Chelsie Wilkinson reinvigorated her passion for non-profit work by earning her Certified Community Action Professional (CCAP) credential this summer.
As the Director of Resource Development for Miami Valley Community Action Partnership, Wilkinson works to build capacity for the agency through grant procurement, program development and more. She was recognized at the National Community Action Partnership’s national conference in New York City in August.
“Community Action is unique, poverty is complex,” Wilkinson said. “The challenges we face require the ability to craft innovative solutions with an acute attention to detail. This process gave me an opportunity to dig deeper into the purpose of Community Action and how the work I do every single day pours into the vision.”
The CCAP process includes a Candidate Data Form and Executive Skills Portfolio as well as a written exam. A total of 71 network employees earned the credential this year and Wilkinson was one of three from Ohio to complete the process.
“Having a greater understanding and appreciation of the history gives me a lot of perspective – especially on the hard days,” Wilkinson said. “The opportunity to learn the ups and downs gave me a lot of context and really reignited the fire in my belly for this work. We have to keep fighting the good fight!”
Wilkinson grew up in rural Indiana where she began working with nonprofits as a volunteer in the 7th grade. She served as a foundation board member in her hometown at the age of 17 before moving to Dayton to attend Wright State University. She earned her degree in Urban Affairs and Nonprofit Management and joined MVCAP while completing her Master’s in Public Administration.
Wilkinson and her colleagues at MVCAP found their optimism and passion tested in the last few years. Devastating tornados in May of 2019 followed by a summer shooting incident were accompanied by the abrupt departure of key leaders, she said. And then came COVID.
“Despite the odds being stacked against us, we answered the call to help people and change lives,” she said. “and THAT is Community Action.”