March 30, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of the YANA Community:

Part of YANA’s mission is bringing together the social impact community to share ideas, best practices, and experiences. When we can’t do this in person, we go online to speak and see each other virtually. We often record these conversations and presentations for posterity.

Like many of you, I have received hundreds of emails and virtual meeting invitations these past few weeks. Not that I needed another webinar on my calendar, or to sit at my desk again until my fitness watch repeatedly beeped me to “Stand Up!”, but I decided to take some time this weekend to participate in a virtual conference hosted by Limmud.org , an international Jewish learning charity based in the UK. I am not particularly religious and, frankly, am a little tired of staring at my computer screen all day, but I joined for several reasons. First, because my friend, colleague, and unofficial spiritual/intellectual advisor, Rabbi Elan Babchuck (who runs another nonprofit Glean and has hosted one of YANA’s social innovation webinars ), asked. Second, as a Yalie — and who I am — I hate to pass up an opportunity to study and to learn.

And learn I did. Or perhaps it was more of a reminder than anything else. So allow me to share.

I have never formally studied Talmud, the millenia-old text of rabbinical and scholarly debates and commentary around the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) and related rules and laws. But I realized that YANA practices its teachings every day. One Talmudic lesson (though I know this is not singular to the Jewish tradition) I learned (or was reminded of) this weekend is the obligation to disseminate and to teach “Torah,” particularly to those less-resourced or fortunate. I say “Torah” in quotes because the question really is about the legacy one wants to leave behind. We all work every day to help others, even — and especially — during this strange crisis. So, as the saying goes, “never let a good crisis go to waste.” 

Now is a good time to think about and act upon the question, “ what are the teachings and legacy that you and your organization want to leave behind, ” and how can you best do that?

Unless there is such improvement in the world that social and other services are no longer needed, a nonprofit organization will likely outlive all who work and volunteer for and within it. What can you do now to make sure your legacy passes on? Bring volunteer and education programs online? Reach out to your donors? Take a look at your Board and leadership succession plans? Create an investment committee and plan to start building a reserve fund? Review your original mission and Bylaws and discuss with your Board? In short, what is your “Torah”? 
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This is Ours

In a show of community strength, eighty-five people came together Wednesday evening for YANA’s first ever virtual town hall meeting. Yale alumni and students shared their resources, thoughts, and guidance for navigating the social impact space during the Coronavirus pandemic. Speakers included: Don Chen ‘89, FES ‘92 ( President , Surdna Foundation), Joellyn Gray SOM ‘91 ( Principal , GrayMatter Advisory Services, and member of the YANA New England Leadership Team), Rachel Littman ‘91 ( Executive Director , YANA), Ted Smith ‘00 ( Executive Director , New Heights Youth, Inc.), Tim Ryan ‘20 ( President , Harbor Scholars), Peter Crumlish DIV ‘09 ( Executive Director , Dwight Hall at Yale), and Sasha Thomas ‘22 ( Co-Coordinator , Dwight Hall Student Executive Committee). YANA Founder and President, Ken Inadomi ‘76 , moderated the presentation.
Our other webinar and online recordings are archived on our YouTube channel , and conveniently catalogued on our webinars page . Below are some of the resources mentioned during the Town Hall (which will also be added to our new resources page ) and some COVID-19 response volunteer opportunities . Please check back often and feel free to share any other thoughts or ideas.

Please also join us for our upcoming webinars on Governance Best Practices (4/1) and Using Blockchain to Drive Social Impact (5/6). 
Most importantly, thank you for doing what you do. Be safe. Let us know how YANA can help.
With best wishes,

Rachel Littman ‘91, YANA Executive Director
*Check back frequently for updates
7-Time Consecutive Winner of the Yale Board of Governors Excellence Award 
  Working Together, Giving Back, Changing Lives