Making a Difference

The social and academic stress of college is a full-course load in itself, never mind trying to get a nonprofit off the ground, raising funds, and recruiting. But that didn’t stop Audrey K. Chisholm from launching Revolution Leadership Inc. during her sophomore year at Florida State University.

“I had had a long day, didn’t feel well, and felt frustrated with the whole process of school, and just got on my knees and prayed,” says Chisholm of how she came up with the concept. “I wanted to teach young people the skills that I was learning about leadership, money management, college success, and entrepreneurship. I realized how much easier college would have been had I known certain information before I started.”

Launching the first annual retreat with about 12 students and approximately $1,000 in 2002, the now 10-year-old organization hosts up to 50 high school juniors and seniors each year at its Revolution Leadership Retreat. Its mission is to equip young people with the skills and financial confidence they need to succeed in college, business, and leadership. The 501(3)(c) nonprofit also provides year-round educational leadership programs, interactive workshops, SAT/ACT training, and college tours. Additionally, a scholarship funded primarily from private donations and grants is awarded to one student each school year; award amounts vary. In 2010, Revolution Leadership received a grant from Enterprise Holdings Foundation, the charitable foundation for Enterprise Holdings Inc., parent company for car rental and leasing company Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Its operating budget for 2011 was $3,000. Because its staff is made up of volunteers, all donations are put toward the scholarship, program expenses, and annual retreat. More than 1,100 students have participated in the year-round programs and retreat since its inception.

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