Student Spotlight with Chelsea Brown

Mandisa Thomas
June 7, 2023
Alumni Stories

Chelsea Brown, MPM a current student in our Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy. She is the founder and principal of The Black Mill, a consulting firm dedicated to promoting equity-focused initiatives on a global scale.

Chelsea Discusses Her Social Impact Background

I am Chelsea Brown, and my social impact work has been a driving force in my life. With a background in nonprofit management, I have spent more than eight years dedicated to philanthropy, fundraising, sponsorships, and grantmaking. What truly fuels my passion is the desire to bring diversity and inclusion to the world of philanthropy.

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Chelsea Brown

Over the years, my commitment to this cause has been recognized through various accolades and scholarships. Being selected as a Forbes Under 30 Scholar and a Philanthropy Fellow at the University of Maryland’s Do-Good Institute opened doors for me to explore the profound impact of philanthropy, social innovation, and leadership. These experiences deepened my understanding of the importance of diverse perspectives in creating meaningful change. As an advocate for community engagement, I have actively served on numerous boards, including the Winthrop University Foundation Board of Directors. My role as the Corporate Purpose Specialist at the Nasdaq Foundation and Corporate Engagement Specialist with Exelon allowed me to support grants administration and develop corporate social responsibility strategies. These experiences provided me with a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of the nonprofit sector and the power of strategic partnerships.

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Chelsea Brown speaking at Convening

Driven by my passion for change, I founded The Black Mill, a consulting firm focused on coordinating cross-functional efforts to drive engagement, programs, and partnerships with nonprofit and for-profit organizations globally. Through The Black Mill, I have provided grantmaking and grant-writing support to impactful organizations such as the Black and Missing Foundation, The Upwork Foundation, and the Baltimore Legacy Builders Collective. My dedication to making a difference was recognized when I was honored with the 2022 BGE Energizing Small Business Grant. This grant has allowed me to expand The Black Mill’s reach and offer sponsorship and partnership strategies for large-scale cultural events and organizations. It’s incredibly fulfilling to know that my work is being acknowledged and supported, enabling me to have an even greater impact on the communities I serve. My educational background has also played a crucial role in shaping my social impact journey. I hold a Master of Public Management from the University of Maryland, where I received the Millard E. Tydings Regents Fellowship Fund. Additionally, I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from Winthrop University.

Takeaways from Convening

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Chelsea bonding with cohort members

I had the opportunity to connect with classmates during the in-person convening in Philadelphia, where I met amazing women of color in the nonprofit and corporate social responsibility space in the program. I learned that my questions and concerns in the social impact sector aren’t only happening with me but that the dedication to encouraging more diversity and inclusion in the sector is happening with other women of color in the field–and while it is an honor to hold positions within the space and bring others in, the burden of dealing with our own workplace and racial trauma is constant. During my discussions with the women, I learned the importance of prioritizing self-care in the space and lifting while we climb through supporting other women of color to continue and take up space in the field.

Advice for Future Applicants

I would have never been connected to this program had it not been for a CSIS alumna taking the opportunity to tell me more about it. I encourage all applicants to utilize your resources and find people who have graduated or are currently in the program–I learned so much about how the learnings directly align with my passion and goals–which, in turn, helped me to better format my application to highlight the connection.

We are thankful Chelsea shared her story! Follow our page to hear from more brilliant Changemakers. Looking to learn more about our Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy(SIS)? Sign up for our summer information sessions or watch previous recordings from last year.

SIS graduates are eligible to apply to the Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership (NPL) in an accelerated, on-campus, or online format. The NPL program is a ten-credit master’s program; SIS Alumni must complete six credits to graduate.

Applications for the 2024 Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy will go live this summer. Follow our page for the official launch and other important information!