Emerging Leaders group aims to grow membership

Re-posted from The Herald

August 12, 2014

Herald Staff Writer

Dubois County Emerging Leaders, a civic-minded group of young professionals, looks to evolve and grow its membership base as it approaches its annual granting party this fall.

The organization, launched in 2012 by the former Huntingburg Foundation, is designed to create lifelong philanthropists. In exchange for membership dues, the group provides networking and educational opportunities to young business leaders. The yearly dues — $120 for an individual or $180 for a couple — fund grants for local charities.

Last week, the organization hosted a summer social at the Tri-County YMCA in Ferdinand. David Randich, president of Jasper-based MasterBrand Cabinets, was the featured speaker. Organizers say the event drew about 30 people, about half of whom were people interested in joining the group.

“We were pleased with the number of new faces,” said Jessica DeLorenzo, student services director at Vincennes University Jasper Campus and chairwoman of the Emerging Leaders steering committee.

At the end of the year, the organization awards a $5,000 grant to a charity of its choice. Members vote on where they think the money should go.

Last year, the group selected Family Scholar House, which gives single-parent students the support they need to earn a college degree. In 2012, the grant was given to Young Life of Dubois County to help community leaders attend a summer camp with high school and middle school students.

“The overall goal is to promote the importance of giving back to our community,” said Nicole Hurrle, communications and engagement manager for the Dubois County Community Foundation and a member of the Emerging Leaders steering committee.

The group will begin accepting applications from charities in September or October and will likely hold its granting party in November. Details are still being finalized.

Josh Gunselman, a Dubois County probation officer, joined Emerging Leaders last year after being invited to a luncheon. He is now the steering committee’s vice chair.

The opportunity to expand his professional network appealed to him. He also was intrigued by the group’s charitable giving.

“It’s almost an introduction to philanthropy,” Gunselman said.

The group has about 50 members, but organizers would like that number to grow. When the organization was formed, it was designed for professionals younger than 45. But the age limit has since been rescinded. The group is open to the young and young at heart, Gunselman said.

To learn more, visit www.ELGIVING.org or call the community foundation 482-5295.

Contact Tony Raap at traap@dcherald.com.