YNPN St. Louis has a diverse membership supported by many disciplines of the nonprofit sector. Our members come from over 70 nonprofits in St. Louis and six universities. We would like to highlight one of our great members, Nate Marschalk, the Executive Director at The Disruption Department.
What is your favorite place in St. Louis and why? The City Museum, where my wife and I got married last November. Simply put - it is incredibly unique and just cool as hell. There is nothing else like it in the country. My wife recently founded KIPP: Triumph Middle School in the West End. After attending KIPP events, particularly the KIPP School Summit two years ago in Vegas, I saw the profound impact an excellent education has future outcomes of kids, and the savage inequalities systemically ingrained in the education system in St. Louis and beyond. I looked myself in the mirror one day, and thought, "Why am I building something that makes attorneys lives easier, when I could be out making a real difference with kids in our community?" So I did. In second place, though, is our home in Shaw. We are so fortunate to be withing walking distance of Tower Grove Park, the Botanical Gardens, and the rapidly growing small businesses in our neighborhood. Ten years ago I wouldn't have dreamed that a city neighborhood would have such a close knit, inclusive, and friendly group of neighbors with such a deep sense of pride in our community.
How did you get involved in YNPN? Emma Klues, a good friend and Shaw neighbor of mine suggested I apply to speak at Blog Out Loud. I started the application, a few times actually, but never finished! Fortunately, I suggested that a good friend of mine, Greg Davenport, apply to speak, which he did, and was selected. My first experience with YNPN was Blog Out Loud, and I really enjoyed it. Therefore, when Emma mentioned to me that I should apply to be on the YNPN Board, I jumped at the opportunity.
Why have you focused your career on the nonprofit sector? I realized I would not be satisfied until I did something that had a serious social impact in the areas that were important to me. I don't work for money, I work for our region's kids.
What advice would you give to young professionals considering a nonprofit job?Start with your passion. Where do you want to have an impact? Then look at your skillset and experience. Meet people working in that area. Talk to them. Learn about what they do. Finally, if you don't love what you do, start looking for one that you would. Don't be afraid to make the leap from the corporate world to nonprofits. You won't regret it. Our biggest strength as an economically vibrant and growing community is the openness of people to sit down for coffee and chat. Have you ever tried to reach out to people for a coffee meeting or site visit in somewhere like the Bay Area? I have, and out of the few responses I received, only one designer I reached out made time to invite me to their office for a brief chat about their work, and answer some questions I had (and the two Designers that responded and invited me for a visit were from the Midwest!)
If you could pick the last meal you ate what would it be? Egg Raviolo from Acero, House Brats from LeGrand's, Hot Salami on Garlic Cheese Bread from Gioia's, Durkees Trashed Wings from Patrick McKeane's, Various Flavors of Fruit Roll Ups from Literally Any Grocery Store, Extra Cheese Pizza with Bolognese Sauce Instead of Pizza Sauce from Anthonino's, Salted Caramel Croissant from Pint Size Bakery, Gooey Butter Danish from Federhofer's Bakery, Jonathan's Fiery Scramble at Southwest Diner, Buffalo Chicken Sandwich from Seamus McDaniels, Sesame Pancake from Prosperity Dumpling in China Town, Manhattan, Ceviche and Grilled Octupus from Las Panchas on Holbox Island in Mexico, Salted Caramel Panna Cotta from Acero, Butternut Cake Donut from World's Fair, Vanilla Coffee Underbrown from Heavy Riff Brewing, and Glenmorangie 18 Year Single Malt Scotch with one ice cube. #YelpElite
What do you hope to accomplish that you haven't yet? Student outcomes should not be dependent on their zip code. Currently it is, and I find that to be abhorrent. All students deserve the opportunity to have a bright future, in a career that makes them happy. All students deserve an excellent education. We'll start with St. Louis, and go from there. My philosophy on this type of work first put empathy at the center of whatever you are trying to do. If you do not understand those you are trying to help, how could you possibly know their needs? From there, keeping empathy and inclusion of the population you seek to serve at the center of your mission, work with the population to develop and implement programs. This certainly isn't an easy task to accomplish, and I don't envision accomplishing the change that must occur anytime soon. Therefore, one must continually reflect, continually assess what you are doing, and why. If at the end of the day, when you are falling asleep, if you know that you did your best to further your personal and professional mission, I think that is a notable enough accomplishment to keep moving forward.
What has been your favorite YNPN STL event? Why? Blog Out Loud 2014! It was my first YNPN Event, and the reason I decided to join the Board.
Any special talents or secret skills? Does Swag count? How about coming up with really clever names for Ultimate Frisbee Teams? Ok - Seriously though. The thing I think that I am best at is coming up with couples costumes for my wife and I to wear on Halloween. For example, I came up with the idea that I would dress as a member of the Geek Squad/Generic Nerdy IT Guy, and she would dress up as a wireless router. She would be "my wifi." Get it?!?! Like my "wife-I." Of note, I am pretty sure that I am the only one who thinks my ideas are good, given that my wife and I have never dressed up in a couples costume for Halloween due to her adamant refusal to do so. Someday though!
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