March 19, 2015

The Bridgespan Group Welcomes Neil Nicoll, Y-USA President Emeritus, as Bridgespan Fellow

Nicoll will advise Bridgespan’s research into efforts by national and international networks to renew and transform their impact.

BOSTON, MA—March 19, 2015—The Bridgespan Group announced today that Neil Nicoll, President Emeritus of the Y-USA, and current board chair of the Independent Sector has been selected as a Bridgespan Fellow, with a four-month appointment. The fellowship is designed to create opportunities for subject area experts to work with Bridgespan on research projects aimed to advance thinking and action for social change. Nicoll will advise a Bridgespan team examining the innovative roots of national networks like the Y, and international networks like Save the Children, to understand what it will take in the 21st century to renew their mandates and truly transform communities they serve. The research will explore challenges and opportunities faced by federated structures.
As Bridgespan’s third fellow, Nicoll joins former US Department of Education Deputy Secretary Jim Shelton, working with a Bridgespan team on the best philanthropic bets for breaking cycles of intergenerational poverty, and education journalist and researcher Paul Tough, working with a Bridgespan team on social and emotional learning.
Said Kelly Campbell, Bridgespan’s partner leading the Children, Youth and Families practice, “I’m thrilled about the opportunity to collaborate with Neil in this new way. He is a tremendous visionary, whose practical experience and deep belief in the power of networks like the Y to truly transform lives will be invaluable to our team.”
According to Nicoll, “I am very pleased to become a Bridgespan Fellow. It’s exciting to be able to work with Bridgespan, advancing thought and science around the potential for large networks to create outsized and measurable impact.”
Said Campbell, “Over the last few years, we’ve seen a number of networks begin to think differently about the type of impact they aspire to have and what it will take to get there. We are embarking on an effort with Neil to learn more about these “early signals” of network transformation and to understand how the leading CEO’s are thinking about and making progress toward this bold aspiration.”
About The Bridgespan Group
The Bridgespan Group ( is a nonprofit advisor and resource for mission-driven organizations and philanthropists. We collaborate with social sector leaders to help scale impact, build leadership, advance philanthropic effectiveness and accelerate learning. We work on issues related to society’s most important challenges and to break cycles of intergenerational poverty. Our services include strategy consulting, leadership development, philanthropy advising, and developing and sharing practical insights.
About Neil Nicoll
Neil Nicoll is president emeritus of YMCA of the USA (Y-USA). From June 2006 until January 2015, he served as president and CEO of Y-USA, the 13th person to lead the Y Movement in the United States. He joined Y-USA following 14 years as president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Seattle. He previously was president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Worcester (Massachusetts) for 12 years.
The nation’s 2,700 YMCAs strengthen community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, drawing on their collective strength as one of the nation’s largest nonprofit community service organizations to respond to critical social issues. Led by 250,000 professional staff and 600,000 volunteers, YMCAs serve 10,000 communities and 22 million children and adults nationwide.Neil earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Eastern Nazarene College, a master’s degree in education from Springfield College, and management certificates from Clark University and Harvard Business School. 
Neil currently serves as chairman of the Independent Sector Board of Directors and as a steering committee member of ChildObesity 180. He previously served as a trustee of Springfield College, a trustee of America’s Promise Alliance and a member of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. In addition, he was a member of the Institute of Medicine Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention and a board member of the National Assembly. 

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The Bridgespan Group would like to thank the JPB Foundation for its generous and ongoing support of our knowledge creation and sharing work.