Hanh Cao Yu, Ph.D.

Editor-in-Chief of Special Issues, The Foundation Review

Learn more about The Foundation Review

Launched at the Johnson Center in 2009, The Foundation Review is the nation’s first peer-reviewed journal of philanthropy, written by and for foundation staff, boards, and those who work with them.


Hanh Cao Yu, Ph.D., is the editor-in-chief of special issues for The Foundation Review. As part of the journal’s 15th anniversary, Dr. Yu will oversee the development and publication of two special issues in 2023-2024 and lead a strategic assessment and reimagination of The Foundation Review alongside independent learning and evaluation consultant Tom Kelly.

In her previous role as chief learning officer at the California Endowment (TCE), Dr. Yu oversaw learning, strategic development, evaluation, and impact activities, as well as ensured that local and state grantees, boards, and staff understood the results and lessons of the foundation’s investments in its 10-year “Building Healthy Communities” (BHC) initiative. BHC focused on social determinants of health and policy systems change through a community-driven, power-building approach.

Dr. Yu’s career spans the research, evaluation, and philanthropic sectors. Prior to joining TCE, served as vice president at Social Policy Research Associates. Dr. Yu has more than 25 years of experience in qualitative and quantitative research in the areas of health and racial equity social change philanthropy, leadership development, organizational effectiveness, policy advocacy evaluation, community organizing, and vulnerable populations.

As a researcher at Stanford University, Dr. Yu is the author of numerous publications, including Adolescent World: Navigating the Multiple Worlds of Family, Peers, and School (Teachers’ College Press, 1998), The Handbook on Leadership Development Evaluation (Jossey-Bass, 2006), and the “Philanthropic Investment in Power” and “Building People Power” series published in Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Dr. Yu is a national leader in philanthropy, research, learning & evaluation, serving on the board of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations and the National Academy of Science on Population Health Improvement.

Related Articles
Tue October 10
Hanh Cao Yu, Ph.D., former chief learning officer at The California Endowment, will serve as editor-in-chief of special issues for The Foundation Review journal of philanthropy in 2023-2024.