Dan De Nose ’10 returned to Geneva last weekend as the keynote speaker for Geneva High School’s (GHS) Black History Month kickoff event and to host a fundraiser for his nonprofit startup, “Leaders of the 21st Century,” and his affiliated motivational public speaking business.
The nonprofit, which De Nose developed as his final research project during graduate school, will provide high school students in urban communities with leadership and professional development skills to improve those communities.
“In order for ‘Leaders of the 21st Century’ to reach the ideal level of impact, I have pledged to build a business to support it,” says DeNose, noting that nonprofits cannot depend solely on grants to accomplish their missions. His personal business and the motivational public speaking engagements he delivers, therefore, will in part fund “Leaders of the 21st Century.”
“I have a fire within me to inspire and motivate,” De Nose says. “So my hope is to build a bridge between nonprofit and business as a special force working together.”
A graduate of GHS, De Nose shared lessons learned from his personal experiences with students from his alma mater at the Black History Month kickoff event. With a thematic focus of “changing the world,” De Nose offered messages ranging from believing in yourself to keeping a positive mentality, and also reminded students that “change begins with ideas.”
“We’re going to unlock the reason why you were born, and that is to change the world,” he told the students.
During his time at HWS, De Nose served as student trustee and participated in the Colleges’ choral. He graduated from HWS with an independent major — “Rhetoric of Leadership” — and a minor in philosophy. He went to work for then-Newark, N.J. mayor and now-New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. De Nose then worked for Prudential Financial in Newark on campus recruitment and diversity initiatives, and later worked for an education advocacy organization called iReform.
De Nose then enrolled in graduate school at Rutgers University-Newark School of Public Affairs and Administration, where he completed a master’s in public administration with a concentration in nonprofit management. As a graduate student, he was involved with Freedom School, an organization focused on increasing literacy with young people, and participated in a two month fellowship opportunity with Rutgers Graduate School, in partnership with United States Agency for International Development, where he researched ways to improve STEM education in Cape Town, South Africa.
“I have come to the realization I have a duty and obligation to give opportunities to the next generation,” says De Nose of his visit to Geneva High School. “I’ve had so many mentors pour a lot into me, and how can someone else have an opportunity like that?”
The fundraiser was held on Sunday, Jan. 31, at Dana’s Time Out on Hamilton Street.
De Nose was recently featured in a story in the Finger Lakes Times called “‘CHANGE THE WORLD’: Black History Month speakers implore Geneva students to believe in themselves.” Prior to his visit, he was the Finger Lakes Times highlighted his visit in, “BACK WITH A MESSAGE: GHS, Hobart grad to give Black History Month address.”