LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The 21st class of Leadership Louisville Center’s Ignite Louisville program graduated on April 10 following a day of presentations to a panel of esteemed judges. The six teams put their work for local nonprofits on display in hopes of winning the Ignite Louisville Challenge and earning additional funds for the agency they worked to assist. The team working with Louisville Youth Group was selected as the winner of the challenge and will receive the $1,500 prize made possible by the Leadership Louisville Center. While one team was selected as the winner, all six nonprofit agencies received significant support, with the six teams contributing over 2,500 hours of service and providing over $350,000 in value to the nonprofit agencies.
Presented by Norton Healthcare, Ignite Louisville is a six-month program that grows young professionals by developing the key components of leadership. The program has graduated over 950 up-and-coming leaders and offers two classes each year, preparing next-generation talent for expanded roles in their organizations and in the community. The Ignite Louisville Challenge is an opportunity for teams from the Leadership Louisville Center’s Ignite Louisville program to undertake a project for a local nonprofit, gaining experience in community leadership, board involvement and teamwork. Since the first class graduated in 2005, Ignite Louisville participants have worked on over 125 projects for area nonprofits to plan, execute and sustain new strategies for success. Participating nonprofits benefit from the expertise and energy of the teams, which each invest hundreds of hours with their nonprofit agency as they compete for donations.
Making up the Louisville Youth Group team are Andre Barrie, Farm Credit Mid-America; Nina Cassity, Louisville Metro Revenue Commission; Nick Kues, Humana Inc.; Lisa London, University of Louisville; Jennifer Metro, Norton Healthcare Foundation; Brett Rosenblum, Kentucky Democratic Party; and Annie Smith, Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College.
The collaboration with the Louisville Youth Group (LYG), an organization that provides programming for LGBTQIA+ youth, was focused on increasing brand awareness across three key constituencies: LGBTQIA+ youth and their parents, the business community, and civic leaders. The brand awareness campaign centered on a revamp of the current LYG space and a related open house event. The team leveraged this plan as an opportunity to engage community and business partners, introduce them to LYG, and request donations for the revamp, thus growing awareness in the business community, and establishing connections for future involvement. In all, 48 businesses contributed to the project, resulting in a complete overhaul of the 2200+ sq. ft. space. The open house and reveal of the newly-improved space was widely attended by the community, and included speeches by Mayor Greg Fischer, Councilwoman Barbara Sexton-Smith, and was covered by four media outlets. The media coverage reached over 5 million people. The team also provided brand awareness support with a new logo for the Louisville Youth Group, which better represented their organization, and through the procurement of a Google Ad Grant. The Google Ad Grant provides $10,000 per month in paid search advertisements that will continue in perpetuity – allowing LYG to maintain their awareness long after the Ignite Challenge is over. Over 500 hours were dedicated to the project, with a value of over $80,000 delivered to the organization.
“Our Ignite Louisville team from Leadership Louisville Center is outstanding,” said Jason Peno, executive director from the Louisville Youth Group. “They are a group of exceptional individuals with a broad set of skills, and a deep passion and commitment to their community. Their zeal for Louisville Youth Group is undeniable, and we will truly miss them when their time is finished. The work of the team has transformed our space into a home for our youth, solidified foundational policies, and drastically increased our visibility and reputation in the community. They have helped LYG achieve steps that could have taken years to complete if not for their presence, dedication, and enthusiasm. We hope they know that they will always be part of our family.”