June 6, 2024


Climate Change: Hope & Action

TOMORROW, June 7 | 6:00 PM ET // 3:00 PM PT via Zoom

An essential conversation on climate change and initiatives to safeguard human health featuring leaders from the Yale Center on Climate Change and Health, the California Department of Justice, and the Skyline Foundation. This event is sponsored by the YANA Bay Area Chapter and the Yale Club of San Francisco and is available online.

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. 

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! This summer, YANA will host its first-ever Board Matching Night, in which organizations seeking to fill board vacancies can “pitch” to our global alumni audience. To apply to present your organization, please tell us about your nonprofit’s mission and your Board needs.

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.


Pursuing a Career in Philanthropy and Securing Large Grants: Advice from BUILD Director Kathy Reich ’93

“Can you share with us ABCs of how to approach a foundation like Ford for funding?” YANA CEO and Founder Ken Inadomi ‘76 asked BUILD Director Kathy Reich ‘93 near the end of YANA’s April Town Hall. Reich sighed audibly before conceding that the process of accessing grant money is often “hard and opaque.” The best way in, according to Reich, is through colleagues at organizations funded by Ford. This is often referred to as a “warm introduction,” as opposed to cold calling, which may work in sales, but not in corporate or large-scale philanthropy.

There are, however, things a nonprofit leader can do to prepare a pitch likely to attract interest. First, prospective grantee partners need to have a power and systems change analysis that aligns with the foundation from which they hope to receive funding. What are the political systems that affect lives and how might these change as a result of a nonprofit’s work? Second, the organization must center the voices of those affected by the problems at hand, which returns us to the idea of “proximate leadership” (see Part II, Benefits of Trust-Based Philanthropy: Two Examples from the Ford Foundation’s BUILD Program). 

The next requirement may seem obvious but is often underappreciated as a condition for funding: an organization needs “to be good at what they do” and be able to explain their approach and way of looking at the problem in question. In keeping with her remarks about what makes BUILD’s funding model different, Reich was emphatic: “We don’t come in with our own metrics of success by which we judge an organization. We want to know how you measure success. It’s important that people asking for grants have a clear answer to that question.” Along these lines, an organization “needs to be well-managed or have a commitment to getting there.” Professional development, succession plans, boards, and financial planning aren’t generally what motivate people to get into social impact, but they’re the essential components of successful nonprofit work. 

Having attempted to demystify the process of tapping into funding, Reich offered advice to those contemplating careers in philanthropy. Twenty or so years ago, “a career in philanthropy” didn’t really exist, if by career you mean a paid position with a trajectory or potential for advancement. Most in the field fell into their role somewhat by accident, and nearly all were friends with a person or a family of extremely high net worth (not Reich’s path). Even today, the vast majority of people working at foundations didn’t receive specific training. 

Reich’s best advice is to do “a great job working at a nonprofit ” and then work for a funder with whom you’ve developed a relationship. Unfortunately, from Reich’s perspective,” most philanthropic organizations still hire for content expertise” (that is, someone familiar with the specific population an organization seeks to help or the particular problem it seeks to solve). “Personally, I feel [funders] should hire more generalists,” Reich said. Hands-on experience running a nonprofit and raising money should be a prerequisite for working for a foundation.” She also recommends “serving on a board–or two, or three” to see how nonprofits work from the inside but acknowledged that she preferred to serve on one board at a time. 

To judge by the vigorous nods in the 18th-floor conference room, Ken’s final question resonated deeply: “What would Kathy Reich tell her 22-year-old self?” “Do college over!” Reich joked, before offering a more serious answer: “I spent my 20s and early 30s on a narrow career path, convinced that if I stepped off this path, I wouldn’t be happy, or that I would disappoint others… I would have given myself more grace and freedom… to risk, travel, live abroad, and fail.”

Opportunity! Take the course…
Introduction to Negotiation: A Strategic Playbook for Becoming a Principled and Effective Negotiator

Have you encountered how crucial negotiation skills are for achieving your mission and goals as a social impact leader? This free, online course from Yale School of Management Professor Barry Nalebuff will better enable you to make principled arguments that persuade others. 

During the course, you will have several opportunities to negotiate with other students using case studies based on common situations in business and life. The cases also provide a setting to discuss a wide-ranging set of topics including preparing for a negotiation, making ultimatums, avoiding regret, expanding the pie, and dealing with someone who has a very different perspective on the world. Advanced topics include negotiating when you have no power, negotiating over email, and the role of gender differences in negotiation. To close out the course, we will hear insights from three negotiation experts: Linda Babcock, Herb Cohen, and John McCall MacBain.

This course has received a 4.9-star review with 4,815 reviews.


YANA Interim Executive Director Lisa Rieger ‘79 Reflects on Third Acts and Social Impact

I loved Yale. It was the only place I wanted to go to college, other than Oxford (which my parents felt was way too far from Los Angeles, where I grew up). Like two-thirds of Yale alumni, I have given my time, talent, and treasure to a range of social impact efforts since graduation. Having just attended my 45th reunion, it’s clear from the panels and tent conversation that many of us are reflecting on our lives and careers as we enter (if lucky) the final third of our lives. 

My first official foray into social impact (what we used to call public interest work) was as a public defender fresh out of law school. I thought I would one day work for the United Nations but fell in love with a man who is in love with Alaska. Switching gears, I began teaching at a state university, where I taught at the state university, where I researched how legal and social systems negatively affect low-income women and children. For the last two decades, I’ve worked alongside Alaska’s Native community in nonprofit leadership. I’ve also served on multiple local and state nonprofit boards. 

Imagine my surprise and delight when I happened upon YANA (the Yale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance), one of Yale’s over 400 shared interest groups.  I love YANA partly because it focuses more on what we’ve done since Yale than what we did when there. And it embodies the values and ethos I most associate with Yale: a commitment to leave the world better than we found it. 

As a woman now of a certain age, I particularly appreciate the intergenerational aspect of YANA. Yale graduates at every stage of life and career exchange ideas and information that transform a desire to do good into an ability to do good. I also love that YANA includes graduates from professional and graduate programs as well as Yale College, bringing a diversity of professional experience unique to YANA: lawyers, doctors, teachers, artists, scientists, businesspeople, civil servants, and the clergy, among others. I believe our generation has left quite a mess for our children and grandchildren, which makes it even more pressing to support efforts to transform outcomes for everyone. 

Many Yale graduates have volunteered time to nonprofits, even if they spent their careers entirely in the private sector. As family and career obligations lessen, people may be looking to increase their involvement with boards of causes about which they care about. I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to join this special community of alumni who take seriously Yale’s commitment to leaving this world a better place than how we found it.

It is in Yale’s DNA and the DNA of our organization to convene, connect, and collaborate. I’m reminded of the simple, profound admonition in Howard’s End: “Only connect.” Of course, we do more than connect, but that remains the foundation of all that YANA undertakes and accomplishes.

As our founder, Ken, emphasizes at the beginning of every month’s Town Hall in New York, YANA also stands for “You are not alone.” Together we’re building a community of like-minded, mission-driven alums. 

Among the ways YANA helps changemakers of every generation realize their visions: 

    • Fellowships, internships, introductions, and mentoring of Gen Z Yale graduates that help launch social impact careers.
    • Networking for Millennial and Gen Z leaders at the early stages and prime of nonprofit careers or switching from for-profit to non-profit, which connects them to the resources, best practices, and people they need to scale up their organizations and accelerate impact.
    • Opportunities for retired and semi-retired Boomers seeking meaningful ways to give back, whether through board service, advising, mentoring, or a combination of all three. Giving back, as Professor Laurie Santos has taught us, is one of the best hacks for happiness.

Please add your social impact story. Tell us about you and your work in a short video using this link.


Sindi Daci ‘24 is Founder and President of the YANA Student Chapter. The Economics and Data Science and Statistics double major interned for YANA in the summer of 2022, developing the board handbook and career guide. With the support of Rachel Littman ‘91, YANA’s former Executive Director, Sindi completed the necessary verification and onboarding steps required to establish a new extracurricular organization at Yale. This, along with her leadership roles at the Yale Journal of Medicine and Law and internship at the New York City Mayor’s office, solidified her belief that every action can be a catalyst for positive change and justice.

“I’m excited to intern at YANA again the summer before I begin law school,” she says. The Student Chapter focuses on “connecting, convening, and collaborating. “ Sindi believes that YANA offers students both tools and resources to channel their passion for social impact into concrete action.

As an official extracurricular at Yale, the YANA Student Chapter will continue under a new generation of leadership next year.