What the heck is the American Express NGen Leadership Award?

What the heck is the American Express NGen Leadership Award?

// By Jacqueline Brennan

/ By Debra Rainey /

Our community of changemakers is chock-full of emerging leaders doing amazing work in neighborhoods across the country. So imagine how difficult it is to identify and recognize one accomplished changemaker whose work makes them a leader among outstanding next-generation leaders?

Take our word for it, it’s really tough. But, each year, the Independent Sector community awards the American Express NGen Leadership Award to a changemaker age 40 or under who has demonstrated transformative impact and collaborative leadership in addressing a critical societal need.

Since 2010,  this prestigious award has been presented to eight outstanding NGen changemakers whose exceptional work includes:

  • education and advocacy on behalf of Indigenous Peoples;
  • fostering and supporting leadership development of young Ugandan and American health advocates;
  • advancing policy work that empowers American Indian and Alaska Native communities;
  • serving as a leading voice in the immigrant movement and heading the largest immigrant youth-led network in the U.S.;
  • developing and overseeing all educational and community activities for the historic New York concert hall;
  • directing the philanthropic efforts of an organization that works to improve economic mobility for impoverished U.S. children and families;
  • serving as a thought leader, social innovator, and leading voice in domestic workers’ rights and family care advocacy; and
  • stimulating a movement for a child’s right to play, including raising more than $200 million, rallying more than one million volunteers, and leading the hands-on construction of over 2,000 playgrounds.

This year, an outstanding Selection Advisory Group of experts from across the social good space reviewed 70 applicants who represent this year’s crop of incredibly talented emerging leaders. From that 70, six finalists will be our guests in November at Upswell, where we’ll announce the winner at a high-energy Awards Dinner. You won’t want to miss it!

Debra Rainey is manager of communications at Independent Sector.

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