Independent Sector Honors Stacy Stout with 2018 American Express NGen Leadership Award

Grand Rapids, Michigan Assistant to the City Planner receives award for her transformative work building community, shaping narratives, and recognizing the power of constituents

(LOS ANGELES, November 16, 2018) – Yesterday, Independent Sector announced Stacy Stout as the recipient of the 2018 American Express NGen Leadership Award at an awards ceremony at Upswell.

Presented annually since 2010, the award recognizes one emerging changemaker 40 or under who has demonstrated transformative social impact through collaborative leadership. American Express is also the lead sponsor of the American Express NGen Fellows Program, which offers emerging nonprofit and philanthropic leaders opportunities to strengthen their capacity for future impact.

“Stacy is a shining example of the tremendously talented group of emerging professionals in the nonprofit sector who are creating real, lasting change in communities around the country,” said Daniel J. Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “It is particularly meaningful that Stacy is the first award recipient to be honored at our inaugural Upswell, with its focus on the power of collaboration among changemaking professionals to identify new ideas and approaches to address society’s challenges.”

Stacy’s selection for the award is an acknowledgement of her outstanding efforts to honor the work and sacrifice of her ancestors through community organizing and creating spaces where people of color can heal and tap into their own power to work together to advance systems of change.

Since 2016, Stacy has served as assistant to the city manager of Grand Rapids, Michigan, helping to ensure that city residents take full advantage of all that the city has to offer. Her accomplishments include creating and implementing the Neighborhood Leadership Academy to increase sustainability of neighborhood associations and to strengthen use of a racial equity and resident empowerment lens.

She also co-founded and served as a leadership team member of the Latina Network of West Michigan, which focuses on resisting tokenism, elevating local Latina leadership, and shaping a narrative that honors Latinas’ power, importance, and diversity.

Additionally, Stacy has served as program manager at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, dean of student accountability at Burton Middle School in Grand Rapids, and education director of the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan.

“Stacy has an impressive background of advocacy and working to ensure that all voices are represented as community-based solutions are considered in Grand Rapids,” said Timothy McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation and an IS Board member. “Our award recognizes emerging leaders whose work exemplifies what can be achieved through ingenuity and collaboration, and we salute her, as well as our other award finalists, for the positive impact they are making in the communities they serve.”

Stacy was among 70 outstanding emerging changemakers who applied for award consideration. They were narrowed to six finalists by Independent Sector’s Selection Advisory Group, comprised of ten impressive leaders from across the nonprofit and philanthropic community who committed a significant amount of time to carefully review and consider applicants, including their changework and its community impact.

The other finalists considered by the Selection Advisory Group included the following:

  • Loren Cardeli, President, A Growing Culture
  • KeAndra Cylear Dodds, Manager of Preservation, Community Development Commission of the County of Los Angeles
  • Monisha Kapila, Founder and CEO, ProInspire
  • Quardean Lewis-Allen, Founder and CEO, Made in Brownsville
  • Joseph McKellar, Co-Director, PICO California

The American Express Leadership Award process was redesigned this year to better engage the community in a discussion about leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector. The finalists interacted during a Twitter Town Hall with the public, who selected the award winner via online voting.

This year’s American Express NGen Leadership Award was designed by Piece by Piece, an affiliate of the nonprofit Skid Row Housing Trust in Los Angeles. The social enterprise offers low-income and formerly homeless people free mosaic art workshops using recycled materials, providing them with the opportunity to improve their quality of life by gaining self-confidence, developing marketable skills, and earning income.


Independent Sector is the only national membership organization that brings together a diverse set of nonprofits, foundations, and corporations to advance the common good. Learn more at


Kristina Gawrgy Campbell

Types: Press Release
Global Topics: IS Board, IS Member, Leadership Development, Upswell