IS Recognizes Leadership, Innovation

LOS ANGELES — Independent Sector (IS) announced winners of the 2018 American Express NGen Leadership Award and the Innovate for Good Challenge last night during an awards ceremony at its Upswell conference here.

Presented annually since 2010, the American Express NGen Leadership Award recognizes one emerging changemaker 40 or younger who has demonstrated transformative social impact through collaborative leadership. The award went to Stacy Stout, assistant to the city manager of Grand Rapids, Mich.

Stout also co-founded and served as a leadership team member of the Latina Network of West Michigan, which focuses on resisting tokenism, elevating local Latina leadership, and shaping a narrative that honors Latinas’ power, importance, and diversity.  Additionally, she has served as program manager at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, dean of student accountability at Burton Middle School in Grand Rapids, and education director of the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan.

“Stacy has an impressive background of advocacy and working to ensure that all voices are represented as community-based solutions are considered in Grand Rapids,” said Timothy McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation and an IS board member.

Stout was among 70 outstanding emerging changemakers who applied for award consideration. They were narrowed to six finalists by Independent Sector’s Selection Advisory Group, comprised of 10 leaders from across the nonprofit and philanthropic community who committed a significant amount of time to carefully review and consider applicants, including their changework and its community impact.

The Innovate for Good Challenge is a new initiative supported by IS and lead sponsor Accenture. It is intended to promote and heighten awareness of organizations that are catalyzing social change through new information technology, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and/or extended reality. The challenge is part of Independent Sector’s Tech for Common Good, a cross-sector collaborative.

First-place winner Connect Our Kids in Falls Church, Va., developed an intelligent software platform that enables social workers and family recruiters to speed and scale child foster placement based on data-based decisions. The tool replaces paper-based systems, enabling social workers and family recruiters to more quickly connect children in the foster care system with permanent, supportive families. As the winner, they received a $20,000 cash prize and professional services from Accenture to help support their work.

Second-place winner YWCA Silicon Valley in San Jose, Calif., works to engage and increase the number of young women and underrepresented minorities in computer science and STEM in Silicon Valley. It uses artificial intelligence to allow real-time student engagement feedback. Their award was a $5,000 prize.

Raheem AI, the third-place winner, is building the nation’s first community-based mapping system to collect information regarding police conduct. Reviewers submit stories about their interactions with police – good or bad – to help citizens measure police performance and advance policies that end police violence and support transparency and accountability. Sponsored by My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, Raheem a.i. received a $1,000 prize.