Discussion Panel: “It Takes a Village” Collective Impact, Youth Empowerment, and Social Justice

April 25, 2019
San Francisco, CA

On April 25, YANA-Bay Area hosted a discussion panel and conversation about Collective Impact—the principle that addressing complex social issues requires multiple actors to commit to a common agenda. The guest speakers discussed how this principle guides their work.


Scott Clarke (YC ’02), the Founder of Amandla Development, a nonprofit focusing on the cradle-to-career transition in Philippi township outside of Cape Town, South Africa, led a panel discussion of how the action-organizing idea of “collective action.” Scott described the steps that he had taken through Amandla Development to empower children to realize their full potential through the creation of an ecosystem that supports children as they take charge of their educational journey and grow into productive members of society.  Scott described his work in Philippi of partnering with township principals, teachers and students and with participating NGOs to provide a holistic approach to provide safe spaces and mentorship that enable students to thrive and mature.

The collective impact model focuses on five elements to achieve large-scale social change: a common agenda, a shared measurement system, mutually reinforcing activities, constant communication, and dedicated “backbone support” form independent organizations.  Mark Kramer, the managing director of FSG, a consultancy to nonprofits, who is one of the originators of this approach, discussed the model and the steps that Scott and other organizations could take to create a virtuous feedback system that produced positive social outcomes. For those wanting more details, see “Collective Impact” in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (free) or “The Ecosystem of Shared Value” in Harvard Business Review October 2016 issue.  He discussed with Scott the steps that he had taken to ensure a success in Philippi.

Dr. Elena Labrada (YC ’86), a specialist in child and adolescent mental health, discussed the work that she and other participants in the Yale Alumni Service Corps, in conjunction with local health officials, had done in Philippi township during a 2018 trip to South Africa.  Doctor Labrada described how the local health officials, working with the Yale volunteers and using the Amandla Development social infrastructure, were able to conduct 1500 ear screenings in five days, ten times the amount conducted in the previous year.

Eric Nee, the Editor-in-Chief of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, moderated the discussion.  In addition, he distributed copies of the review to audience members, who found it packed with ideas that nonprofits can use.

About 24 Yalies attended the YANA event, which included an hour of socializing and networking over light refreshments. The Bay Area chapter is incorporating a social dimension to all its events to strengthen the bonds linking alumni active in the non-profit arena.

From Left Tim Sullivan, Mark Kramer, Scott Clarke (YC'02). Elena Labrada (YC'86) and Eric Nee

About the Speakers:

  • Scott Clarke (YC ’02) is the Founder and Director of Amandla Development, a nonprofit organization in Philippi Township, Cape Town. Amandla Development, in operation for over 10 years, has developed a cross-sector collective of community leaders to improve the life circumstances and futures of children and adolescents.
  • Mark Kramer is a leading researcher and consultant on philanthropy and corporate social engagement. He has written about Collective Impact, Creating Social Value, and Catalytic Philanthropy for the Harvard Business Review and Stanford Social Innovation Review. Mark is a co-founder of FSG, a global social impact consulting firm, as well as of the Shared Value Initiative and the Collective Impact Forum. Mark is a Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Business School and at Haas Business School at UC-Berkeley.
  • Elena Labrada, MD (YC ’86) is a specialist in child and adolescent mental health in Menlo Park. She was a member of the Yale Alumni Service Corps trip to Philippi Township.
  • Eric Nee will moderate the conversation.  Eric is the editor-in-chief of the Stanford Social Innovation Review. SSIR produces a magazine, online articles, podcasts, videos, webinars and conferences for leaders of social change organizations.


Recap provided by Tim Sullivan, co-chair, YANA Bay Area