Caren Croland Yanis
Director of Philanthropy
Phone: (847) 686-1069
Caren started Croland Consulting to help high net worth families, businesses, and agencies develop philanthropic practices in line with their values. She focuses on governance, family engagement across generations, strategic planning and portfolio evaluation. She uses evidence based tools to understand both internal and external philanthropic landscapes, and coaches philanthropic professionals to realize efficiency and potential.
Prior to opening Croland Consulting, Caren served as President of Crown Family Philanthropies for eight years as the first professional, non-family leader. While there, she managed organizational redesign and growth, engaged multiple generations of family members in philanthropic activities, planned and facilitated policy development, and guided strategic initiatives in the U.S., Israel, and the developing world.
Caren built and managed Oprah Winfrey’s philanthropies including Oprah’s Angel Network (a public charity), and the Oprah Winfrey Foundation (a private foundation). She was involved in development of numerous programs both on and off the Oprah Winfrey Show. Projects included building schools, education programs, and economic development initiatives in South Africa, building the Oprah Winfrey Boys and Girls Club in Kosciusko Mississippi, and disaster recovery and rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean Tsunami.
Caren is a board director and finance committee member of The Poetry Foundation and a founding director of Leading Edge, a group formed to build organizational strength in nonprofit agencies. She is a member of the Illinois Attorney General’s Charitable Advisory Council, an Accreditation Advisory Committee member at the Spertus Institute, an advisor to the Lily School of Family Philanthropy, and an advisor to the MacArthur Foundation. Caren speaks about philanthropy and social change to groups of donors and to students across the U.S. and Canada.
Formerly she served as a trustee and finance committee member of the Jewish Funders Network, and a trustee of Forefront, (previously the Chicago Donors Forum), where she chaired the board development and executive search committees and continues as part of the Family Philanthropy Round Table. Caren was founding director of Project&, a creative agency focused on addressing critical social issues through the arts. She chaired the Council on Foundations’ 2013 Annual Conference in Chicago, as well as two Council awards committees for excellence in grant-making. She served on UNICEF’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children Committee in the mid-2000s.
Caren has a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Emerson College and a certificate in strategic leadership from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.
Caren enjoys coaching, mentoring, and working alongside people who believe they can make the world a better place.