The PULSE Interview

Published On April 3, 2014 | By Elisabeth Petras | Community

pulse 1Pittsburgh nonprofits have long been reshaping and revitalizing our community. One organization takes that a step further and transforms recent college graduates into young professionals who will grow the community both in and out of the nonprofit sector. PULSE(Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience) uses its three-pronged approach of partnering with Pittsburgh nonprofits, cultivating community, and equipping participants to become servant leaders in Pittsburgh. This provides the nonprofit with skilled labor and the graduate with experiential learning difficult to find in the current economy.

This Friday from 7-10pm at the Union Project PULSE will host its annual PULSEations fundraiser. Centered around the “Big Top” theme, this event will include a large tent holding cocktails, a silent auction, games, raffles, and more. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $40. If you’d like a discount to this great event, you might want to sign up to join the host committee.

We recently spoke with Executive Director Chris Cooke about the PULSE program.pulse 2

What is the major takeaway or skill participants gain when they graduate?

Confidence. Skills can be taught. That is the easy part. PULSE fellows need to know that their gifts, skills and abilities really matter, that they “have what it takes”. People leave PULSE knowing that they can make a difference.

What types of Pittsburgh nonprofits seem to flourish and what types seem to need the most support?

Nonprofits with strong leadership flourish. Size doesn’t matter. It is much more difficult for smaller ships to weather large storms, but a strong staff and board will keep the ship upright and move it in the right direction. Also, nonprofits with diversified funding streams flourish, particularly lots of individual donors.

What do you love about Pittsburgh and supporting its growth?

I grew up in Southern California and came to Pittsburgh fifteen years ago. Pittsburgh is a fantastic city. It is both city and neighborhood. The neighborhoods are what I love and the neighborhoods are what will fuel Pittsburgh’s growth in the years ahead. I love partnering with others to support its growth.

To learn more about the impact PULSE has made you can check out stories from current participants, alumni and nonprofits on their website.

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