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Jamie Klobuchar quoted in Crain’s Chicago Business

Youthful energy fuels nonprofits’ junior boards

Well-managed affiliate, associate and young professionals’ boards bring fresh donors and new ideas to organizations.

by Lisa Bertagnoli

After volunteering or doing a 5K run or walk for a charity, young people with a thing for philanthropy often hop onto a junior board. Most of the Chicago area’s cancer charities have junior boards, be they called associate, affiliate or young professionals boards. Whatever the name, “junior boards can be the future of the organization,” says Jamie Klobuchar, senior consultant at Giving Tree Associates, a Chicago-based consultant to nonprofits. Thrilled about what often is their first meaningful volunteer experience, junior board members bring fresh ideas and new donors to organizations, and can be a pipeline to service on the organization’s main board.

They do, however, require some work. “If clients say, ‘We have this junior board and it does nothing,’ my question is, ‘What are you doing for them?’ ” Klobuchar says. Junior board members “need an onboarding process, they need to know what the mission is. That requires time and training.”

Here, details on five young people’s boards at area cancer nonprofits.

American Cancer Society Associate Board of Ambassadors
Founded: 2007
Members: 135
Age range: 21 to 40
Financial commitment: $1,000 a year
Signature event: Skyline Soiree, a fall event that netted $260,000 last year; funds support patient services and cancer research.
Big goal: March to 1 Million, to raise $1 million annually by 2023. The group raises about $280,000 a year.


Imerman Angels’ Professionals Board members run the annual Chicago Marathon to help raise $330,000 for the organization.

Imerman Angels Professionals Board
Founded: 2011
Members: 40
Age range: 24 to 47
Financial commitment: $700 a year
Signature event: Team Imerman Angels’ Chicago Marathon runners, whose fundraising goal is $330,000; a Brunch Run/5K walk in June, and an early spring Blue & White cocktail party.

Susan G. Komen Chicago Associate Board
Founded: 2017
Members: 5
Age range: 25 to 45
Financial commitment: $1,000 a year
Signature event: Dare to Pink fundraiser; Dare to Be Aware education series.

Culinary Care Associate Board
Founded: 2018
Members: 20
Age range: 27 to 40
Financial commitment: $120 in annual dues
Signature event: To be determined; the board is helping develop the organization’s monthly giving program.

Leukemia Research Foundation Affiliate Board
Founded: 2018
Members: 24
Age range: 24 to 32
Financial commitment: None
Signature event: Punching Out Blood Cancers, a casual fall fundraiser launched last year. The inaugural event raised $4,000.