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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Running Start

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Leadership Development, Women, Womens Studies, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Running Start is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring young women and girls to run for political office.

Geographic areas served: National

Community Stories

29 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Morgan12

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am so inexplicably grateful to Running Start and all the phenomenal people who work there for their dedication to empowering young women. It's so easy as a young female to feel invalidated, uninformed, or unqualified to speak out on the things that matter to us, but Running Start tackles such insecurities head on. Their Young Women's Political Leadership Summit completely changed my life. After a week of lectures, discussions, and active sessions aimed at encouraging us all to find what we were passionate about and then to share these beliefs with not only our peers but also powerful, inspiring female role models, I've gained an unshakeable renewal in my own sense of self worth. I am so much more self-confident and supportive of other girls my age thanks to Running Start. I am forever grateful to this organization and the YWPL 2015 team!

Review from Guidestar

Stephanie209

Former staff

Rating: 5

Running start is a phenomenal organization that has my full support. I think it is obvious there is not equal representation in our government. Our Congress only consists of 19% women.. how is this fair? Running Start is leading the charge in bridging this gap. Through their programs such as the Young Women's Political Leadership program and Elect Her, they are instilling confidence in young girls and showing them that they are capable of achieving whatever they wish to do. Running Start works one on one with thousands of young women across the country every year. With Running Start's help, I can see women making up 50% of Congress during my lifetime.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Running Start is an amazing organization that gave me the tools and confidence to run for office in my hometown. Without this organization and their reputable program, the Running Start/ Walmart Star Fellowship, I would have never been able to intern full time in DC and make the connections that I now know. Furthermore, Running Start has given me "family" a group of high achieving, encouraging female peers and mentors that have pushed me to be more than I could have ever imagined on my own. Thank you so much Running Start!

Review from Guidestar

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

Running Start Young Women's Political Retreat has been by far the best experience of my life. I was taken into another world. The speakers we had were amazing. I couldn't believe I met people who were from Ivy Leagues or CEO's. And, best of all they were women. Walking around DC was amazing. I was so thrilled to be there and grasp all the education they fed us in the five days. I would for more girls to be able to be part of Running Start. Susannah Shakow, the founder and president makes this program rich. Her presence is delightful. Plus, all the other staff made me and the rest of the girls feel so comfortable. I loved it. I came back home with a heart full of enery and need to live to bigger and better things. Because after Running Start I -know- I will be great and I have many opportunities.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

Running Start is a program I would recommend to any young woman with a budding interest in politics. In mid 2008, a friend of friend alerted me about about a leadership program called Running Start, specifically targeted at young women in high school. Immediately, I jumped at the chance. I remember stressing over my application for several days, and then the nervousness that followed (I was worried because I had submitted my entry so close to the deadline). Even though, at the time, I knew very little about the program, I was desperate to be accepted. But I was shocked when I received a phone call later that week requesting a phone interview. It was brief, and after hanging up I remember over-analyzing my answers, and convincing myself that I had no chance of being accepted. Sure, the website said they would select all kinds of girls from all over; but why would they want me? I lived really far away from D.C., and I wasn't even enrolled in a real high-school (I was home-schooled). But they did accept me, and that was only the beginning. Although the program was short, it definitely changed my life, and helped transform me into the person I am becoming. I had the opportunity to meet girls from all backgrounds, all of us joined by a common interest in our community. All sorts of women came to speak to us, sharing their experiences and preparing us for the future. We attended workshops for public speaking, advocacy, speech writing, and campaigning. Not only did we learn about the women leading us today, but were also reminded of past female heroes - the women who changed history, gaining us rights that we often take for granted. On the third night, we all attended a networking reception, which I consider one of the best parts of the program, because were able to engage in conversation with many influential and admirable people in the D.C. area. But the most memorable event was the night on the town, something I hadn't expected to experience. So far we had spent the entire time on campus, and it was amazing to be able to go out and really see the city. On the last day, we made speeches to our friends and family, talking about the rising issues we felt most passionate about. Running Start changed my life, and I know it's done the same for so many other young women. Thank-you Running Start for giving girls like me the confidence to change the world.

11

Client Served

Rating: 5

Coming from an enclosed background, Running Start gave me the exposure to leadership, politics, and networking that I needed. Every asset of my life has been nurtured through the love and faith of the Running Start staff. Giving me reason to want more change in the world, I've grown not an interest, but a passion for politics, something that I've never had before. They've allowed me to see the potential in myself that one day I may be this nation's next Speaker of the House, member of Congress, or even the First Woman President of these United States.I feel that Running Start is an organization that all girls should have the chance to experience, cultivating each seed so that it may bloom and leave a tremendous mark in this world. Running Start has given their all in each and every girl so that we know that there is nothing in the world that we can't do. "To whom much is given, much is required"

12

Client Served

Rating: 5

My experience with Running Start is one that I will never forget. The knowledge that I obtained will always follow me in my life. Being with 50 bright intelligent girls who have accomplished so much was a great inspiration. The five days I spent at Running Start added more fuel to the fire that I have for politics and being involved in my community. I strongly recommend this program to every girl with or without the same passion that I have. Their eyes will be opened and they will meet so many strong woman leaders. Every person left with an inspiration and ready to lead. After attending several leadership conferences this is far the best. Lastly, I would like to thank Running Start for the work they do.

12

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I landed in DC, I honestly didn't expect much out of the Running Start conference because I had never heard of the nonprofit and also because I didn't have to pay anything to go there. I've been to many leadership conferences in the past, some of them were very expensive, and my experience at Running Start was by far the best. I was able to shake hands with my Congresswoman, give my business card (provided by Running Start) to some of the top women leaders in DC, and listen and learn from the stories of 51 inspirational girls. Those five days ignited a passion for politics in me, and put me on the path towards the Capitol Building. When I become a political leader I will make sure more girls like me are able to attend Running Start so I can continue the cycle of strong young girls becoming powerful politicians.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an exceptional program recommended especially for those girls who have absolutely no idea about politics or anything relating. Being a prime model of the uniformed teenager, I applied for this program without forethought and was accepted. After taking a plane that was provided for and meeting other girls of every platform, the experience began almost immediately. This is a comprehensive program structured for girls ready to take the challenge. The staff are undeniably dedicated and go out of their way to provide every possible amenity. The lectures given by special guests are uplifting and broaden the student's expectations from their government as well as themselves. The president of the program, Susannah, is truly inspirational. Not only did she found the organization from the ground up but she attends it personally alongside the girls whom she generously chooses. After the program has reached its end, the benefit of Susannah's effort to guide the student does not end. Consistent emails and competitions suited to challenge and encourage the students involved in the program are sent for years after the duration of the experience itself. But most importantly, if a student needs anything, any resource, feedback, or counsel-Susannah is always available, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This was truly a milestone in my life. Thank You Running Start for giving 150 percent.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a young woman who has always been interested in politics, Running Start was a major eye-opener. It gave the young ladies with me and myself a chance to see first hand the kind of effects women have had in politics, to give us encouragement for the future. I know because of the ideas and lessons many of us took from Running Start, we will use it to our benefit in the future. Running Start and DC is a start for young women all over interested in politics, no matter who they are.

9

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I participated in the Running Start young womens political program 2009. I had an amazing time. Running Start has inspired me!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Running Start is an amazing organization that provides amazing opportunities for young women! I was a participant in their political leadership program in DC, and the experience has truly changed my way of thinking. The organization provided us with amazing speakers and experiences that included subjects not only of political interest, but also relating to humanitarian work, career-building, and networking. As a young woman, I am proud to say that I support Running Start.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

Running Start has helped me grow as an individual. I learned more from the 5 days I spent in the retreat than I have my entire life, both about myself and about the people around. I was able to watch as I, along with my fellow participants, become more confident with ourselves. Though we are leaders one way or another, Running Start gave us the extra push we all needed to aim for what we want, regardless of stereotypes and those who make it their business to bring us down. Running Start gave me the opportunity to meet and interact with people whose job involves positive changes using one small act at a time. Running Start makes it possible for us to change the world.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

Working with Running Start has taught me so much about being a leader in my community and pushing beyond my limits. There were so many other phenomenal girls during the Young Women's Political Leadership Program who were excited to have such a great oppurtunity without having to pay. Many girls expressed how unique Running Start is in that it offers a summer program for teenagers but doesn't require thousands of dollars to attend. It thus includes girls from a multitude of different locations, backgrounds, and economic levels. Running Start is a fabulous, inspiring organization that I honestly believe changes girls' lives and encourages more female participation in leadership jobs across the United States.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

My experience with Running Start was a very positive one to say the least. I participated in the program this summer (2009) and enjoyed every minute of it. The diverse group of girls as well as the helpful staff made my experience an unforgettable one. Moreover, the speakers who presented were outstanding. Not only did heads of non-profits address us, but also Congressmen and people involved in running successful political campaigns. Without a doubt, my experience at Running Start was truly memorable.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

From the very first day the staff and the girls treated me with respect and I felt at home with them. It was a wonderful experience and I am so proud of Susannah Shakow for starting such a wonderful organization for women. This program is a wonderful one and although it is mainly for politics, what you learn there is necessary for any field of study and life in general. Thanks Susannah for everything! -Parisa Alaie

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

RUNNING START helped me learn that I can do anything no matter if it is in the political world or not. It was an influential experience that I will learn from in the years to come. The staff was fantastic within four day we went from being strangers to being a family.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wow. Words cannot describe the wonderful experience I encountered this past summer at Running Start. From the speakers to the girls, I can truly say Running Start has been and always be a huge part of my life. Until this day, I am still in touch the the diverse bunch that I met. Over the week we shared, they became more than my "friends,"- they became my sisters. The speakers and staff were also an HUGE asset to the program. They provided us with the incredible amount of knowledge that is needed to power politics. ---On a more lighter note, I must say the food and the dorms were perfect!

15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

From the moment I learned about Running Start I knew I would be interested, after meeting the founders and all of the volunteers I knew I would constantly be inspired. Every woman I've met and every young participant I've encountered has helped me the importance of getting women involved in politics at every level. My time with Running Start has given me some of my greatest moments in DC, and I could not ask a better and more diverse group to be a part of.

15

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I can not say enough about Running Start. My daughter attended the program in the summer before her junior year('07). It provided her with the confidence and leadership skills to try things she would have never done before. She was able to run a successful campaign for Young Dems and has gone on to participate in numerous activities through the information and emails that she receives from Running Start. She plans on continuing her relationship with Running Start when she is in college and this alone is a testament to the invaluable experience it affords young women.I know that my daughter plans on writing a review with more specifics details but I did want to encourage the "powers to be" to provide Running Start with whatever it needs to continue The Young Women's Leadership Program. Thank you.

15

Donor

Rating: 5

My daughter participated in the innaugural summer training event for high school students. She learned a great deal both from Running Start and the other young women who participated. This organization is providing valuable leadership, guidance and motivation to young women during an important time in their lives.

15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Running Start has been the best experience that I have ever had in my life. We went from having dinner on a rooftop to getting down and dirty with a room full of women talking about politics. Not only did I get to stay at American University which is my top choice to go to but I got to meet so many great people. Going to Running Start opened so many doors for me and I actually have an internship right now. Running Start was such an awesome experience and I hope that every lucky girl get to experience it.

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

I participated in the Running Start program this past summer ('08) and it was truly one of the best experiences in my life. I was given so many opportunities and had so many doors opened for me. It was an excellent program where I met so many young women my age with the same dreams and ambitions as my own. I also got the chance to learn from so many accomplished women with incredible stories and was given the opportunity to practice life long skills such as networking.

14

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Lillian Izquierdo and I participated in this program during the summer of '08. It was one of the best experiences of my life. There was so much about politics that I had never known before. I met so many incredible girls my age but even more incredible were the women who ran the program. They inspired me to go after my dreams and what I wanted no matter the obstacles that I faced. My favorite part of the experience was learning more about speech writing, something that I learned I enjoy very much. I would definitely reccomend other teenage girls to apply for this program.

13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Running Start has done more than inspire me to consider political office as a career - it has insured that I enthusiastically support young female candidates and has gotten me involved in politics on many levels. I have been lucky enough to find a voice through Running Start and am constantly amazed by the enthusiasm of the Director, volunteers and participants. I am encouraged for our future by what I see at Advisory Board Meetings, fundraisers and programs.

13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Running Start really opened my eyes to the small amount of women in politics compared to the amount of women in the United States. Originally I was not that interested in politics but after this 4 day program I am defintley considering this career knowing that I can make a difference in the world. Listening to speakers, networking with proffesionals in their political field, and creating our my campaign has influenced the way I look at our governement and what career I might want to pursue. I would recommend this program to anyone not only to people who want to be politicians.

13

Client Served

Rating: 5

Running Start has challenged me to think and act confidentially. It has motivated and inspired me to voice my opinion. I came to running start full of doubts and insecurities; Running Start has given me the confidence to believe in myself, and alerted me to the few women representatives’ we (the United States) have in our government. It really is a grand opportunity for all young women.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was given the amazing opportunity to participate in the Young Women's Political Retreat put on by Running Start and it was one of the most transforming experiences. The program is great and educates young ladies on all necessary areas needed to be successful as a leader. The Running Start staff members are so passionate about what they do that they empower and encourage young women to begin to think about the options in running for political office and how to begin making positive changes in their communities. Being a part of this program with Running Start was one of the most incredible experiences in my life. I discovered so much about myself and the positive changes I can promote and inspire others to promote in my community as a young woman leader!! Running Start continues to keep contact with us, continue to recommend great opportunities and watch our progress made since being a part of their Young Women's Political Retreat in Washington D.C.

15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Even though Running Start has only been around for a little over a year, the group has managed to make a huge difference in the lives of young women across the country. With a staff that consists primarily of volunteers, Running Start not only inspires young women to run for office, but also provides them with the tools to do so.