Brittany Porrazzo has been dedicated to community service since her days as the vice president of the service club at her high school in Madison, Wisconsin. As a teen she connected over 200 service club members to organizations in the community and her ambitions have only grown from there.

After graduating from Vanderbilt University in 2014, Brittany wanted to try something different.
“I had gone to a good school and gotten good grades, and the expectation then was that I would graduate and get a good job,” she said. “Serving my community was more important than following the traditional path to success.”

Instead of working, Brittany dedicated her first year out of college to volunteering full-time, beginning with a bike co-op in Madison before she landed a gig at Free Arts Minnesota. “Arts have always been an important part of my life, so I was naturally drawn to their mission of connecting youth who have experienced trauma to arts programs in the Twin Cities,” she said.

Brittany joined the Hiawatha Academies team through a yearlong fellowship with New Sector Alliance, a program that matches highly-skilled new professionals to careers in the social sector. Fellows serve full-time building a nonprofit organization’s capacity and participate in training, mentoring and coaching activities.

At Hiawatha Academies, Brittany organizes information in databases related to scholar enrollment and testing, as well as data from the organization’s various feedback surveys. Her job is crucial in an organization that prides itself on using data to drive decision-making.

In her free time, Brittany enjoys running, and is not discouraged by Minnesota’s arctic, sometimes sub-zero winters. She is also a skilled at woodworking and enjoys making everything from bookshelves to jewelry. “For me, woodworking is like a form of meditation,” Brittany said. “I can sand a piece of wood for hours. It’s my zen; it is what I enjoy.”