Public Allies Class 4 Story Highlight: 
Chris Elkins

What was your life like before you connected with Public Allies?
My life before Public Allies was an uncertain one. The parents of a close friend had their own nonprofit that worked with inner-city children, and I was working for them. While there, I helped create fundraising platforms and programs to combat issues like health. At the same time, I was also doing tissue recovery.

How did you find out Public Allies and why did you decide to apply for it?
My friend Jasmine Clark was a part of Public Allies the year before me, and she knew I had aspirations to take my career and goals further. Jasmine informed me that Public Allies was a great program that would help me cultivate my skills and network, so I applied.

What was something you learned during your term of service? Or maybe what was something you gained from your term of service?
I learned so much about community organizing and the various ways to help combat challenging community issues. I learned how a nonprofit works from within: fundraising, board members, etc. I learned how to dress professionally (shout-out to Casey Bridgeford). My favorite learning though was how much more I learned about the city I live in, in one year than I had up to that point in my life.

How did you stay involved with PA after your term of service?
I still communicate with my class members and other classes and participate in events and small parties we like to put on for each other.

What are you doing now and how did PA influence you to take this path?
Now I’m a real estate broker, and I actually work at a brokerage with another Public Allies connection; the owner is the aunt of a member of my cohort!

I also created a cleaning business while in Public Allies. My mentor informed me about government contracts. So I reached out to the COO of Easterseals Crossroads one day as he was walking past my desk and informed him I was interested in learning more about government contracts. He introduced me to another entrepreneur that was using his platform to help others obtain contracts, and we created a partnership that ended up landing me a large city contract for my cleaning business.

How is your life different today because of Public Allies Indianapolis?
I had the opportunity to help and create so much for others. I’ve had the opportunity to employ and work with so many people that needed help. I’ve sat on boards and helped other nonprofits with the skills I learned from Public Allies. I actually have a purpose and a great network.

What would you want others to know about Public Allies?
It’s a great space to hone your skills and network with other like-minded people. If you have a purpose or idea and don’t know where exactly to start, this is a great place for you. If you have skewed perspectives on cultures and the world because you have only seen one side of it, it’s a great place to widen that perspective and create long-lasting friendships.