Nancy Youman




Political Advocate

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Nancy Youman is a career left-of-center philanthropic strategist and consultant. Since the summer of 2020, she has worked for Unbound Philanthropy, a New York City-based grantmaking organization which primarily supports initiatives to loosen immigration laws. The organization is closely tied to the Open Society Foundations (OSF), the flagship organization within the international grantmaking and activism network of billionaire financier and left-progressive ideologue George Soros. Taryn Higashi, the executive director of Unbound Philanthropy, sits on one of the advisory boards of OSF. 1

Youman also has extensive connections to OSF, having spent more than a decade with the organization in various leadership roles. Prior to starting her career in left-of-center grantmaking management, Youman held several public advocacy positions in the New York City government. 2

Education and Early Career

Nancy Youman received a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Yale University. She did not immediately enter the left-of-center philanthropy sphere, becoming a senior writer for the marketing publication AdWeek in 1985. Five years later, she took a job with the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, and in 1993, she transferred to the Office of the Public Advocate. 3

Youman co-authored the book The Consumer Bible: 1001 Ways to Shop Smart with consumer advocate Mark Green, who researched unethical and potentially fraudulent behavior by corporations. In the book, Green, a lawyer who spent a decade working with activist and perennial third-party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, catalogued both what he considered intentional efforts by companies to mislead buyers and what he viewed as little-known benefits and deals for consumers. Green and Youman encouraged buyers to more actively protest bad deals, both by being more assertive with returns and refund requests, and by filing complaints with government consumer protection offices. 4 Youman would later co-author another book with Green titled Mark Green’s Guide to Coping in New York City. 5

Youman began working for the Open Society Foundations, the main grantmaking organization within the Soros Network, in 2002. She started out as the deputy director of United States programs, and went on to manage projects related to environmentalist policy advocacy and OSF-approved journalism. In 2015, Youman became the co-director of the Emma Lazarus II Fund, the second in a series of initiatives which provided resources to non-citizens in the United States. (The fund takes its name from the late 19th-century left-progressive activist who wrote “The New Colossus,” a pro-immigration poem that a friend of Lazarus worked to have added to the Statue of Liberty in 1903.) Youman concluded her 16-year stint at the OSF as the director of a $6 million grant program aimed to combat the alleged increase in hate crimes following the 2016 presidential election. 6 7

Post-Open Society Foundations Work

In March 2020, Nancy Youman became a strategic advisor to the Leadership Center for Democracy and Social Justice, a left-progressive organizing initiative affiliated with the City University of New York, where she would spend less than a year. In July 2020, she also started working as a strategist for the New York City-based Unbound Philanthropy. 8

Youman has held a position on the board of the Coro New York Leadership Center, an organization which trains left-of-center organizers and activists, since 2005. 9 10 The board includes leaders in the philanthropy and advocacy sectors, as well as business executives and former city officials. 11


  1. “Taryn Higashi.” Social Transformation Project. Accessed January 10, 2022.
  2. Nancy Youman. LinkedIn. Accessed December 12, 2021.
  3. Nancy Youman. LinkedIn. Accessed December 12, 2021.
  4. Kim Campbell. “’Consumer Bible’ Findings On Scams, Scandals, Schemes Can Save Shoppers Big Bucks.” The Christian Science Monitor. June 22, 1995. Accessed December 12, 2021.
  5. “Soros’ Open Society Institute Names Gara LaMarche as Vice President; Nancy Youman Joins as Associate Director of U.S. Programs.” Open Society Foundations. February 21, 2002. Accessed December 12, 2021.
  6. Nancy Youman. LinkedIn. Accessed December 12, 2021.
  7. “Emma Lazarus.” Jewish Women’s Archive. Accessed December 12, 2021.
  8. Nancy Youman. LinkedIn. Accessed December 12, 2021.
  9. “Our Theory Of Change.” Coro New York Leadership Center. Accessed December 12, 2021.
  10. Nancy Youman. LinkedIn. Accessed December 12, 2021.
  11. “Board Of Directors.” Coro New York Leadership Center. Accessed December 12, 2021.

Connected Organizations

  1. Open Society Foundations (Open Society Institute) (Non-profit)
    Former Communications Director
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