Huntsville, Ala, April 2023 – Free 2 Teach, a local nonprofit that supports public school teachers and students with school supplies, today announced the launch of The Free 2 Teach Fellowship, a leadership program embedded in their organization to train and equip the next generation of nonprofit leaders. Fellows will support the organizations’ day-to-day operations while gaining hands on experience focused on nonprofit management and sustainability.
“Our Fellows will gain valuable, broad experience, while supporting the mission of Free 2 Teach,” shares Free 2 Teach Executive Director, Alison Kling. “Our goal is that our Fellows experience personal growth, new skills and unforgettable leadership experiences so that no matter where they lead in roles throughout their life, they will understand the vital impact that local, community nonprofits make as they seek to solve problems and make a difference.”
The nonprofit was co-founded by the late Eula Battle, who taught in public schools for over 30 years before bringing the idea of supporting teachers with a free supply store to community leaders over ten years ago. “I had an incredible experience working for Eula – she was an amazing, visionary leader who never met a stranger, shared about our mission and vision in a compelling way, and always put the child at the center of everything we do,” shares Kling. “This program will allow us as an organization to benefit from the skill and energy of a young person while training and equipping them for leadership in the same way I was trained by Mrs. Battle.”
Fellows will experience opportunities to learn about philanthropy, public speaking, and problem solving. “No matter where our Fellows lead next, they will have tangible, hands on experience to make an impact and we are so excited to cultivate this type of embedded leadership training structure,” shares Kling.
The first Fellow, Chris Pendergrass, graduated from Huntsville High and then suma cum laude from Kenyon College with a degree in Religious Studies and Middle Eastern Studies. He is a full-time Program Coordinator with the organization, and in addition to his Fellowship will be supporting inventory management, volunteer programming and teacher shops. “I knew I wanted to work for a nonprofit with a real heart for the people it serves. I love how we have a robust volunteer program for young adults with special needs and I am excited to help develop that further,” shares Pendergrass, “I am so thankful to be part of this organization and I look forward to learning and growing during my time here.”
“Eula possessed so many strong leadership skills and at the heart of all she did, she believed in and cared for each person who she met, and always put children first,” shares friend and Fellowship Investor Cynthia Almodóvar. “I am so pleased that this ethos and these ideas will be passed on to the next generation of nonprofit leaders in our community through the Free 2 Teach Fellowship.”