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charity, nonprofit, philanthropy

My Year of Hopefulness – United Way Linkages Program

I have had the great fortune to move easily back and forth between the nonprofit and private sectors. I started out in nonprofit just after I finished undergrad, then went to the private sector for a few years, back to nonprofit, then to business school, and back to the private sector. This movement between the two sectors has been a great source of strength for me. Firsthand, I have been able to see how the two inform one another, and I learned that while many people draw a hard line between nonprofit and the private sector, it’s unnecessary. The skills, competencies, and structures are so similar it is sometimes tough to tell one from another. 

This ability to draw the connection between the two was the strength I pointed to in my United Way Linkages application. The United Way Linkages Program trains prospective nonprofit board members and then serves as a matchmaker between members of the program and nonprofit board of United Way charities. I was thrilled to learn today that I was accepted into the program and begin my training at the end of February. 

This is one more stop on the train that is leading me to start my own business based in the nonprofit world as part of the growing number of entrepreneurs who are looking toward social entrepreneurship. This is the last piece I need to close the loop – I have worked at nonprofits, large corporations, and small companies, though don’t have any board experience. This training will help me to begin to fill that gap. Another bonus is that it will be a good networking opportunity for me and I will meet other, like-minded business people with this same interest of serving on a nonprofit board. 

In a week when Wall Street and Main Street announced thousands of layoffs, plunging earnings, and more doom to come, this news today about the Linkages Program helped me lift up my eyes and see what’s out beyond the horizon. It helped me to look my future right in the eye and smile. 

About Christa Avampato

The short of it: Writer. Health, education, and art advocate. Theater and film producer. Visual artist. Product geek. Proud alumnae of the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (MBA). Inspired by ancient wisdom & modern tech. Proliferator of goodness. Opener of doors. Friend to animals. Fan of creative work in all its wondrous forms. I use my business skills to create passion projects that build a better world. I’ve been called the happiest New Yorker, and I try hard to live up to that title every day. The long of it: My career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, entertainment, technology, and financial services. I’ve been a product developer and product manager, theater manager, strategic consultant, marketer, voice over artist, , teacher, and fundraiser. I use my business and storytelling to support and sustain passion projects that build a better world. In every experience, I’ve used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, programs, and events. While building a business career, I also built a strong portfolio as a journalist, novelist, freelance writer, interviewer, presenter, and public speaker. My writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post,,, Royal Media Partners publications, and The Motley Fool on a wide range of topics including business, technology, science, health, education, culture, and lifestyle. I have also been an invited speaker at SXSW, Teach for America, Avon headquarters, Games for Change, NYU, Columbia University, Hunter College, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The first book in my young adult book series, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, was acquired by a publisher and launched in November 2017. I’m currently working on the second book in the series. A recovering multi-tasker, I’m equally at home in front of my Mac, on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I also cut up small bits of paper and put them back together as a collage artist. My company: I’m bringing together all of my business and creative career paths as the Founder of Double or Nothing Media: • I craft products, programs, and projects that make a difference; • I build the business plans that make what I craft financially sustainable; • I tell the stories that matter about the people, places, and products that inspire me. Follow my adventures on Twitter at and Instagram at


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