Institute Alumni Profiles: Amber Smith

Amber Smith was born in Boise, Idaho but has lived in Raleigh, North Carolina since she was nine years old. Amber took a six-year break between her sophomore and junior years at NC State. During that time, the Nonprofit Studies Minor had launched. Over those six years, Amber had developed her own nonprofit organization called Activate Good, where she currently serves as the Executive Director. Activate Good’s mission is to activate volunteers to help charitable causes in our local community. Upon returning to NC State, Amber wanted to gain a deeper understanding on how to be a social change leader, so she created a major through NC State’s Interdisciplinary Studies Program called Social Change Leadership. This is where she learned about the Nonprofit Studies Minor and she signed up immediately. She graduated from the program in 2009.

The NPS faculty member who had the biggest impact on Amber was COM 466 professor Mindy Sopher. Amber enjoyed the minor as it helped her to focus her collegiate studies on something that she was very passionate about, while also gaining the “business” and technical knowledge that she needed for her nonprofit organization to continue to be successful. She really enjoyed seeing how the nonprofit leadership challenges connected to the work that she was doing in her own nonprofit. She continues to utilize them by developing programming for Activate Good that addresses both the organization’s long term and short term goals. She also learned about how to better handle the intricacies of working with funders and volunteers through the minor.

Amber views the minor as a great investment, even for students who are not completely sure what career path they want to take. Her advice to current minor students when working with nonprofit organizations or when starting their own nonprofit is to have an open mind and to pay attention to the facts in order to prevent mission drift and best serve their community.


To learn more about Activate Good, please visit

To learn more about the Institute for Nonprofits storytelling project please contact Jaclyn Parker at

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