June 18, 2024


Live from NYC

YANA Town Halls provide an ideal opportunity for mission-driven alums to meet each other and exchange ideas and information to help achieve social impact. These events occur live at the Yale Club in New York City AND are accessible via Zoom. Join us from anywhere! 

If attending in person, join us after the program in the Main Lounge to convene and connect over cocktails. You don’t need to be a member of the Yale Club to join us! 

Register now for these upcoming events:

Town Hall – David McCullough III ’17, Co-Founder & CEO of the American Exchange Project

June 26 | 6:30pm ET – In-Person (Yale Club of NYC) & via Zoom

To connect our divided country, The American Exchange Project sends high school seniors on a free, week-long trip to a hometown very different from their own. In 2019, David McCullough co-founded AEP as a first-of-its-kind, cross-cultural exchange program for graduated high school seniors. AEP has been hailed as a domestic Peace Corps that is effectively bridging the gap and building greater understanding and empathy across class, cultural, racial, and geographical divides throughout our nation. In 2023, AEP partnered with 53 high schools in 31 states. American Exchange Project has raised more than $5 million and partnered with Harvard psychology researchers to study the program’s long-term impact. To learn more view the profile on AEP broadcast on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Town Hall – YANA Board Matching Night

July 31 | 6:30pm ET – In-Person (Yale Club of NYC) & via Zoom

Speed dating for nonprofit organizations and prospective Board members! YANA will host its first-ever Board Matching Night, in which organizations seeking to fill board vacancies can “pitch” to our global alumni audience. Applications are due July 1, 5PM PT.

Save the Date – Friday, October 25 – for Two Exceptional Events!

Join us at the Yale Club in NYC for our second annual Social Impact Conference, Magnifying Your Mission, AND our Generation-to-Generation Awards Luncheon, a fundraising celebration recognizing inspiring lives of impact.

This year we will honor three notable change makers:

Hilary Pennington ‘77, SOM ’83

Hilary Pennington ‘77, SOM ’83

Executive Vice-President of Global Programs, Ford Foundation

Demetris Giannoulias ’94

Demetris Giannoulias ’94

CEO, Spring Bank, NY

Caroline Tanbee Smith ’14

Caroline Tanbee Smith ’14

Co-Founder of Collab and Alderman, City of New Haven

Save the Date! It will be a day filled with educational insights, inspiration, and networking with speakers and Yale alumni working towards positive transformation across a wide spectrum of social enterprise initiatives.

More details to follow.


Yale’s 24th President, Maurie McInnis, Unites Scientific Innovation with Humanism for the Common Good

It’s easy to see why the former SUNY Stony Brook president Maurie McInnis was the Yale Board of Trustees’ unanimous choice to become Yale’s 24th president. As Josh Bekenstein ‘80 put it: “Since her graduation from Yale, [Maurie] McInnis has demonstrated an unshakeable commitment to education and research for the common good.” “Common good,” like “social impact,” can feel hollow. People pursue careers in education because they believe it has social benefit. (It’s certainly not for the money.) But even among university presidents, Maurie McInnis’ career stands out as a shining example of service and a commitment to transformational, real world change.

In 2022, President McInnis became a Yale trustee (a volunteer position) while presiding over a world-class research university.  She also shared oversight responsibilities at Brookhaven National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy facility for particle physics and nuclear energy, data, and quantum information sciences, which plays a vital role in furthering economic development on Long Island. As if this were not enough, President McInnis oversaw Stony Brook Medicine, Long Island’s premier academic medical center and served as inaugural board chair of the New York Climate Exchange, forging an historic partnership to develop equitable climate solutions that can be scaled and applied globally.

In just four short years, President McInnis secured a $500 million gift from the Simons Foundation (the largest-ever unrestricted endowment gift to a university in American history) and launched the $75 million President’s Innovation and Excellence Fund (PIE), to enhance externally funded research on campus, and launched the Stony Brook Simons STEM Scholars Program in May 2022 (made possible by a $56.6 million gift).

President McInnis demonstrates a rare ability to collaborate with nonprofit organizations, businesses, and community leaders to create lasting change within and beyond the institutions she leads.  BNL employs more than 2,500 full-time local residents and hosts over 5,000 visiting researchers. Beyond the hundreds of millions in federal funding coming to Long Island, BNL has made New York a leader in innovation. Historically, the relationship between Yale and New Haven has been fraught. “Town/gown” relations have undeniably improved (thanks in no small part to Dwight Hall’s efforts). It’s hard to imagine a candidate more qualified than President McInnis to continue building a mutually beneficial relationship between Yale and New Haven. 

Advancing access, opportunity, and social mobility for all students, particularly those pursuing STEM careers, was a priority for President McInnis at Stony Brook, where 20% of the student body comes from underrepresented minority students and 33% of undergraduates are both Pell Grant-eligible and first-generation college students.

President McInnis’ accomplishments would be astonishing even for a world-class scientist. For a cultural historian with a doctorate in art history (Y ‘96), they defy belief. Search committee member Daniel Colón-Ramos, the Dorys McConnell Duberg Professor of Neuroscience and Cell Biology at FAS and director of Wu Tsai Institute’s Center for Neurodevelopment and Plasticity, described McInnis as “a humanist with a deep understanding and appreciation for the sciences.”

Jacqueline Goldsby, the Thomas E.Donnelly Professor of African American Studies and of English (as well as professor of American Studies in FAS), agreed: “McInnis comes to the job as a practicing humanist in all dimensions… She has an impressive ability to balance fostering scientific innovation with advancing humanistic inquiry at an impressive scale.”

Nurses Lead the Way: Yale School of Nursing Dean Azita Emami ‘s Mission to Achieving Better U.S. Health Outcomes

Dr Azita Emami, who just marked her first year as Dean of Yale School of Nursing Dean, opened YANA’s May 29th Town Hall at the Yale Club of New York by asking what attendees regarded as the most pressing problems of the American healthcare system. Answers ranged from catastrophic (inequality and affordability) to irritating and counterproductive (lack of data sharing). But all agreed that the post-pandemic, American healthcare is in crisis.

Known as an international advocate for expanding nursing’s role in primary care and making diversity, equity, and inclusion a priority at schools of nursing, Dr Emami’s mission is simple but far from easy: better care for all. Her compassion and gentleness are palpable, even as she rattles off disturbing statistics about America’s healthcare failures and what she sees as the sources of those failures.

Dr. Emami received her training in Sweden, where she moved from her native Iran, before moving to the United States 16 years ago. She brings a global perspective to her extensive research and stresses the importance of cross-cultural care and the development of cultural competence in clinical nursing.

The “greatest tragedy” is that the US spends between 18% and 23% of its GDP on healthcare yet has the worst outcomes in the developed world. By contrast, England spends 10% and Sweden 11%. The best medical research comes out of the US but this research isn’t being implemented at home; it gets exported to other countries, where clinicians await the latest discoveries with great anticipation. 

The failure to invest in prevention is another major cause of poor outcomes relative to expenditures. In Sweden, 80% of medical care is preventative. Just 20% is the treatment of disease treatment. In a for-profit healthcare system, there is little incentive to focus on prevention.

The example of Swedish dental care illustrates the power of prevention. In the 1940s, dental health in Sweden was shockingly bad. The government asked dentists to spend at least 50% of their time educating patients about proper dental care beginning in toddlerhood. By the 1980s, dental health had improved so much that dentists migrated to England in search of work. In Cuba, medical care is a communal effort. Primary health centers are ubiquitous and doctors know their patients. The “social determinants of health” are crucial, in Dr. Emami’s view. All the medical literature confirms that effective treatment depends upon doctors having a full picture of patients’ lives, yet in the US, doctors may spend as little as five minutes learning a patient’s health history. 

As Dean of Yale School of Nursing, Dr. Emami hopes to train leaders, as well as clinicians, who can advocate for patients. Unfortunately, there is a serious nursing shortage in the US because not enough spots exist in nursing school for all who wish to enroll.  This, in turn, stems from a shortage of nursing professors. It’s difficult to attract nurses to academia because they earn less than their clinical counterparts and because they must have doctorates. And unlike other academic disciplines like history or biology, nursing doctorates are not funded by the institution. Currently, 20 students in every Yale School of Nursing class of 400 attend for free. 

The shortage of primary care physicians in America is even more dire. With just 300,000 practicing in the US, nurses are in a position to provide essential care, particularly in states where nurse practitioners are allowed to practice with the scope of doctors (currently 26 states allow this). 

Dr. Emami explained that the Yale School of Nursing is a self-sustained school, which means that it is tuition-dependent. (This came as a surprise to Town Hall attendees.) A campaign is underway to raise $50 million, which Yale University has agreed to match (but only if the campaign reaches its goal). The average debt incurred by a nursing student is $109,000 (just for tuition, not living expenses).

Paying nursing professors more and allowing those who wish to earn doctorates and pursue careers in academia is essential.  This is in keeping with Yale School of Nursing’s history as the first nursing school to provide academic training to its students. Historically, nursing was purely clinical. 

The nursing profession faces daunting challenges, but Dr. Emami is hopeful: “There are so many people who care. The passion in these young students who want to change the world gives us faith. I never want to be anywhere else.”

Transforming Nonprofits: The Impact of AI on Efficiency and Engagement

Nonprofit organizations are increasingly leveraging generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) to enhance their impact and efficiency. It is transforming the landscape of nonprofit digital communications to generate valuable insights and improve engagement with audiences.

AI data analysis tools are being used to better understand and predict donor behavior, optimize fundraising campaigns, and personalize communication with supporters. And AI-driven chatbots provide instant support to beneficiaries and streamline administrative tasks, allowing nonprofits to focus more resources on their core missions.

AGI or Artificial General Intelligence, is a more advanced form of AI that would possess the ability to understand, learn, and apply knowledge across a wide range of tasks at a level comparable to human intelligence.

While true AGI does not yet exist, its potential applications are vast and could revolutionize fields such as scientific research, creative arts, and complex problem-solving, essentially transforming how we interact with technology and address societal challenges. But in the meantime, there are exciting opportunities using GenAI.

We’d like to know if and how you are using AI. PLEASE TAKE THIS SURVEY

And…to learn how Yale alumni are leveraging AI for nonprofit organizations, read how Chorus AI (co-founded by Sam Landenwitsch ‘06) supercharges marketing communications by monitoring digital media, creating content, and driving engagement with one-click, making nonprofits more efficient and effective.

Additionally, Pauli Xu ’18, DIV ’23. will present How GenAI Can Help Nonprofits to the Nonprofit Leaders’ Consortium on Friday, June 21. 

The Nonprofit Leaders Consortium is an opportunity for Executive Directors to share challenges and learn from each other and from experts on topics ranging from building their board, to creating a sense of belonging and community, and diversifying your revenue streams. 

Would you like to join the Consortium? Please contact Rachel Littman for more information.


Exciting Volunteer Opportunities at YANA!

YANA is seeking volunteers to help us expand services offered to our network. Sitting at the hub of so many people and organizations it has become increasingly clear that we can do more to help alumni connect and collaborate.

We need volunteers to help with three important initiatives.

Board Matching

Many alumni in our network are looking for meaningful engagement and have immense talent, skills, and passion that could be brought to bear on smaller and growing nonprofits who need them. Volunteers are needed to assist in identifying nonprofit board opportunities (in coordination with YANA’s Board Chair and NYC Chapter leader, Ken Inadomi).

Job Search

We would also like to offer reliably sourced job opportunities beyond what might appear in more public job boards to those in our network who might be looking for rewarding opportunities. Volunteers are needed to assist with collecting and curating postings of social sector job openings.

YANAconsults Mentoring Progam

We are building our nonprofit Roundtables into a more robust Nonprofit Mentoring/Consulting Program and need volunteers for internal project management: These volunteers will

    • Respond to and interview Roundtable organizations who have submitted projects
    • Respond to and interview individuals who have indicated they have expert skills to offer
    • Help Nonprofits selected for Roundtables prepare Needs Assessment Form, distribute to Volunteer Experts
    • Collect and distribute Volunteer Expert headshots, bios prior to each Roundtable
    • Manage Roundtable logistics, share recording with participants, provide written summary with curated list of references and resources to org
    • Follow up collecting Impact Assessment from nonprofits and help with 1:1 calls with nonprofit and volunteers at scheduled times after each Roundtable

If you are interested in being part of these dynamic and exciting opportunities to scale YANA’s work and engage even more alumni and related nonprofits, please contact Rachel Littman ‘91.


Meet the YANA-Dwight Hall Fellows

Thanks to your generosity, we are funding six YANA-Dwight Hall Fellows this summer! These Yale students will gain valuable career experiences while assisting six nonprofit organizations in the U.S. A win-win for all! Meet the Fellows!

Taylor Carroll ’24

Taylor Carroll ’24

New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church & Breakthrough Charities (Chicago, IL)

Renee Deminne ’24

Renee Deminne ’24

New Haven Peoples Center (New Haven, CT)

Nasra Hassan ’25

Nasra Hassan ’25

Blanchard House Institute (National)

Jenny Huang ’25

Jenny Huang ’25

Arizona Courts Project (Arizona)

Merit Onyekwere ’26

Merit Onyekwere ’26

SalivaDirect, Yale School of Public Health (New Haven, CT)

Emma Polinsky ’25

Emma Polinsky ’25

Climate Program Office, NOAA (Silver Spring, MD)