The past 13+ years of my career have been devoted to supercharging nonprofit leaders and their organizations. A couple of years ago, during my stint as Founding Executive Director of Box.org, I got to spend a couple days in New York City bringing superpowers to my [s]heroes to enable their mission fulfillment. I look forward to many more business trips like this in the future.
In just two days I participated in six community enabling activities that inspired me greatly and reinvigorated my sense of hope during challenging times. When’s the last time you got inspired six times in under 48 hours? If you’re intrigued and want a few more details read on!
On Tuesday I landed at JFK from San Francisco and went straight to the 2018 Children’s Rights Benefit at Chelsea Piers. I was humbled to spend the evening with over 400 inspiring and influential child advocates from the legal, child welfare, arts and media sectors. It was an honor to receive the Champions Award on Box.org’s behalf for our work with Sixto Cancel and his organization Think of Us in the foster youth innovation space. We’ll never forget receiving recognition alongside some of our favorite change-makers Sixto Cancel from Think of Us and Lee Gelernt from the ACLU “for harnessing the power of technology to build bright futures for vulnerable children.” Deep bows to Children’s Rights for including us.
I woke up early Wednesday and joined dozens of Boxer colleagues for volunteering with the LES Ecology Center that maintains the 57 acre East River Park. We all learned volumes about the conservation efforts underway in the Big Apple. We pulled 2.61 million weeds and planted 426 flower bulbs (approximate numbers J). The team had a blast. It felt great driving by our volunteering site the next day on my way to JFK. I felt closer to my colleagues and to New York City.
I spent Wednesday afternoon in the high energy Box New York City office on the phone with several of our incredible nonprofit leaders discussing their needs, challenges, goals and dreams. I was also pleased to sit down with several groups of Boxers interested in how they could share their skill-sets with our nonprofit community members. Box.org is now 100% in the bloodstream of the Box operating plan, culture and values structure. Box exec Andrew Smith was even cool enough to include Box.org trivia questions in the office trivia happy hour that evening. I can never get enough authentic and informative team bonding.
Thursday morning took me to Brooklyn’s Camden Plaza, home of the New York City Office of Emergency Management. Box.org collaborators from FB, Twitter, Uber & AirBnb’s crisis innovation teams and I were hosted by one of Box.org’s donated nonprofit customer heroes Big City Emergency Managers (BCEM), an organization that convenes the top emergency managers of the largest US cities twice a year to share best practices and ideas. I’m always inspired to see nonprofits and governments responsible for safety in our communities embracing and succeeding with new technologies from Box and our collaborators. I especially loved hearing how BCEM uses Box to coordinate, manage and share all the content for their collaborative meetings using Box.
Later that day I spent 3 hours at the downtown office of the Foundation Center, an incredible nonprofit capacity building orgs that helps nonprofits get the information they need to make a difference. Spending the lunch hour with Jake Garcia and his technology team got me excited about all aspects of their digital journey… More on that in a future post. After lunch I headed down the hall to the Foundation Center webinar broadcasting area and teamed up with DonorsChoose.org’s CMO Katie Bisbee (long time Box customer, partner and advocate) to present a webinar to nonprofit executives about how to successfully approach and build mutually impactful partnerships with tech companies like these who are building new gen sustainable social impact programs into their business plans
As usual I got so engrossed in my post webinar catch-up session with Katie that I lost track of time and caught my ride-share for the airport 30 minutes later than planned. A few lucky breaks and a sweaty sprint across terminal B at JFK got me through the boarding door with just seconds to spare. It’s amazing how productive and rewarding 48 hours in the Big Apple can be.