How to Make a Difference While Networking!

A great way to get involved that you may not have considered is joining a nonprofit board.

As a young professional, volunteering is a great way to connect and collaborate with others while also making a difference.

Growing friendships is easiest when you have a shared passion or interest. For instance, Bear Necessities Young Professional's Board, is a group of young professionals passionate about helping those with cancer. Personally, as someone who saw my sister struggle her way through cancer at 17, I connect with this mission.

Serving others also helps keep us humble and hone our emotional intelligence. How many times have you taken the ability to walk for granted? I bet you’ll be a little more thankful after serving someone who is confined to a hospital bed.

Volunteer boards require time and energy. Depending on what organization you get involved in, you may be asked to step out of your comfort zone or try something brand new. If you are willing to put in the effort, the benefits will often far outweigh the work.

The first step is identifying what kind of an organization best fits you. Would you like to be involved with a charity dealing with homelessness, healthcare, arts, education, disability rights, or environment affairs? The choices are numerous. Which is why we compiled a list of young professional associate boards below. Please take a look below and consider spending your free time helping with a worthy cause!

Volunteer Organizations

Volunteering Untapped Chicago - strives to “untap” resources and opportunities in Chicago for those we serve. There’s a huge group of talented young professionals in the city who want to volunteer. We connect those volunteers with a wide array of nonprofits in the Chicagoland area

Rotaract Club of Chicago - is an international organization of young professionals and students ages 18 to 30 that are committed to service and leadership in their communities and abroad.

Junior League of Chicago- is a group of young women who are committed to industrial and social issues of Chicago and researching ways to effectively address those issues, bring about positive change, and set an example for others about the importance of civic welfare.

Union League Girls and Boys Club Associate Board - is composed of emerging leaders striving for involvement and leadership in the Chicago community.

Young Associate Boards

American Liver Foundation Young Associate Board - is a group of young professionals who are determined to educate young professionals about liver health, create funds for patient services and research on liver disease, and improve the lives of individuals and their families affected by liver disease.

Chicago Community Trust Young Leaders Fund - provides young professionals with an innovative way to make a difference. YLF empowers its donors to manage the grant making process. With support from the Trust, they research innovative grassroots organizations, conduct site visits, interview staff and evaluate grant requests.

Red Shoe Foundation - is all about – giving time, inspiration, creativity, and funds to help families with hospitalized children at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana get better together.

Steppenwolf's Young Professional Group - is a group of young professionals that work to inspire Chicago teens to become lifelong theatre lovers.

Chicago Children's Advocacy Center - mission is to support ChicagoCAC within the young professional community by securing monetary and in-kind contributions, facilitating relationships, increasing awareness, and providing counsel.

Overture Council of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association - provides a community for Chicago-area young professionals aged 21-45 who share a love of music and a desire to learn more about how to support the CSO.

Friends of the Chicago River - are amazing friends who volunteer to improve and protect the Chicago River system in many different ways.