By Josh Jacobson

It was really just a kernel of an idea – what if we could develop a program for the founders of emerging nonprofit organizations that would impart all the important stuff they need to be successful. I’d wrestled with it for a number of months before shelving it. Too ambitious. Too much time needed. Because at the time, ‘we’ was just ‘me.’

The course of our firm changed forever when Caylin Haldeman joined it in January 2017. She was my first hire at Next Stage, which had operated for years as a one-person shop. To say I got it right would be an understatement.

As anyone who has worked with Next Stage over the last three years knows, Caylin is our firm’s secret sauce. Through more than 30 client engagements, including several she has led herself, Caylin has been a major contributor to our team. Her process-oriented approach to tackling big challenges is an ideal complement to my own, giving shape to nascent ideas and drilling down to needed prioritization – “how will we get this done?”

It wasn’t too long after joining Next Stage that she asked a pointed question – “Is there a more efficient and effective way to do this work?” And with that, the seed of CULTIVATE that I’d covered up months before was given new light.

Together, we developed a year-long program built on the depth of our shared experience with nonprofits throughout the Carolinas, as well as my background in fundraising and Caylin’s work in venture philanthropy. We piloted CULTIVATE in 2018 with an inaugural cohort of three organizations, and grew the incubator in 2019 to serve six nonprofit leaders. Now, midway through the second year of CULTIVATE, we are deepening our commitment to this work.

It is with a tremendous swell of pride that I announce that Caylin Haldeman has been promoted to the role of Director of CULTIVATE. In her new role, Caylin will make the management of CULTIVATE her full-time job, ensuring fidelity in all aspects of the program. That includes driving the application process, strengthening the selection process and leading our storytelling efforts. We will continue to partner on the development and facilitation of our signature workshops and I will share the coaching role with her as she stewards participants through our 12-module curriculum. She will also be identifying new ways to leverage the tremendous digital resources we’ve developed.

It’s a big job and I know it is in the very best, most capable hands.

This is the first of several announcements we’ll be making over the coming weeks about changes at Next Stage, but it is the one of which I am most proud. I could not ask for a better partner in helping our firm grow impact and strengthen the Charlotte region’s nonprofit sector from the inside out.

For more on CULTIVATE, including the opening of the application for the third cohort this fall, visit the CULTIVATE website, be sure to sign up for our newsletter and give us a shout on social media – FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and Twitter.

Meet the 2019 cohort: