Now in its third year, Next American Vanguard is a conference that brings together young urban leaders from around the country. At the moment we are in the process of selecting 40 creative and ambitious people, all 39 years old or younger, who work in various non-profit organizations, local government bodies or other groups to improve their respective cities in innovative ways.
Those of you thinking about applying might want to know: Exactly what type of people become Vanguards?
Past conferences has featured leaders of non-profits who have advocated for everything from better public transit nationwide, to improving public spaces in New York City, to creating and advancing solutions to the problems posed by climate change.
We’ve had our fair share of public servants, such as a program specialist with the Texas Water Development Board, a city council member from Portland, Maine, and an assistant to the economic development director of Minneapolis.
From the academic world, Vanguards have included an urban affairs research faculty member at Portland State University and a lecturer at the University of Tennessee College of Architecture and Design.
We’ve had a Camden, N.J.-based master’s student who founded of an organization meant to empower fellow up-and-coming leaders, and also the executive director of a New York service corps that raised over $2 million over four years to train 51 fellows from San Francisco, Houston and Baton Rouge. Finally, we’ve had a director of programs for a Boston-based community development corporation that catered specifically to Asian-Americans.
As the above examples make clear, Vanguards range in profession, background, geography and mission; the one common factor is their age and dedication to finding creative ways to deal with important urban issues. Young, hungry and interested? Applications are open until next Tuesday, July 31.