Jill Helme, MS’08

  • Executive Director, AthFest Educates

When I entered the NPL program, I went in with the goal of being an executive director for a youth-based nonprofit.  Since graduation, I have worked in various leadership positions in that exact field.  A combination of my graduate studies and professional experiences allowed me to develop the skills I needed before accepting my current role as executive director of AthFest Educates.

AthFest Educates is a grant-making organization dedicated to providing the funding needed to build and advance high-quality music and arts education for K – 8 youth in Athens, GA.  With a city-wide poverty rate that hovers around 30%, AthFest Educates is focused on ensuring that each young person in our community, regardless of their individual circumstances, has the opportunity to have meaningful engagement in music and the arts.  We believe artistic experiences allow each child to develop their own creativity and uniqueness in a way that may not be possible if funding was not available. In an era where school districts across the country are routinely cutting funding for music and arts education, AthFest Educates is proud to be a resource for local educators and youth development specialists as they use their creativity to bring out the best in our community’s young people.

“The NPL program gave me the skills, confidence, and connections I needed to be successful in the nonprofit arena. The program’s hands-on, personal approach and access the program’s professors and staff made me feel valued as a student and as a future professional in the nonprofit world.”

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