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
2020 Individual Volunteer of the Year

Gary L. Polk, Sr.

Customer Engagement Consultant, Entrepreneurship Prof., California State University Dominguez Hills

For the past 3 years, Gary has volunteered as a guest speaker, business coach, and business judge in for NFTE LA Metro. He coordinates NFTE’s involvement in the annual Transform LA (TLA) at California State University Dominguez Hills, which hosts over 100 NFTE and non-NFTE students from local high school and business volunteers from the CSUDH Innovation Incubator. Always ready with a smile, words of wisdom, and readiness to jump in, Gary has gone above and beyond to welcome and recruit NFTE students, connect the NFTE program to more schools and teachers, and get University support behind NFTE and TLA.

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

Paypal logo
2020 Corporate Volunteer of the Year

PayPal

Over the last several years, more than 400 PayPal team members have committed over 1800 hours as coaches and advisors to NFTE young entrepreneurs. Paypal has contributed to Judging countless NFTE business plan competitions and hosting student field trips to PayPal offices, allowing students to network and learn about careers, work on their business pitches, and so much more. Learn more at paypal.com

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 Baltimore Metro 

2020 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Brittani Harris, Pitched & Partnerships
2019 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Jasmine Caple,  UPS 
2018 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Darlene Peters,  UPS 
2017 Individual Volunteer of the Year: David Cahn,  Whiteford, Taylor, & Preston
2016 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Elsie Davis

 

NFTE Bay Area 

2020 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Roxanne Deblauwe, JOBSURV
2019 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Manny Cervantes,  Univision 
2018 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Rachel Claudio,  PayPal 
2017 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Dean Sivara,  SAP 

 

NFTE Chicago Metro 

2020 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Mike Carpenter, Adjust Creative
2019 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Alexander Van Atta,  Slalom Consulting 
2018 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Rudy Gonzales,  CIBC
2017 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Lisa O’Keefe,  Pritzker Venture Capital 
2016 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Ryan Douglas,  LinkedIn

 

NFTE DC Metro

2020 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Fran Hall, EY
2019 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Phillip McNeill, Farragut Capital Partners
2018 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Delanda Bartens-Perez, EY
2017 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Linda Berdine, G&B Solutions
2016 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Delanda Bartens-Perez, EY

 

NFTE Los Angeles Metro

2020 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Gary Polk, California State University, Dominguez Hills
2019 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Nick Hare & Heather Wetzler,  CueCareer
2018 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Leo Gestetner,  Heath Capital 
2017 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Elliot Schwartz,  EmptyLegMarket
2016 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Stephen Le Vine,  Grapevine PR & Consulting 

 

NFTE New England 

2020 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Drew Smith, HOPR Ventures
2019 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Jack McCarthy,  Babson College 
2018 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Christina Divigard & Bob Demetrius,  Valvespring
2017 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Jim Yim,  Intracell Life Science
2016 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Ann Daley,  Pitney Bowes

 

NFTE New York Metro 

2020 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Michelle Ng, EY
2019 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Toby Baba,  Santander 
2018 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Ryan Crowe,  Mastercard
2017 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Stephen Regan,  DealStat REI, Inc 
2016 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Kristina Beilinson,  Warby Parker 

 

NFTE North Texas

2020 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Murray Covens, North Texas Nonprofit Resources
2019 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Adrienne Palmer,  Entepreneurs’ Organization 
2018 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Florence Williams,  EY 
2017 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Cheri Garcia,  Cornbread Hustle 
2016 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Randy Haran,  The Business Crusader 

 

NFTE Philadelphia Metro 

2020 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Kevin M Wolfgang, Evergreen Apartment Group
2019 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Armard Bellamy,  Guru
2018 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Bob Zecca,  Nowak Associates, Inc. 
2017 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Kevin M Wolfgang,  Evergreen Apartment Group 
2016 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Sally Solis-Cohen,  BI Worldwide

 

NFTE St. Louis Metro 

2020 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Susan Salzman, Brand2Creative
2019 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Jason Schupp,  Ferguson Roofing
2018 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Jesse Sanders,  Clayco
2017 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Laura Gardner,  St Louis University 
2016 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Nikki Zvradinos,  Mastercard 

 

NFTE Southeast 

2020 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Josephine Cheda, Microsoft Azure
2019 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Patrick Corbett,  Mind Stimuli Labs, Co.
2018 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Stuart Halpert,  First Washington Realty
2017 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Miri Rodriguez,  Microsoft 
2016 Individual Volunteer of the Year: Andrea Mayorca,  Klerigi Group