• Catherine Nguyen

A Tribute to Randy Yates

Updated: Jul 12

In September 2021, the world lost a recently-retired GBA staff member, Randy Yates. Randy was more than just a colleague — he was a friend and mentor. In his six years with GBA, he made significant contributions to the field – being a seasoned grant writer with awesome skills in securing strategically important funding opportunities to support the mission-critical goals of health and human service organizations. He was also a born leader, working with new staff and interns on best practices in grant writing, project management, and reporting.


Randy was full of stories, which he lovingly told, drawn from his fascinating lived experience. Randy’s career spanned decades of working with leading health and social advocacy organizations on operations and funding development. He got his start working in Boston’s South End and more recently with American Medical Response and Planned Parenthood before joining GBA.


Randy had an amazing talent for managing complex projects with attention to detail. He created work plans that captured the essence of funding opportunities that served as blueprints for completing successful proposals. He mentored GBA staff who relied on him for constructive feedback on their work. Randy was specifically requested by clients to work on more complex proposals for public agencies. Among the highest compliment that a grant writer can receive is to be asked to continue with the same organization managing projects and preparing new proposals for funding.


Randy naturally kept morale in the office at a high level. One colleague says “Randy was a jokester and he was hilarious without trying, but one of the qualities that I most admired about him was his big heart. My desk was right outside of his office, so I would often hear him talk to the GBA fur [canine] crew and call them ‘baby dogs’ even though most of them were seniors. I still greet dogs as ‘baby dogs’ because of Randy.”


Like many other GBA colleagues, Randy was significantly impacted by the Camp Fire in 2018. At that time, GBA moved to a remote model and we were unable to see each other in the office. He continued with us for approximately another year before retiring, helping GBA shift to its new model. Even after retirement he continued to participate in GBA events and support us on projects from time to time. He will forever remain part of the GBA family. We miss Randy. This tribute is difficult to write, although we know we had to memorialize him in this way. You are invited to leave a comment to share, such as a fun Randy story or a successful project he carried out for your organization. We would love to see them. Thank you.

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