Five years ago, Derrick Young, Jr. embarked on a mission to address the lack of diversity in advanced education, particularly in fields like law, medicine, and STEM. Despite facing challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and shifts in corporate support, the nonprofit he founded, Leadership Brainery, has emerged as a beacon of hope for underrepresented communities seeking access to higher education. Co-hosts Julia Patrick and Mitch Stein welcome back Derrick for an insightful discussion on the organization’s journey and impact.

Young’s personal experiences as one of the few men of color in his graduate programs fueled his passion to create change. He emphasizes, “Leadership Brainery increases access to masters and doctoral degrees so that underrepresented communities can establish wealth for themselves and prosperity for their families, but then reinvest back in their communities.” This mission is underscored by the organization’s commitment to fostering diversity at leadership levels, ensuring marginalized voices are heard in decision-making processes.

The conversation dives into the challenges faced by nonprofit leaders like Young, including the need to educate funders about the importance of advanced education and navigating the complexities of HR and finance as a small but growing team. Despite these obstacles, has achieved significant milestones. Through strategic alliances with other nonprofits, they’ve expanded their reach to over 50,000 students, guiding them towards educational opportunities beyond college.

The organization’s adoption of project management tools like Asana has revolutionized their operations, streamlined workflows and enhanced productivity. With a budget of $1.2 million and the support of over 850 individual donors, Leadership Brainery is making tangible strides in creating pathways to success for underrepresented talent.

Thoughout this fast-paced conversation, Young’s optimism and resilience shine through as he reflects on the organization’s achievements and the transformative impact it’s having on individuals and communities.

For those inspired to learn more, Leadership Brainery’s website offers a comprehensive look into their programs and impact, showcasing the power of education to drive meaningful change in society.