Alums team up with Bono venture

The Association of Yale Alumni’s newest service venture will partner former Elis with ONE, the international nonprofit cofounded by U2 lead singer Bono.

Devoted to fighting poverty and preventable disease, ONE and the Yale Alumni Service Corps — an AYA program that has coordinated service opportunities abroad for alumni since 2008 — announced a new program last Tuesday that will offer service trips and educate alumni about development issues in Africa. Three alumni interviewed said the AYA has worked to expand its community service initiatives in recent years, and that by joining forces with an established nonprofit, the University is creating a sustainable outlet for helping those in need.

“This partnership is a win-win for both Yale and ONE,” AYA chairman Michael Madison ’83 said. “ONE gets access to intelligent, engaged people to expand their mission, while Yale alumni interested in pursuing service opportunities get the chance to work with a well-known humanitarian organization. This project helps us recognize that we are global citizens with global obligations.”

Yale-ONE’s inaugural service project, a trip to Ghana in July and August 2012, will send more than 100 alumni along with 10 to 15 representatives from ONE to work on a variety of community service initiatives in the country such as efforts to improve health care and education. Madison said ONE will provide “educational infrastructure” by teaching alumni about conditions in Ghana and challenges facing West Africa, while Yale will primarily coordinate logistics.

The trip to Ghana is part of a five-year “strategic plan” the AYA released in 2007 to improve communications among alumni and increase the number of community service projects, among other goals.

Darcy Troy Pollack ’87, an organizer of the Yale-ONE partnership and leader of the Yale Club of Los Angeles, said the ONE representatives will include at least one policy expert, as well as several of the ONE’s top congressional district leaders and field organizers. They will be tasked with leading “seminars” for alumni about local issues such as agriculture and health care.

The ONE representatives are also responsible for educating participants about how to continue advocacy work at home once the Ghana trip has concluded. ONE will offer Yale alumni opportunities to work on its campaigns to improve summer school programs, medical clinics, community building projects, agricultural projects and microbusiness consulting in sub-Saharan Africa, Madison said.

“In the past, when alumni came back from YASC service trips, they had nothing to do,” Madison said. “The Yale-ONE partnership creates a vehicle for connection to global service even after people come back.”

Graduates of both Yale College and the University’s graduate and professional schools will be eligible to attend the Ghana trip, Madison said, which will cost $2,000 excluding airfare and other fees, according to the Yale Alumni Service Corps website. The Yale Alumni Service Corps will provide partial scholarships to alumni based on their demonstrated need and the amount of available funding.

Pollack said she hopes the new partnership marks an expansion of the AYA’s long-term commitment service abroad.

“My greatest hope is that this is just the beginning, that ONE and Yale can not only partner on other service trips, but that we can work together for greater impact in other ways as well,” Pollack wrote in a Sunday email. “Together we are stronger than we are apart.”

The first Yale-ONE service trip will take place this summer from July 27 to Aug. 7. The deadline to register is March 1, 2012.

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