Helene Kahn

Manager of Partnership Development and Volunteer Recruitment

Thread, Inc.

Baltimore, MD


Tell us about your day-to-day work.

I am responsible for recruiting, onboarding, and training volunteers and cultivating meaningful partnerships.

What do you look for in volunteers or partners?

The vision at Thread is about changing power dynamics in society. We look for partnerships where we create a healthy dynamic- where both parties can grow because of the other. When recruiting volunteers, we ask candidates to think about their intersection of being happy, high-performing, and serving the greater good. We look at the volunteer’s experience and background in order to figure out the best way for them to engage with the organization- we want to find them a home in our community that will serve their needs as well as ours.


What impact do you see that Thread has on the community?

The impact can be measured in a lot of ways, but there is a significant impact on the individuals’ lives in our community that can’t be measured. We uniquely enroll students in 3 Baltimore City High Schools who are ranked in the lowest 25% of their freshmen class. Less than 10% of these students are expected to graduate from High school. 91% of our students enrolled in Thread for 5 years have graduated from high school. 100% of our students have been retained to the 10 year program. What is more important than those numbers is the ability for our young people to build social capital- to make connections  and create a community that is no longer defined by a map. Additionally, the change and growth that we see in our volunteers is amazing. To see people develop greater empathy, to create greater understanding, to push themselves out of their comfort zones: this is the most exciting part of all of our work. The more we can influence  the adults in our community, the more we can support our young people.


What advice do you have for people who want to work in the nonprofit field?

First of all, you need to advocate for yourself. In the nonprofit and social impact world, there’s a sense that you need to push yourself to a place that is unsustainable and unhealthy. People often feel underpaid and overworked. But, in order to take care of others, you need to first take care of yourself. My second piece of advice is to collaborate- you can learn a lot from the other people in the field and share valuable resources and knowledge across organizations – it’s not a competition!.


What, if any, social impact organizations are you involved with outside of work?

You have to practice what you preach! I serve on the Young Adult Leadership Board, IMPACT, for the Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and chair a program called CHAT (Conversations Happening Around Town) that connects young jewish professionals in the Baltimore area. I serve on the advisory board for Baltimore Corps, which pairs talented young people with high-impact organizations.
Learn more and get involved with Thread here.

Claire Stack


Claire Stack is a events and volunteer management professional working in higher education and based in New York City. Claire is a graduate of Cornell University with a degree in Theater and Psychology. She is passionate about women's causes, the arts, and education.

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