Illustration of two people planting a tree with the words How Will You Teach It Forward written above them.

Making an Impact

One thing that unites Williams alumni across generations is their commitment to making a difference in their communities.

Last January and February, for 10 days during the Teach It Forward: Impact challenge, 325 alumni amplified their impact to both their communities and to Williams by performing volunteer work. Their volunteer hours could then be used to multiply their Alumni Fund gift of any size. A total of  2,517 hours of service resulted in $212,190 in matching gifts from Sanae Ishikawa and Richard Georgi ’87, Ann Melvin ’85, and Lee Shackleford ’80.

Among the Ephs volunteering around the country and globe were: Joyia Yorgey ’05, who offered free income tax preparation services for low-income residents in Conway, Ark.; Marshall Lapidus ’60, who raised funds for cancer screening for the uninsured in Port Charlotte, Fla.; Jodi Fisler ’95, who organized a multi-day event in Williamsburg, Va., exploring the evolution of African-American music; Charlie Sellars ’13, who spent a night in New York City working on a count of homeless people to improve services to that population; Amy Butler Greenfield ’91, who helped restore a school library in the U.K. that had been shuttered for years; Lucy Beck ’75, a retired gastroenterologist, who provided free care to indigent patients in Fairfax, Va.; and Hernando Garzon ’84, a physician who spent the week in an isolated Colombian town, offering birthing training.

Meanwhile, lawyers from New York to Nashville provided a variety of pro bono legal services, including: representing children in the foster care system; writing wills, powers of attorney and medical directives for those who couldn’t afford an attorney; and helping immigrants seeking asylum or refugee status.

More than 30 alumni reported volunteering alongside other Ephs, while many others noted the role fellow alumni played in introducing them to the organizations they were now committed to.

In 2018, the  Teach It Forward: Impact Challenge will run from Thursday, Jan. 25, through Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Volunteer service performed over Martin Luther King weekend (Jan. 13-15) will also count toward this challenge. Visit for more information.