YANA Virtual Town Hall

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

This YANA town hall featured inspiring updates from a special group of proactive leaders each responding to COVID-19 in their unique way. Six alums, a graduating senior, and a Yale parent described how they and their organizations have remained true to mission while developing innovative strategies for dealing with the crisis. The densely-packed program was filled with insights from a range of type and age of nonprofit — from startup American Exchange Project to long-time social impact leader Harlem Children’s Zone.


  • Rachel Littman ‘91 (YANA Executive Director)
  • Ethan Heard YC ‘07, YSD ‘13, Faculty (Founding Co-Artistic Director, Heartbeat Opera)
  • Aaron Shipp ‘96 (Founder & CEO, Y-Apply)
  • David McCullough III ‘17 (Founder, American Exchange Project)
  • Frank Raffaele ‘95 (YANA Founding Board Member; Founder, COFFEED)
    • From his evolutionary biology background from Yale, he sees the current COVID-19 crisis 10x bigger than the ‘08/’09 financial crisis, Occupy Wall Street, or 9/11. It’s certainly an “exogenous shock” that forces change in society and the social impact sector that will force many to die off, but some to adapt, survive, scale, and thrive, thereby achieving “punctuated equilibrium” in the social impact space.
  • Betina Jean-Louis PhD ‘99 (Sr. Managing Director of Research & Data Support, Harlem Children’s Zone)
  • Grace Jin ‘20 (YANA-Dwight Hall 2020 Summer Fellow with GetUsPPE)

Spotlight featured Jeannie Blaustein PhD, D. Ministry, Yale Parent ’20 & Founding Board Chair of Reimagine End of Life, a nonprofit focusing on the exploration of death and celebration of life through creativity and conversation. Drawing on the arts, spirituality, healthcare, and design, they host festivals that break down taboos and bring diverse communities together in wonder, preparation, and remembrance.

To hear from our speakers directly and learn more about their work and stories, check out this short video.