Is my organization eligible to apply for a team?
If your organization is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves the Louisville metro area (including Southern Indiana), you are eligible to apply. Some government (state and local) agencies, programs, and educational institutions may also be eligible. Business leagues and chambers of commerce with a 501(c)6 status are also eligible. Nonprofits that have applied for a 501(c)3 status but have not yet received it are not eligible.
There are some restrictions for returning applicants:
- Organizations that have had an Ignite Louisville team in the past cannot apply for another Ignite Louisville team for five years.
- Organizations must wait one year after having an Encore Louisville team before applying for an Ignite Louisville team.
What is the Ignite Louisville Program and how can it help?
The Leadership Louisville Center’s Ignite Louisville program provides emerging leaders with the skills, confidence, problem-solving abilities and connections essential to professional success. A major component of this is the Yum! IGNITES Louisville Challenge, where groups of 7-8 young professionals are put into teams to partner with a nonprofit agency. Teams combine the principles learned in Ignite Louisville with their own expertise in order to implement solutions for their partner agencies. At the end of the Ignite Louisville program, the teams are judged by a panel of community leaders, and the winning team receives a $1,500 donation for their partner agency (provided by the Yum! Brands Foundation, the sponsor of the Challenge).
The program offers the nonprofit community a chance to get a group of outside thinkers involved in moving something forward that wouldn’t be possible without their help. Ignite Louisville participants are typically 25-40 years old and either early or mid-level in their careers. Ignite Louisville participants will help determine an action plan to address the issues in the proposal and begin working to implement the plan. You can expect the team to invest significant amounts of time over a 5-6 month time period to this project.
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What is my organization’s role in the partnership?
Having a team working for you is only successful if the team is supported by your agency, starting with the Executive Director/President/CEO and Board of Directors. A letter from the Chairman of the Board of your organization must be submitted with your proposal to express that the proposed project has the support of the Board of Directors of your organization.
Someone must be available as an ongoing liaison between the agency and the team. The Liaison must act as an active, collaborative partner and give the team access to the decision-makers in the organization.
Teams that have the most success are teams that have the best communication with their agency. This will require time and energy on the part of the agency to attend meetings, return emails, take phone calls, and make decisions in a prompt manner. If the team is not given direction and feedback from their partner, they will have difficulty moving forward and achieving success.
During the project time period, you will also be contacted by the Leadership Louisville Center staff for status updates and feedback. Evaluations at the end of the project will also be required from all parties.
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How are proposals selected?
A panel of Ignite Louisville graduates will read all submissions and choose ten finalists to invite to the opening retreat. If your proposal is selected as a finalist for the Yum! IGNITES Louisville Challenge, a representative (or representatives) from your agency must be available to present information on the proposal at the Ignite Louisville Opening Retreat, which will be in Henryville, Indiana. Details of time and place will be provided to you, but you should expect to spend two hours at the retreat (plus travel time). It is suggested that your Executive Director/CEO/President attend this event if possible. There are six teams in each Ignite Louisville class, and they will submit their ranked choices to the Leadership Louisville Center staff, who will match teams to proposals. You’ll be notified whether your organization has been chosen by one of the teams shortly after, and if you are chosen, there will be a MANDATORY meeting of all agency liaisons at the Leadership Louisville Center. You can expect to begin working with your team within 2-3 weeks.
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What can an Ignite Louisville team do for my organization?
An Ignite Louisville team of high-potential young professionals will work closely with your organization for a 7 month project based on your submitted proposal. You may submit a proposal detailing a problem, challenge or opportunity your organization faces and how you believe an Ignite team could assist your work, impact your organization and lead to sustainability. Working hand in hand with the staff of your organization, the team will develop a plan to address the issues or opportunities in the proposal and begin implementation of this plan. Their project work will be extensive and include implementation of solutions. The team will bring a valuable outside perspective to your organization, they will have diverse backgrounds and diverse skills, and the average age of participants is between 25-40 years. Many participants stay connected with their partnered non-profit, becoming board members etc.
Two programs run each year – April through October (March submission deadline) and October through April (September submission deadline). You can expect to meet your team in the second month of the program. Additionally, the 6 teams are competing against each other to produce the best work. On the program graduation day (October or April), each team must present their results to a panel of judges. Teams are judged on sustainability and on achieving quantifiable results by the end of their program.
How are the service projects for Ignite Louisville and Encore Louisville different?
To download a PDF detailing the differences between these two opportunities for nonprofits, click here
Are there guidelines for project proposals?
When designing your project proposals, consider these things:
- The project must be realistic in scope and be able to be completed in the given 6-7 month time frame.
- The project should produce sustainable results, allowing your organization to better serve the community, and be strategic, structural, operational, or organizational in nature.
- The nonprofit agency must be open to new and innovative ideas that the team will provide.
- The nonprofit agency must have the capacity to communicate with the team regularly, meet with the team regularly, and work with them to make decisions quickly regarding the direction of their project.
- Make sure your submission is clearly written so the teams can understand exactly what you are asking.
I want to submit a proposal. What are the next steps?
All proposals must be submitted via online form.
There are three submission periods each year – Jan/Feb, April/May and July/August.