Pratyusha and Elston met in 2010 as undergraduates at Harvard College. During conversations in their dining hall, Pratyusha would share stories of dinner table discussions with her father, CEO of Metro Community Development, a community development financial institution based in Flint, about the difficulty of "simply getting a break." Elston, a philosophy major, would bring in the necessity for equal access to opportunity in a society that strives for justice as fairness.
As they graduated and entered the fields of finance and medicine, they repeatedly witnessed small sums impeding the wealth accumulation necessary for upwards social and economic mobility, both in the hospital and in financial services. As NPR and New York Times stories of unpaid court fines keeping young people behind bars accumulated, they sought to find a way to connect these individuals with the means to make it happen. The concept of Shift Fund was born.
Elston and Pratyusha sought to make Shift Fund a reality and obtained official 501(c)(3) status in December 2016.
Dr. Yalamanchi is a Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery resident at the University of Michigan. She is a recent graduate of the MD/MBA program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Wharton School, where she was a 21st Century Full Tuition Merit Scholar. She has a background in global health care access and in medical school, she worked at the Penn Center for Community Health Workers to support high risk patients in the transition from inpatient discharge to outpatient care and to reduce 30-day readmission rates. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 2013 and remains active in her alumni community, serving on the Harvard Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Elston is a JD/MBA candidate at the Wharton School and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Previously, Elston was on the strategic technology investment team at Roivant Sciences, working at the intersection of technology and healthcare data. Prior to Roivant, Elston worked at Guggenheim Partners, focusing on opportunistic credit and structured equity investments, and on Citigroup's municipal trading desk, covering high yield and distressed project finance and municipal credits. Elston also served on the Board of Directors of the Aging in New York Fund, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for older New Yorkers and their families. Elston graduated cum laude from Harvard College in 2013.
Our Advisory Board
Professor Alison Simmons, Ph.D.
Alison Simmons is the Samuel H. Wolcott Professor of Philosophy and Harvard College Professor at Harvard University. She received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994. Her primary area of research and teaching is early modern (17th and 18th century) philosophy, with a particular focus on theories of mind, the relationship between mind and body, the relationship between mind and world, and the way our understanding of those relationships has changed from classical Greek to contemporary philosophy.
Lars Peter Knoth Madsen
Lars is former Chief of Staff to the President of Harvard University and has worked with former President Drew Faust for over a decade. He holds master’s degrees in political science and in social and political thought from Aarhus University, Denmark, and from University of Sussex, U.K. He is a Senior Fellow Humanity in Action.
David Nash, MD
David Nash is the founding Dean of the Jefferson College of Population, and also the Dr. Raymond C. and Doris N. Grandon Professor of Health Policy. Dr. Nash is a board-certified internist who is internationally recognized for his work in public accountability for outcomes, physician leadership development, and quality-of-care improvement. Dr. Nash is also a principal faculty member for quality of care programming for the American Association for Physician Leadership.
We would like to thank the following leaders and scholars for their mentorship and support.
Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University, and co-founder of The Life You Can Save, a nonprofit whose mission is to change the culture of giving in affluent countries while dramatically raising annual donations to highly impactful nonprofits that reduce suffering and premature death for people living in extreme poverty.
Dr. Angela Duckworth, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, MacArthur Fellow, and Founder and CEO of Character Lab, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance the science and practice of character development.
We want you! Please reach out to Shift Fund directly if interested in working with us on our mission.