YANA’s inaugural  spring conference kicked off with a reception at the Yale Club on Friday, April 4th. Bill Drayton, founder and CEO of Ashoka, gave a rousing opening speech, declaring, “If kids don’t learn and practice cognitive empathy, they’ll never have a productive place in 21st century society.”

The capacity crowd on Saturday included current and prospective board members, as well as individuals  just starting their nonprofit careers, considering a career change or exploring the possibility of starting their own ventures.
Highlights included:

  • Keynotes by Liz Maw, CEO of Net Impact, and Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO of the Nonprofit Finance Fund
  • Panels on topics including branding, framing an organization’s story, fundraising fundamentals, and evaluating impact
  • SHOWDOWN competition: 6 social entrepreneurs competed for 2 slots in a series of 90-second pitches. YANA announced the two winners on April 10th:  Equitable Communities, led by Kimberly Bliss (providing financial literacy resources to students and families living in Red Hook) and Students for Service, led by Katherine Soll (teaching hydroponic indoor farming to teens in Bed Stuy). In the next few months, YANA is committed to providing the winners with assistance in shaping their social enterprise value proposition as well as creating opportunities for them to present their initiatives to the global YANA network.

Maxim Thorne, Executive Vice President of Development at the Paley Center for Media, closed with a rousing call to arms to convert ideas into meaningful action.

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