Gwendolyn Young

Now, more than ever, young women need safe places and inspiring mentors to help them grow and thrive. Lewis alumna Gwendolyn L. Young, MS ’13, is working to provide assistance to these young women as Executive Director of the Seed of Hope Foundation. A not-for-profit organization, The Foundation offers life skills programs to teenage girls in the area of Westchester, Bellwood, Maywood, Broadview, and LaGrange Park. For the past five years, the foundation has “devoted its energy to passionately advocating for the emotional healing and leadership development of minority, under-represented teenage girls.”

Gwendolyn L. Young ’13 (M.A.) is the Executive Director ofthe Seed of Hope Foundation (left). The organization offers life skillsprograms to teenage girls. Photo courtesy of Gwendolyn L. Young.

During her tenure as the Executive Director, she has worked to obtain more than $30,000 in gifts from individual donors. She has also procured many institutional and corporate sponsorships, and increased the volunteer and donor bases by an impressive 100% since 2009. To continue securing a strong future, Gwendolyn has developed an exceptionally strong board of directors – including leadership from Lewis University. Her efforts have paid off, as the Seed of Hope Foundation achieved the GreatNonProfits.Org’s Top Rated Non- Profit Designation in 2012 and 2013 in addition to earning a Gold Level Designation from GuideStar.

While her work is extremely important, Gwendolyn’s family always comes first – her husband, James of 18 years and three children: Jacquelynne, 22, James, 21, and Justin, 19. Gwendolyn’s mother-daughter team efforts with her own daughter, Jacquelynne, include writing a book entitled 20 Tips for Building Stronger Mother-Daughter Relationships.

Gwendolyn enjoyed her coursework at Lewis University and found that she was able to implement new ideas in her own organization, especially those in strategic planning and servant leadership to create successful programs, and succeed she did. She recently returned to campus to make a presentation at the Celebrating Women in Leadership Conference. In addition to her position at Seed of Hope, Gwendolyn is the Sr. Executive Planning Strategist for G.L. Young Consulting Corporation, a full-service consulting firm dedicated to serving small businesses and nonprofits. She helps clients across five states implement strategic operating plans to increase efficiency, accountability and client attraction. Recently, she was chosen to serve as a Stevie Awards preliminary round judge for Women in Business. She was also honored in 2013 by the Daily Herald Business Ledger – in partnership with the National Association of Women Business Owners Chicago Chapter and the Women’s Innovation Network as an “Influential Women in Business.” In 2012, her work in the community was recognized by Passages Alternative Living, Inc., which awarded her the Elizabeth Timpton Girls Mentoring Award. BoardSource selected her as one of 20 emerging leaders in the United States and awarded her the 2012 Judith O’Connor Scholar Award for Emerging Nonprofit Leaders.
“It takes the efforts of the whole community,” she said. “People working together can achieve tremendous results.”

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