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NPower New Jersey Recipient of Bank of America Neighborhood Builders Award

The Mentoring Effect

NPower New Jersey Recipient of Bank of America Neighborhood Builders Award 

In 2021, NPower New Jersey was the proud recipient of a two-year gift from Bank of America to support nonprofit leadership and sustainability through its Neighborhood Builders program– a signature philanthropic program that provides funding and leadership training to nonprofits that are advancing economic mobility and building up underserved neighborhoods.

The generous gift also included a year of leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader at the organization and an opportunity to receive relevant skills development to help nonprofit leaders address current and future community challenges. Alongside NPower NY/NJ Executive Director Helen Kogan, New Jersey’s Kendall Givens, who serves as the Professional Development Manager, was chosen as the emerging leader to participate in the leadership training. 

Since 2004, through its Neighborhood Builders and Neighborhood Champions programs Bank of America has invested more than $285 million in 92 communities across the U.S., partnered with more than 1,400 nonprofits, and helped more than 2,800 nonprofit leaders strengthen their leadership skills. View full press release here.

Employee Spotlight

Meet Kendall Givens

Kendall Givens who completed the immersive leadership training this spring shared a few impact reflections from her experience:

Tell us about yourself and your role at NPower.

My name is Kendall L. Givens, and I am the Professional Development Manager in New Jersey. I have been with NPower for 5 years and held 3 different roles within the employment and job placement team. Currently, I support NPower trainees by providing soft skills trainings and helping them prepare for their transition from the NPower program to their first position starting their technology career. I also provide career coaching and matching to current students and alumni. In this role, I also oversee the professional development calendar and coordinate corporate volunteers that serve as class guest speakers.

Outside of NPower, I enjoy giving back to the community and I am an active volunteer with the Urban League Young Professionals. My faith is extremely important to me and has guided me through so much. It is the reason I remain motivated and dedicated to supporting my peers and trainees. I also love to travel and dance!

You helped many NPower graduates launch their technology careers. What is a particularly compelling story that still resonates with you?

There are so many stories that have touched my heart, but I think the ones that resonate with me the most are the ones where it is has not been an easy or straight shot to success.

There is one alumnus that stands out in my mind. He was technical and professional and had such an amazing personality - always so gracious and helpful. After securing and completing an internship with the City of Jersey City, he had unsuccessfully pursued several apprenticeship programs. The close of an opportunity was a challenge to remaining confident in his skills. While he was on his search for tech employment, he continued his job as a waiter. After a few months of pausing his search, he reconnected with us. Our team continued to encourage him that the right position was waiting for him and supported him in prepping for and setting up interviews. A few rounds of interviews later, he secured a high-quality apprenticeship.

Kendall with NPower New Jersey Graduates

His story resonates with me because most peoples’ journeys will not be a straight line to success. It can be taxing, and you may even give up for a while, but if you pick yourself up and allow someone to help you during those vulnerable times and continue to put in the work you will succeed.

This story exemplifies the resilience and determination our students bring to the program and take with them into their careers.

What were some of your key takeaways from Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders emerging leader training that you participated in?

1. Know who you are.
2. Gain an in-depth understanding of how financials work within the nonprofit space.
3. Understand and recognize the importance of human capital.
4. Realize there will be challenges that come with being a leader of color and learn how to get support navigating these spaces.

How do you anticipate applying these takeaways to the daily activities of your role at NPower?

The first takeaway – know who you are - has helped me tremendously. It constantly allows me to re-evaluate my why and has helped me re-engage in spaces where I had tapped out mentally.

This fall, Bank of America will be hosting leaders and emerging leaders from non-profits who were recipients of the Neighborhood Builders for an in-person, national leadership event in Charlotte, NC. What are you most looking forward to?

I am looking forward to meeting new people in person and learning together with my peers and future leaders who have been able to lead from their current levels in their careers.

The Mentoring Effect

NPowerMATCH Mentor Spotlight Meet Ebony Gladney—NPower graduate and IT Help

Mentoring Matters

I decided to pay it forward by mentoring because people benefit from the help of others. Many mentors have helped me find a path and by offering my own experience and listening to the experiences of a mentee, I can help them find one too.
—Graham from NPower New Jersey

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