Turning your Passion into a Movement (Lynn Margherio)

August 2023

Starting a successful nonprofit often begins by transforming a passion project into a well-defined organization. But how do you turn that project into an actual movement? In episode #221 of Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership, Founder and CEO of the national nonprofit Cradles to CrayonsLynn Margherio shares just how she's created a movement from her personal mission to end clothing insecurity.  She shares her 5 keys to building a movement and how she's activated the corporate community to engage them in her cause. Lynn discusses the staff and volunteer networks she's built, her approach to strategic planning, and most importantly, knowing how and when to scale into new markets.   

"Don't assume your good ideas are happening somewhere else." 



A leader in the fields of social justice and children's issues, Lynn Margherio is the Founder and CEO of Cradles to Crayons. She leads this national nonprofit with Giving Factories® in Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia, and an online donation platform, Giving Factory Direct®, serving NYC and the San Francisco Bay Area. The largest national nonprofit with Clothing Insecurity at the core of its mission, Cradles to Crayons provides children living in low-income and homeless situations with clothing and other everyday essentials--diapers, winter coats, shoes, hygiene items, backpacks, and more. Lynn launched Cradles to Crayons in 2002, and to date, the organization has distributed more than 4 million packages to kids' birth through age 12. Under Lynn's leadership, the organization has successfully fulfilled the needs of millions of children and connected more than half a million volunteers to meaningful engagement opportunities and donation experiences, mobilizing people of all ages in communities all over the country. In her role as CEO, Lynn directs all aspects of the organization including strategic planning, operations, fundraising, brand/marketing, product acquisition, external relations and ongoing collaboration with both national and local Boards of Directors.  She has led multiple successful capital campaigns raising millions of dollars to fund expansion and has steered the organization through major relocations and organizational restructurings. She is spearheading a national expansion campaign to serve the more than 20 million children across the U.S. who are Clothing Insecure. A graduate of Georgetown University, Lynn completed the Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management program at Harvard Business School.