Member Spotlight: Alicia Baird, Program Officer, Strada Education Network
Alicia Baird is a program officer at Strada Education Network. As a part of our new Member Spotlight series, Alicia told us about how she came to know IPA and shares some exciting opportunities for those working to advance equity in Indiana.
How’d you get started in this work?
I was most Influenced by supportive mentors who encouraged me to pursue international study abroad experiences in Ghana and Greece during my undergraduate program at Manchester University. I obtained a Master of Arts degree in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University. Knowing the transformative impact of higher education, I’ve always wanted to expand educational opportunities for others. After graduation, I learned about an opportunity at USA Funds (now Strada Education Network), where I joined as a philanthropy assistant —the third member of the newly-created Philanthropy department. Since then, I’ve continued my personal mission of helping others gain educational opportunities via grantmaking at Strada.
Are you new in your role? Been there a while?
I’ve been with the Strada (formerly USA Funds) for 14 years. Currently, I manage Strada’s system of record and have gained additional skills of designing, building and managing data technology platforms. My own educational experience has been broadened through my work at Strada, and for that opportunity I am thankful.
How did you come to know Indiana Philanthropy Alliance?
More than 12 years ago, I worked closely with a team of colleagues, led by Tina Gridiron (current board chair to IPA), to develop Indiana Blacks in Philanthropy (IBIP). As the state affiliate of Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE), IBIP is Indiana’s professional association that seeks to educate, empower, strengthen, and support the development of Blacks in Indiana's communities by identifying, complementing, and mobilizing philanthropic resources and services. My work with the organization has been critical to expanding my professional networks statewide and nationally. I most appreciated participating in ABFE’s Connecting Leaders Fellowship Program. I currently serve as IBIP’s president.
What inspires you?
Music inspires me, especially live performances. Watching individuals create beautiful music amazes me.
What talent or superpower would you most like to have?
I would love to clone myself! As a working wife and mom of three wonderful kids ages 4, 2 and 1, there is never enough time in the day to do all that needs to be done. The ability to clone myself, might help resolve that nagging inability to get everything done. In the meantime, I will do my personal best at both full-time jobs.
Where are you inviting collaboration these days?
Recently, Strada invited proposals from nonprofit organizations, education providers, employers, community-based organizations and public-sector partners, through an RFP process. Entrants were invited to propose innovative partnership models that can strengthen education-to-employment pathways, all the while vying for a portion of a $5 million pool of grant dollars. We received nearly 300 concept papers to start and will continue the funder/grantee process through the remainder of the year.
On November 5, 2018, IBIP, The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and Indiana Philanthropy Alliance will partner with Indiana University Northwest's School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs to host a one-day conference titled ”Advancing Equity Across the Sector.” The IBIP Conference will be held at the Gary campus of IU Northwest.
Do you have questions for Alicia or ideas for collaboration? You can contact her at:
About IPA's Member Spotlight Series
Follow IPA's Member Spotlight Series to connect with your peers in philanthropy and find opportunities for collaboration. Blogs are written by members who share their personality, purpose, and passion for philanthropy. If you would like to be featured, contact Lissa Silotto.