Finalist Profile: Dave Neff

United Way's ELEVATE Nonprofit Professional of the Year Finalist Dave Neff

Want to know what a bias for action looks like? Keep an eye on Dave Neff, CEO of Edge Mentoring. He started as Edge’s first employee back in 2014 and has led the organization to what his board calls “exponential growth” during his tenure. 

Since its inception, EDGE has helped more than 1,000 mentors and mentees make meaningful connections, and served many more through EDGE | X, their mentoring conference. For his track record growing the organization, Neff received an incredible 4 nominations for ELEVATE’s Nonprofit Leader of the Year Award.

Neff’s drive comes from a reality he sees every day. “We just completed some strategic planning, and in our research, we found Millennials are more lonely than senior citizens. That was stunning. We see that – young professionals hungry for not just professional guidance, but spiritual dialogue and a more personal connection.” This explains the unique EDGE approach for whole life mentoring.

With the successful mentor and mentee matching program underway, Neff kept going. He says he’s a big fan of getting things done, rather than getting them perfect. This bias toward action may have all started with his early career in sales and marketing with the Pacers. He still uses the phrase “shots on goal” to track progress toward goals. Among recent achievements, he helped launch EDGE at Work, a program that brings EDGE to the workplace where coworkers can grow together, has experimented with new mentorship models that allow people to choose their level of involvement. The name of the game: removing barriers to connecting people through mentorship.

Now, he is encouraging mentees to find their own way to pay it forward through service projects. And he’s looking at big milestones for the future too, with plans to continue adding mentors and even growing an imprint in another city.

Neff is quick to pay it forward himself. He gives a lot of credit for his own success to one of his mentors, Jeff Simmons from Elanco, a connection he made during his tenure with the Pacers.

“Nobody is self made. We all need a little help.”

Mentoring is one piece of the puzzle in Dave’s work to strengthen Central Indiana. His other volunteer efforts at Shepherd Community Center support breaking the cycle of poverty. “The last thing we want is to be a city of Haves and Have-Nots. How do we continue to find ways to come together and collaborate? I think a rising tide lifts all boats, and we must find a way to lift up others in our community.”

Congrats on your nomination, Dave, and here’s to many more shots on goal!

EDGE Mentoring is proud to recognize David Neff as a game changer in the community.

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