Emerging Leaders: ‘Taking the Lead to Give Back’

Editor’s note: In closing the book on 2023, we asked readers to nominate emerging leaders in conjunction with our story about initiatives underway in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys to cultivate leadership.

Sara McCauley, Deb Groover, Julia Simon, Francesca Baldarelli and Leah Sizer, Social Venture Community of Shenango Valley

Five women – Sara McCauley, Deb Groover, Julia Simon, Francesca Baldarelli and Leah Sizer – formed the Social Venture Community of Shenango Valley to introduce young leaders in their community to philanthropy.

“These women are natural leaders who wish to make a big impact on the Shenango Valley and inspire other young people to give back to their communities,” says Amy Atkinson, director of planned giving at the Community Foundation of Western PA and Eastern OH, who nominated the women. “This start-up initiative couldn’t have gone any better. The young women started this fund at the Shenango Valley Foundation and each contributed individually to the fund.”

The women visited five nonprofits throughout the spring and summer to learn their funding sources, programs and needs. “The group is currently accepting applications for next year’s cohort,” says Atkinson.

Lorie Hines, executive director at the Hope Center for Arts and Technology, also nominated the women as emerging leaders.

“They are the inaugural group of young philanthropists that have created a group that will teach their peers how to take on good board stewardship, actively engage in community life and develop philanthropists. They are connectors who are resolute in making sure that what they say they will do, they do in helping a variety of community service organization,” Hines says.

“They have spent a year developing a program and in that time have supported many nonprofits along the way. They are now replicating and training other professionals to take an active role in community stewardship.”

Pictured, from left: Deb Groover, Leah Sizer, Francesca Baldarelli, Julia Simon and Sara McCauley.