Community Corps’ rockstar volunteers, Barry Platzman, who’s completed several tech capacity building projects for nonprofits and schools.  We fielded great audience questions on how to manage scope and how nonprofits can increase tech literacy before engaging a technology volunteer through great resources like NTEN and Idealware.

However, I gotta say, Jake Porway from DataKind is kinda the best.  Jake was a fellow panelist and dazzled the audience with great examples of how they’re using data to change the world, helping organizations gain insight into their programs and their issue areas overall.  (He also helped me when my mic immediately broke, doing a little pro bono tech support on the spot!)  DataKind hosts regular meetups that sound amazing – we ran some regression analysis and it looks like we will 100% be there.

3-Real discussion, no really!

Our very own Corporate Engagement Director, Mary Ellen Sullivan, spoke on the panel, “How Fortune 500 Companies are Changing the Pro Bono Landscape in NYC,” sharing her expertise of working with NPower’s corporate network to engage hundreds of technology professionals globally in service.  There were great insights and candid discussion from the corporate panelists, Monica Chaves from MasterCard, Meredith Hahn from American Express and Florencia Spangaro from Citi Foundation, who gave nonprofits a real look at how their companies approach employee volunteerism.  The audience asked thoughtful questions on how companies are measuring success and impact and the moderator, Rob Acton from Taproot Foundation, even summarized a great list of tips for nonprofits looking to source pro bono support from.  All in all, nice solid takeaways and a very authentic panel of CSR leaders!

 4-The Deadly Carrots and a Rallying Speech

Aaron Hurst, Taproot Foundation Founder and now Imperative CEO, closed out the night’s programming with a rallying speech on how far the pro bono movement has come and how far it can go…and how we should all beware the deadly sharp carrots on the food table that somehow caused a papercut.  Ouch!  We wish you a speedy recovery, Aaron!

5-The Cool Kids

It was great to catch up with the latest from all of the fabulous pro bono providers in NYC!  Let’s just say anybody who’s anybody who loves pro bono and volunteerism was there including DataKind, Catchafire, NetImpact, New York Cares, AMEX’s Serve 2gether Consulting, the 1%, Gray Matters and, of course, Taproot Foundation.  This is the great and ever growing NYC pro bono landscape and we are honored to be a part of it. 

Let the countdown begin for Pro Bono Day 2014!