Our Newest Senior Shinnyo Fellow

August 27, 2015

Leif Erickson, Executive Director, Youth Community Service
Leif Erickson, Executive Director, Youth Community Service

Shinnyo-en Foundation is pleased to welcome our Senior Shinnyo Fellow, Leif Erickson. Leif is the Executive Director of Youth Community Service (YCS), which engages young people from diverse midpeninsula communities of the Bay Area in meaningful service-based learning. Leif has served in this position since April of 2004, and the Foundation has had the privilege of knowing and working with Leif and YCS since then. He previously worked for almost 25 years in corporate marketing in Silicon Valley’s high tech and biotech industries, but began volunteering with YCS in 1995 as a parent supporter of its youth programs.

Senior Shinnyo Fellows are individuals who model lives of compassion and service, and lead others by their own examples of walking their paths to peace at work and in daily life. They are considered to be exemplary leaders in the fields of service-learning, youth leadership development, and education. This position is voluntary and is awarded to individuals who, after a sustained relationship with the Foundation, have gained a considerable understanding of our mission. Senior Shinnyo Fellows are also familiar with the Shinnyo-en Buddhist Order and its values, and they are willing and prepared to represent the Foundation in a positive light.

Leif with youthLeif has been a long-time advocate of the Foundation’s peace initiative, Infinite Paths to Peace, and incorporates the initiative in his work at YCS, encouraging youth to discover their own unique passions and strengths, and ultimately supporting youth to define their paths to peace. Leif is a humble and generous leader, always willing to share his wisdom with colleagues and the next generation of leaders. He has been a resource to the Foundation’s grantees, such as The School Fund, as well as to Shinnyo-en Youth Association members, who were looking for guidance and support in the nonprofit field.

Leif joins Nan Peterson and Steve Herrera as a Senior Shinnyo Fellow, and the Foundation recognized them at our 2015 Annual Retreat in Marshall, CA. Even after attending every year for over a decade, all three continue coming to the Retreat with exuberance and eagerness to learn from others. Without their participation, our Retreat wouldn’t be the same! Nan is the Director of Service Learning at The Blake School in Minneapolis, MN. Steve is an educator at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, CA, and the Co-director of the Teen Interfaith Leadership Council of Santa Clara County. All three Fellows have been significant contributors to the Foundation’s work and provide critical advice to what we do. They illustrate what partnership and collaboration between the Foundation and its grantees can look like, and we hope to continue looking to them for wisdom, well into the future.

Leif, Nan and Steve
Leif, Nan and Steve at the 2015 Annual Retreat