With more than two decades of experience in the non-profit sector, Yolanda F. Johnson has successfully led fundraising operations for a wide range of non-profit organizations, launching creative event, sponsorship and marketing initiatives that produced new streams of both contributed and earned income. Her fundraising expertise includes securing foundation, corporate, and government funding and cultivating a diverse major gifts portfolio.
In addition to leading YFJ Consulting, LLC, Yolanda is the Founder of WOC, Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy®, the Allies in Action™ Membership Network, and is President of Women In Development (WID), NY, the NYC area's premier professional organization for women in fundraising and philanthropy. Yolanda has also had an outstanding career as a performing artist, as a composer, as a producer, as an educator, and she has used her background as a performer to become a sought-after fundraising expert.
Her leadership roles include: serving as an International Advisory Board member and the former Representative for the Foundation for Post Conflict Development to the United Nations; a member of the board of directors of the Lehman College Art Gallery; a member of the board of trustees of the Hudson River Museum and a member of the PowHerNY board of directors. A trailblazing figure on the national fundraising landscape, Yolanda is the first African American President in the 40-year history of WID. She co-established the WID Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and is often a featured expert on incorporating DEI initiatives into organizational culture. She has appeared as a panelist at Fundraising Day in New York, the Women’s Alliance National Conference and CASE events among others. Yolanda is also a member of the Chronicle of Philanthropy Advisory Committee of national leaders in the non-profit sector.
Tying together her life as a successful performing artist and a non-profit leader, she developed All the World's A Stage, a special workshop using performance practice for get-ting what one wants out of fundraising, philanthropy and life. She presents All the World's A Stage to audiences across the United States. Yolanda is the Worship Leader/Music Director at the church she attends, a member of Sigma Alpha Iota International Women’s Music Fraternity and is on the artist roster for Random Access Music/Queens New Music Festival and the newly formed Westchester Chamber Soloists Orchestra. She holds a B.A. in Voice (Music Performance) and an M.A. in Arts Administration with a focus on Fundraising and Events and is the author of various publications and articles on fundraising.
Women’s Philanthropy thought leader, Kathleen Loehr, is retiring. In a truly unique model of legacy, she is leaving her papers and research to the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) at Indiana University. And, she’s leaving her exclusive methods, treasured insights and archive to me and seven other hand-selected women she has chosen to continue living out her legacy and growing Women’s Philanthropy: The Women’s Philanthropy Alliance.
I am honored to be a part of this elite group of industry experts and thought leaders on Women’s Philanthropy, and I will do my best each and every day to make Kathleen proud. My journey thus far is a personal one, which led me to understand how, even as an expert in DEI for Philanthropy and a philanthropist myself, I had somehow compartmentalized gender along the way. The danger here is that if I can do it, anyone can, and so I vowed to craft my work in Women’s Philanthropy in the most impactful way as possible.
As we continue to celebrate Black History Month, one of the highlights so far has been the February 2022 edition of Meet the Philanthropist, my virtual interview series with leading women philanthropists and leaders in philanthropy.
This time, I had the distinct pleasure of a discussion with Chief Program Officer of California’s Rosenberg Foundation, Kendra Fox-Davis. I was thrilled to speak to Kendra, who is returning to have this conversation as a bit of a follow-up from the WOC Symposium in November. Everything she shared was so inspiring, and I knew she was the perfect person with whom to explore, remember, and embrace for Black History Month, particularly in the realm of fundraising and philanthropy.
Listening first, before doing anything else as a philanthropist, is essential, according to Peggy Dulany (Rockefeller), one of the most prolific philanthropists of our time. I recently had the honor of sitting down with Dulany for a conversation on topics ranging from cross-cultural allyship to meditation to accepting the growing pains that come with diversity and inclusion.
“Listen, listen, listen–with an open mind and an open heart. Because if we haven’t started with that, then what we’re liable to do will probably come from our own experience or lack of experience or misconceptions or biases,” Dulany said.