INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to purpose-driven organizations and passionate business leaders and entrepreneurs who are making an impact in their communities and industries.


Megan Devenport is the Executive Director of Building Bridges. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter and learn more at www.buildingbridgesshift.org.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

At Building Bridges we believe that creating a more just and inclusive world begins with individuals. We bring young people together across different identities, and equip them with communication tools to build relationships to transform those divides. Young people emerge with hope, energy, and the skills they need to build communities free from hatred, discrimination, and violence.

 

WHY DO YOU DO IT?

We envision a more just and inclusive world, where engaged global citizens are fueled by the desire and the skills to come to deeply understand different perspectives, rather than to simply perpetuate their own.

 

WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?

Since we started in 1994, we have had more than 2,000 people participate in our programs. Our evaluation indicates positive changes for all metrics captured. Specifically, based on a one-year time frame, 100% of Transform Youth Leadership Program participants show increased self-efficacy and belief in their own power to make positive change. In our most recent longitudinal study of alumni, we found that 90% report current involvement with efforts to improve their community a decade after their participation in our programs. For example, alumni are involved in community organizing, social justice education, international relations, nonprofit leadership, and many other areas.

 

WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?

We are continuously inspired by the young people we work with, by our incredible network of alumni, and by the community leaders who volunteer, facilitate, and inform our work.

 

WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?

We would love to expand our impact to reach more people, by training other adults in our facilitation model. In this way, we hope to embed Building Bridges’ skills and frameworks in lots of different industries. We believe that the ability to have challenging conversations, transform conflict, and build authentic relationships is a valuable skill in pretty much any setting.

 

WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE?

Our biggest challenge currently is getting the word out to potential participants. Our Transform Youth Leadership Program is covered entirely by scholarship for all selected participants, and kicks off this summer with a two-week camp experience in Red Feather Lakes. We still have a dozen slots open.

 

WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS WHO ARE LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?

Use every opportunity to reach out beyond your specific sector, discipline, or community. The answers to our world’s toughest challenges are found in the spaces between. By reaching across divides and collaborating for increased impact, we have the power to make a difference.

 

HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?

We are currently prioritizing three ways others can support our work: connect us with corporations that may be interested in sponsoring our pilot adult training program, nominate yourself or a colleague to join our incredible board of directors, and become a member of our monthly giving campaign by committing just $20/mo for the next year.

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