Miranda Yates, senior program officer, joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in 2021. She brings a distinguished record of leadership and evaluation in nonprofit, research, and academic settings. Her work as part of the RWJF Research-Evaluation-Learning (REL) team supports the Foundation’s focus on healthy children and families and REL strategic initiatives. With her deep experience in collaborating with community partners and employing data and research in strategy and decision-making, she praises RWJF’s “powerful mission focused on building a Culture of Health and well-being and achieving health equity, and its emphasis on addressing the social determinants of health and systemic barriers.”
Previously, Yates served as assistant executive director of Strategy, Evaluation, and Learning at Good Shepherd Services (GSS), a youth and family development multi-service organization in New York City. Among other accomplishments at GSS, she led in the formation of ACROSS (Advancing Collaborative Research in Out-of-School Settings), a research-practice partnership with NYU’s Institute for Human Development and Social Change. Before GSS, she was a regional director at the Covenant House Institute, charged with promoting evidence-based practice and developing research partnerships across an international network of programs serving youth experiencing homelessness.
For nearly a decade, Yates held senior management positions at Covenant House California, including director of Quality Assurance and Special Projects and director of Transitional Living Programs, overseeing supportive housing, employment, and educational programs. During this time, she partnered with HBO Films in starting up Digital Dove, an award-winning video-arts program that became a vehicle for young people to craft and share their own stories.
Yates has published and presented at numerous conferences on the topics of evidence-based practice, youth development, and civic engagement. With James Youniss, she co-authored Community Service and Social Responsibility in Youth (University of Chicago Press) and Roots of Civic Identity: International Perspectives on Community Service and Activism in Youth (Cambridge University Press). She has also written a series of blogs on implementing participatory evaluation methods and research-practice partnerships.
Yates earned a BA in History from Georgetown University and an MA and PhD in Psychology (Human Development) from The Catholic University of America. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Brown University’s Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America. Her doctoral dissertation received the Hershel Thornburg Dissertation Award from the Society for Research on Adolescence. She is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Born in London, she has also lived in New York City, Washington, and Los Angeles, and presently resides in Bergen County, New Jersey. In her spare time, she loves to travel with her family, and enjoys the theater, gardening, hiking, and swimming.