Youth Development


  • Milwaukee, WI

Mission Statement

Public Allies' mission is to create a just and equitable society and the diverse leadership to sustain it. We are changing the face and practice of leadership in communities across the country by demonstrating our conviction that everyone can lead, and that lasting social change results when citizens of all backgrounds step up, take responsibility, and work together.

Main Programs

  1. Public Allies Signature Ally Program

ruling year


chief executive for fy 2014

Mr. Adren Wilson

Self-reported by organization


Public Allies, Allies, leadership development, Americorps, national service, community development, employment training, community service, diversity

Self-reported by organization

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Physical Address

735 N Water Street Suite 550

Milwaukee, 53202

Also Known As

Public Allies


Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Impact statement

Program participants or Allies collectively served 1,028,236 during the past year, recruited 51,577 volunteers who contributed 304,847 hours of service to their communities (the equivalent of 179 full-time AmeriCorps Members and an economic value of $6.5 million based on Independent Sector’s value of volunteer time rate);

60% of nonprofits hosting Allies report that Allies helped them increase the number of people served, 75% reported improved level and quality of services, and 51% reported that Allies helped them begin a new project;

94% of program graduates accomplished at least one of the service objectives set by our partner organizations;
Public Allies alumni are twice as likely to volunteer actively (78%) or mentor a young person (64%) than others in their age cohort, based on data from Peter Hart Research; and
62% program graduates reported that they are more likely to pursue public service careers because of Public Allies.  Overall 87% of alumni are pursuing careers in public service.


What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Self-reported by organization

Program 1

Public Allies Signature Ally Program

Public Allies’ signature AmeriCorps program is a dynamic pipeline for talented young people from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds to emerge as community leaders. We identify talented young adults who not only come from the communities in which they serve, but who are committed to serving their communities in the future. Nearly 3,000 Allies have completed our program with over 80% continuing careers in community and public service.
The Allies serve full time for ten months at a nonprofit organization, and develop their leadership skills through a rigorous weekly leadership development curriculum, networking with local community leaders and team service projects. Allies are placed with a nonprofit where they meet critical community needs such as youth development, education, workforce development, environmental issues, arts programming and community health. Our Alumni are more than twice as likely as their peers to volunteer, mentor and participate in political and civic activities.

Nonprofits benefit from the increased capacity of an Ally working four days a week (full time) in their organization. Allies provide a human capital solution for both economic and leadership challenges. Because of the AmeriCorps and private resources Public Allies leverages, the average nonprofit partner saves nearly $20,000 compared to what they might otherwise spend for the same impact.


Youth Development



Population Served

Young Adults (20-25 years) -- currently not in use

Young Adults (20-25 years) -- currently not in use

Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- Other Specified Group

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Self-reported by organization

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Public Allies aims to develop results-focused, values-driven leaders who build effective nonprofit and public sector organizations and bring together diverse people to advance solutions to pressing community needs.We want to infuse local communities with indigenous leadership talent that helps pull the right people and resources together to tackle problems and create brighter futures for communities.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Public Allies employs two integrated strategies to change the face and practice of leadership: 1) The Public Allies signature AmeriCorps Ally Program identifies diverse young adults and prepares them for leadership through paid full-time nonprofit apprenticeships and rigorous leadership training. 2) Public Allies' Alumni Programs connect and engage our growing network of diverse leaders. Our alumni strategy focuses on 1) creating opportunities for alumni to participate in and support the Ally program and 2) investing in alumni to achieve high impact as social entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, public policy advocates and community leaders in other positions. Our Approach Core to our work of developing results-focused, values-driven leaders is our approach to national service and leadership development which is distinct from other programs. We believe that more diverse, inclusive, collaborative, asset-based leaders committed to continuous learning and integrity will better engage communities to solve problems. We recruit diverse, young adults who are from the communities where we work and help them develop skills to be effective community-builders. As part of Public Allies' paid 10-month apprenticeship, Allies serve in full-time positions at local nonprofits, participate in regular leadership and professional development trainings, and design and implement team service projects. Our Allies and staff are committed to careers working for community and social change. Public Allies helps dozens of local nonprofit organizations in each community access federal funds and human capital to expand and improve their services. Our leadership curriculum is at the cutting edge of leadership theory and practice. The curriculum is grounded in values that help leaders engage all kinds of people and offers a blend of individualized and group learning that applies the best practices of leadership development and adult education. Public Allies does service with communities, not to communities. Public Allies practices our asset-based approach to community leadership by engaging people from our communities to serve with us.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Public Allies has a proven program model with three-fold impact: (1) builds the capacity of nonprofit organizations, (2) expands and improve services to meet local needs, and (3) develops leaders committed to a lifetime of working for community and social change. In addition, we have a growing network of 21 Public Allies sites around the country implementing our signature Ally apprenticeship which includes partnerships with 17 local universities and nonprofit organizations. These partnerships build local capacity, strengthen management, deliver consistent program quality, leverage trusted brands, and streamline costs. We have strong local networks with more than 400 nonprofit organizations work with us to develop talent and engage young people to address community issues. Other key assets include: A National staff of 21, local staff of 72 and a national budget of more than $14.1 million, a board of directors with representation from the public and private sectors.A growing Alumni Network with more than 3,800 Public Allies alumni across the countryTurning the Tides partnership with the Alliance for Children and FamiliesNational partnerships with Citizen Schools, the YMCA and the United States Tennis Association (USTA)CEO, Paul Schmitz chairs the Nonprofit Workforce Coalition and co-chairs Voices for National ServiceCEO, Paul Schmitz's book, Everyone Leads: Building Community Leadership from the Bottom Up, is complete and slated for publication in October 2011.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    In the short term, we will measure organizational progress based on our success in meeting the following milestones: Maintaining Ally retention above 85% at all sites. Program Quality will further meet standards based upon Partner Organization satisfaction (above 90%), Ally satisfaction (above 95%), and AmeriCorps compliance and performance standards met (100%)Increasing recruitment of Partner Organization applicants to 1.5 applicants per slot at all sitesIncreasing recruitment to reach 6:1 ratio of Ally applicants to slots at all sitesBuilding a broader network of support for Public Allies that feeds recruitment, fundraising, expansion, consulting, and public recognition through a book, ""everyone leads"" website, grass roots fundraising, and media relations. Public Allies measures the success of our leadership development work through the use of three primary tools: 1) our online 360 feedback system which measures Allies' growth in professional and leadership skills connected to Public Allies core values through the assessments of Allies themselves and their supervisors, Program Managers, and peers, 2) Ally end-of-year and alumni surveys, and 3) the online PISD (Personal Impact and Service Documentation) system which tracks Allies' activities, results and completion of the program. With these tools, we monitor these key indicators % of Allies increasing leadership skills% of Allies retained (graduating)% Ally satisfaction Public Allies measures the success of our organizational capacity-building work through two primary tools: 1) the online PISD (Personal Impact and Service Documentation) system which tracks Allies' activities, results (including number of people served, volunteers engaged/volunteer hours generated and Allies meeting service objectives) and 2) Partner Organization end-of-year surveys. With these tools, we monitor these key indicators: # of community members served% of Allies meeting or exceeding service objectives% of Partner Organizations increasing their capacity% Partner Organization satisfaction
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    RESULTS Allies are diverse. More than 67% are people of color, 60% are women, 50% college graduates and 15% LGBT.Allies have served more than 285,000 people per year through their work at local Partner Organizations and team service projects.More than 90% of Partner Organizations report that Allies met or exceeded their goals and expectations.More than 80% of Allies demonstrated gains in leadership skills and self confidence.Nonprofits hosting an Ally saved more $20,000 annually considering what it would cost to do the same work without Public Allies. Nationally, Allies will save nonprofits more than $12 million this year.67% of alumni are still in communities where they served with Public Allies.More than 75% of Public Allies graduates have continued careers in nonprofit and public service. Their level of civic, political, and volunteer activity more than doubles their age cohort.Received the Pew Center for Civic Change's prestigious Civic Change Award in 2006 and Fast Company Social Capitalist Award in 2008. Best Practices honored by McKinsey & Company, Bridgespan Group, Cisco, AmeriCorps, and others. What haven't we accomplished yet? Clear community impact goals at the local levelTools and systems for effectively measuring our success in building the organizational capacity of our local Partner OrganizationsDeep and wide grasp of the current impact of our alumni on communities


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Fiscal year: Sep 01-Aug 31
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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.




Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Mr. Adren Wilson


Adren Wilson was appointed the fourth national CEO of Public Allies in August, 2014. Public Allies has advanced the leadership of more than 6,300 diverse young leaders to strengthen communities, nonprofits, and civic participation across the country since 1992.

Wilson, a native of rural Louisiana who himself grew up in extreme poverty, has held an escalating series of leadership positions as an organizer, activist, administrator, and reformer working to lift individuals, families, and communities out of poverty. Wilson most recently led workforce development and community college retention efforts as Gulf Coast Regional Director for Single Stop USA. Previously, he developed transformational leaders for public schools as Executive Director of New Leaders Greater New Orleans, worked to end persistent poverty in the South by leading the Equity and Inclusion Campaign, and trained thousands of young leaders to advocate for and serve the needs of vulnerable youth as National Director of Youth and Student Leadership at The Children's Defense Fund.

From 2004-2008, Adren served both Democratic and Republican Governors as Assistant Secretary with the Louisiana Department of Social Services, where he led the Office of Family Support, which employed 3,000 people in providing services to families in need, including in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He also served as Executive Director of the Louisiana Children's Cabinet, and initiated policy reforms such as the passage of the first state-level Earned Income Tax Credit in the South.

Wilson earned a Master in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and he has a doctorate in Public Policy from the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Southern University. He received Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and Political Science from Louisiana State University. Adren is based in the Washington, D.C. office of Public Allies.



Kanwar Singh

Merrill Lynch Private Banking & Investment Group


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