Volunteer Name: Nicole Madison
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
A Better Chance Member School: The Ethel Walker School ‘99
When did you become involved with A Better Chance?
The opportunity to attend and graduate from an A Better Chance member school had a profound impact on my life, and I was enthusiastic about finding ways to give back to a program that had given so much to me. During my senior year of college, I spent a semester interning in Boston where at the time, A Better Chance had a Northeast Office. My involvement started there - I simply reached out and asked if I could help with work around the office. When I started my professional career, I began volunteering during Interview Day and serving on panels for prospective students and parents. I also attended many A Better Chance sponsored-events over the last decade, including the annual Rising Stars Receptions, where I learned about (and eventually joined) the NAC.
What attracted you to the mission of A Better Chance?
As a teenager, I was compelled to A Better Chance because it provided me with access to opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise. When I stepped into Corporate America as an adult, I saw firsthand how critical it was to receive those opportunities. It also opened my eyes to the need for greater diversity across companies and boardrooms. I have always appreciated the forward-looking mission of A Better Chance, which is focused on building up well-educated future leaders of color across all industries and professions.
What achievement are you most proud of during your tenure?
Serving on the NAC for four years and collaborating with a talented group of young professionals has been such a rewarding experience. I think I’m most proud of the NAC’s collective efforts in making our signature event, Rising Stars, a success. It’s challenging at times, but I loved seeing our hard work come together. Additionally, I have had an opportunity to leverage my professional expertise in communications to brainstorm creative ways to promote our events and fundraisers. I enjoyed seeing those two passions come together.
What is the most important lesson you learned during your time as a volunteer?
We often don’t think about how much work goes into making nonprofit organizations a success. Volunteering has given me the opportunity to look “under the hood” of A Better Chance and I have grown to appreciate all of the efforts of the staff to ensure hundreds of students are placed in schools every year. With a small staff, they continue to accomplish so much, and they have been incredibly helpful for the NAC.
Why should others get involved and support A Better Chance?
Is there any reason not to get involved? I can’t think of one. A Better Chance is a pivotal part of my personal story, but regardless of whether you are an alum, we all understand how important it is for children to have an exceptional education. It’s critical that organizations like A Better Chance continue to grow and reach more deserving students across the country. I encourage people to learn more about A Better Chance and find your own unique ways to give back, whether that be with time, resources or connections.