YANA Panel Discussion:
Fighting Inequality: The Unique Role of Philanthropic Foundations

This program explored the role that foundations play in fighting inequality. We heard from four experts (and Yale alums) who are leading the charge, as they share their perspectives — and how their viewpoints have evolved, based on the changing landscape.

Tuesday, November 12
The Lycée Français, New York


YANA Convenes Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leaders

In a first-of-its-kind event, on November 12 YANA brought together four Yale alumni who hold leadership positions at major foundations, along with an audience of over 200 nonprofit and philanthropic professionals who gathered at the Lycée Français in New York. The result? A remarkably candid and thought-provoking  conversation focused on “Fighting Inequality: The Unique Role of Philanthropic Foundations.”

YANA chair Ken Inadomi welcomed attendees, noting that “convening” is one of the three pillars of YANA’s approach to catalyzing social impact by alumni. The event’s headliners were Don Chen, president of Surdna Foundation; Hilary Pennington, executive vice president of Ford Foundation; and Mariko Silver, President & CEO of Henry Luce Foundation. Maxim Thorne, managing director of the Andrew Goodman Foundation, moderated the panel discussion and engaged the audience in a sustained, lively dialogue for 90 minutes.

The questions posed and addressed—by the panelists, the moderator, and audience members—focused on a cluster of issues related to persistent inequality in American society and the response of institutional philanthropy to it. In addition to discussing their foundations’ grantmaking strategies, commitment to diversity and inclusion in their hiring and whether their endowment investments are aligned with their giving strategies, panelists also talked about their personal journeys through nonprofit and philanthropic careers. They were generous in their advice to audience members who were seeking guidance as they start out on their careers.



Don Chen
President, Surdna Foundation

Hilary Pennington
Executive Vice President, Ford Foundation

Mariko Silver
President & CEO, Henry Luce Foundation

Maxim Thorne, Moderator
Managing Director, Andrew Goodman Foundation

* * *

Panelist Bios

Event Photos

Hosted by the Yale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance,
with support from the Yale Alumni Association (YAA)