Many of us only have the opportunity for the energy to pursue one career. Jeff Meyer, all-star Taproot pro bono consultant in New York City, took a different path. After retiring from 30 years of success with a career in the financial industry, Jeff decided to pursue something different. He wanted to leverage his experiences and professional skills to help the nonprofit sector. He decided to pursue a Master in Public Administration with a focus on nonprofits program evaluation at NYU Wagner, a leading program in New York. With a strong background in finances, his post-retirement goal is to tie together his expertise in the for-profit world to the nonprofit sector in a way he sees as a value-add, with program evaluation and cost and benefit analysis—key areas of need for effective, successful nonprofits.
Jeff was introduced to Taproot at a NYU Wagner Career Expo. For him, Taproot’s pro bono consulting was a very attractive opportunity. According to Jeff, in traditional volunteering, you are helping out, but are just one person performing the function. Through Taproot Foundation, you can help make important changes in the structure of the organization. One hour of work with a nonprofit’s executive team can result in many hours of changes.
For Taproot, Jeff is a stellar pro bono consultant not only because of his expertise in nonprofit management and financial analysis, but also his strong passion in nonprofit capacity-building. To add to his list of impressive credentials, Jeff has a degree in Education, and brings his passion for teaching to his work with nonprofits through Taproot.
Since becoming a pro bono consultant with Taproot in 2013, Jeff has been active in a broad range of Taproot’s capacity-building services. He worked with Urban Upbound on a recent Financial Analysis Service Grant, and contributed significantly to the 9/11 Day Speed Consulting, and the Make it Matter Challenge sponsored by LinkedIn. His extraordinary expertise also brought great value to the New York team, as he has provided expertise to our staff in how to ensure readiness amongst the nonprofits applicants for the Financial Analysis Service Grant. Said Jeff, the greatest value I get from being a pro bono consultant is that I am able to make nonprofits see things they haven’t seen, and make better decisions of how to use their limited resources by understanding the cost of program. It also increases my capability to give back to community.
When asked about the most inspiring experience of doing pro bono, Jeff recalled his first Service Grant project, although we are not paid in creating results, the results lead [Urban Upbound] to significant opportunities. It helped the organization get the financial basics in place and then gave them the tools they needed to make smart financial decisions.
This project enabled Urban Upbound to strategize about how to think about their financial model. With the financial data centralized, Urban Upbound is now better positioned for the future. There are many great nonprofits out there. They have expertise I don’t have; I have what they don’t have. This is a mutual-understanding process which is very rewarding.
From the Senior Vice President at Lehman Brothers, to an MPA student specialized in nonprofit management, to volunteering with his community as a pro bono consultant, what is the next career Jeff will bring to his varied life experience? At Taproot, we hope it continues to stay in the nonprofit space.