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Skills-Based Volunteering

Volunteers from the business community are vital to the success of our young entrepreneurs. They bring real-world experience to classrooms and competitions and help our young people begin to build their own professional networks.

The students who work with volunteers are more engaged and more likely to show significant gains on assessments. NFTE volunteers don’t just donate their time for a good cause — they generously share their know-how through project-focused, skills-based volunteering that has a meaningful impact on the lives of young people.

Our volunteer guest speakers connect with students in the classroom and share insights from their own entrepreneurial journeys.

Business plan coaches work one-on-one with young entrepreneurs to help them hone their ideas and refine their businesses.

Field trip hosts welcome NFTE classes into their own workplaces to demonstrate businesses in action.

Competition judges provide important feedback and encouragement at local, regional, and national competitions.

NFTE Volunteer Hall of Fame

The NFTE Volunteer of the Year Awards program was created to honor the valuable role that volunteers play in the development of NFTE’s young entrepreneurs — and to recognize those whose service has been extraordinary. The Alper Family Foundation recognizes both an Individual Volunteer and a Corporate Volunteer each year for their contributions.

The Individual Volunteer of the Year award recipients are powerful examples of how business leaders can impact the lives of young people. Combining mentorship with a project-based learning model is, as Patty Alper explains in Teach to Work, a potent catalyst for success.

The Corporate Volunteer of the Year Award provides special recognition for NFTE’s corporate partners that both support our mission and rally their people to volunteer. Our corporate volunteers work with NFTE students and teachers, and they help us connect programs to the future of work and inform our understanding of the industry in the next generation.

Individual Volunteer of the Year – National

Gary Polk
2023 Individual Volunteer of the Year

John Antos

President, Value Creation Group

John has been a NFTE staple volunteer for the past 14 years, during which he has
affected countless student and parent lives, as well as helped develop many NFTE
staff in the way of nonprofits and volunteerism. John has always been selfless in his giving of his most precious resource: time. He spends time with others to help make the NFTE difference, as he recognizes the essential need for filling the opportunity gap society has created. John is a fiercely energetic and loyal supporter of all that NFTE does, and we are honored to
recognize him.

2022 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Senthilkumaran Ramaiyan, Associate Director and Program Manager at Moody’s Analytics
2021 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Holly Wallace, Managing Director and Senior Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch
2020 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Gary Polk, Customer Engagement Consultant, Entrepreneurship Prof., California State University Dominguez Hills
2019 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Alex Van Atta, Customer Engagement Consultant, Slalom Consulting
2018 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Stuart Halpert, Chairman Emeritus, First Washington Realty
2017 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Jim Yim, Investor and Entrepreneur, Cofounder of Intracell Life Science
2016 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Randy Haran, Entrepreneur and President, The Business Crusader

Corporate Volunteer of the Year – National

EY Logo
2023 Corporate Volunteer of the Year


Slalom began their NFTE relationship as a supporter and partner in our Midwest
region, and have since supported
hundreds of NFTE students in our Capital, New England, Mid-Atlantic, and West
regions as well. Slalom volunteers have served as coaches, judges, speed networking participants, and more at various NFTE opportunities throughout the school year. Slalom executives coach to empower and encourage NFTE learners in the business ideation and opportunity recognition phase, model and help develop students’ professional communication skills, share their own experiences and discuss career exploration, and work one-on-one to hone students’ business plan presentation skills. We thank and salute Slalom for its financial support of NFTE’s mission and the Slalom volunteers for igniting youth success across the country.

2022 NFTE Corporate Volunteer of the Year: EY
2021 NFTE Corporate Volunteer of the Year: Santander
2020 NFTE Corporate Volunteer of the Year: PayPal
2019 NFTE Corporate Volunteer of the Year: SAP
2018 NFTE Corporate Volunteer of the Year: Citi
2017 NFTE Corporate Volunteer of the Year: Mastercard
2016 NFTE Corporate Volunteer of the Year: EY

Volunteer of the Year Honorees by Region


NFTE Capital Region 

2023: Phil McNeill, Farragut Capital Partners, LLC
2022: Daniel Heimlich, Heimlich Group
2021 (Baltimore): De’Andre Wells, AGX, LLC 
2021 (DC): Adam Tsao, Legal Beta
2020 (Baltimore): Brittani Harris, Pitched & Partnerships
2020 (DC): Fran Hall, EY
2019 (Baltimore): Jasmine Caple,  UPS 
2019 (DC): Phillip McNeill, Farragut Capital Partners
2018 (Baltimore): Darlene Peters,  UPS 
2018 (DC): Delanda Bartens-Perez, EY
2017 (Baltimore): David Cahn,  Whiteford, Taylor, & Preston
2017 (DC): Linda Berdine, G&B Solutions
2016 (Baltimore): Elsie Davis
2016 (DC): Delanda Bartens-Perez, EY


NFTE Mid-Atlantic Region

2023: Barrett Stokes, Webster Bank
2022 (New York): Judy StewartCreative Sense, Inc.
2022 (Philadelphia): Scott SnyderThe Wharton School
2021 (New York): Holly WallaceMerrill Lynch
2021 (Philadelphia): Claudia ZeldinGrowth for Good
2020 (New York): Michelle NgEY
2020 (Philadelphia): Kevin M WolfgangEvergreen Apartment Group
2019 (New York): Toby Baba,  Santander 
2019 (Philadelphia): Armard Bellamy,  Guru
2018 (New York): Ryan Crowe,  Mastercard
2018 (Philadelphia): Bob Zecca,  Nowak Associates, Inc. 
2017 (New York): Stephen Regan,  DealStat REI, Inc 
2017 (Philadelphia): Kevin M Wolfgang,  Evergreen Apartment Group 
2016 (New York): Kristina Beilinson,  Warby Parker 
2016 (Philadelphia): Sally Solis-Cohen,  BI Worldwide

NFTE Midwest Region

2023: Mike Jortberg, Slalom
2022 (Chicago): Venu Raghavan, Wasson Enterprise
2022 (St. Louis): Maxine ClarkThe Delmar DivINe™
2021 (Chicago): Jacques Duke, Inspire11
2021 (St. Louis): Arriel BiggsYoung Biz Kidz
2020 (Chicago): Mike Carpenter, Adjust Creative
2020 (St. Louis): Susan SalzmanBrand2Creative
2019 (Chicago): Alexander Van Atta,  Slalom Consulting 
2019 (St. Louis): Jason Schupp,  Ferguson Roofing
2018 (Chicago): Rudy Gonzales,  CIBC
2018 (St. Louis): Jesse Sanders,  Clayco
2017 (Chicago): Lisa O’Keefe,  Pritzker Venture Capital 
2017 (St. Louis): Laura Gardner,  St Louis University 
2016 (Chicago): Ryan Douglas,  LinkedIn
2016 (St. Louis): Nikki Zvradinos,  Mastercard 

NFTE New England Region

2023: Maggie McDonough, Santander Bank
2022: Alena Sison, Hasbro, Inc.
2021: Karen Yim, Netscout
2020: Drew Smith, HOPR Ventures
2019: Jack McCarthy,  Babson College 
2018: Christina Divigard & Bob Demetrius,  Valvespring
2017: Jim Yim,  Intracell Life Science
2016: Ann Daley,  Pitney Bowes

NFTE South Region

2023: John Antos, Value Creation Group
2022: Adrienne Palmer, Entepreneurs’ Organization
2021: Roderica Jewell and Vintrice Goss, Consultants
2020: Murray Covens, North Texas Nonprofit Resources
2019: Adrienne Palmer,  Entepreneurs’ Organization 
2018: Florence Williams,  EY 
2017: Cheri Garcia,  Cornbread Hustle 
2016: Randy Haran,  The Business Crusader 

NFTE Southeast Region 

2023: Ritu SethiWSFS Bank
2022: Senthilkumaran Ramaiyan, Moody’s Analytics
2021: Ann Marie Sorrell, The Mosaic Group
2020: Josephine Cheda, Microsoft Azure
2019: Patrick Corbett,  Mind Stimuli Labs, Co.
2018: Stuart Halpert,  First Washington Realty
2017: Miri Rodriguez,  Microsoft 
2016: Andrea Mayorca,  Klerigi Group 

NFTE West Region

2023: Jessie Dumont, Bank of America
2022 (Bay Area): Amar AujlaSalesforce
2022 (LA): Leo GestetnerHeath Capital
2021 (Bay Area): Pol PlumerUniversity of San Francisco
2021 (LA): Ricci RukavinaKung Fu Factory
2020 (Bay Area): Roxanne DeblauweJOBSURV
2020 (LA): Gary PolkCalifornia State University, Dominguez Hills
2019 (Bay Area): Manny Cervantes,  Univision 
2019 (LA): Nick Hare & Heather WetzlerCueCareer
2018 (Bay Area): Rachel Claudio,  PayPal 
2018 (LA): Leo Gestetner,  Heath Capital 
2017 (Bay Area): Dean Sivara,  SAP 
2017 (LA): Elliot Schwartz,  EmptyLegMarket
2016 (LA): Stephen Le Vine,  Grapevine PR & Consulting 


NFTE Alumni & Postsecondary Programs

2023: Kristoffer Kizer, Iron Key Capital