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Yolanda F. Johnson, Founder of Women of Color in Fundraising & Philanthropy, on championing diversity & equity, and how COVID is changing fundraising.

In this episode of fuelling fundraising, Yolanda F. Johnson is interviewed by Ed Suchy, discussing how she challenges the status quo in fundraising through her diversity and equity initiatives. Read the summary below to learn more about their insightful discussion, or hit play to watch the full episode.


Yolanda F. Johnson began her career in fundraising early on; in her background as a performer she often participated in fundraising events and found her sense of purpose in the ‘good work’ of philanthropy and fundraising. Now, as the first African American President of Women in Development, NY, an organisation over 40 years old, she is an expert at building organisations to fit the need of the philanthropy & fundraising sectors. 

We need to be extra diligent in the work that we do to champion equity.”

The organisation that she set up as part of a task force to challenge racial and gender discrimination within the sector, Women of Colour in Fundraising and Philanthropy, continues to challenge systemic and ingrained prejudices, while also championing and celebrating women of colour in the sector. 

We’re combatting the typical archetype of what a philanthropist is.”

Yolanda considers the different ways in which people can become philanthropists and make an impact, and explains her approach to tapping into diverse networks, by understanding diverse donors and how to steward them, and how having a solid database can help to solve these challenges.

COVID has made people look a lot closer at why they give to organisations.”

Yolanda discusses the difficulties of fundraising and grant-making during COVID, and how she finds that attitudes have changed when it comes to why people are choosing to give, and which causes they are choosing to support. 


Watch the full episode to find out more about how Yolanda and her organisation are tackling events planning during COVID, and their initiatives to provide more diverse opportunities for the fundraising and philanthropy sector. 

To find out more about Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy, join their event on November 17th for their Virtual Symposium. Click here for more details.  

For more expert insight on development & alumni relations, tune into another Fuelling Fundraising episode


Yolanda F. Johnson

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.

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