About Proximity

proximity [prok-sim-i-tee] noun: nearness in space, time, or relationship

Leveraging decades of expertise, deep roots, and broad networks, Proximity helps individuals and organizations engage in giving, philanthropy and social impact with confidence by helping them grow their knowledge, develop clear goals and strategies and implement plans that ultimately lead to greater impact.

Proximity helps deepen connections and understanding, and provides resources and support to ensure that the goals of people who want to engage are well matched to the needs and interests of the people, communities and issues they care about.

About Yvonne Thomas

Yvonne has spent more than two decades working in and across philanthropy, communities, nonprofit organizations, and the private and public sector. She created Proximity to help more people give with confidence by helping them find the intersection between their interests and goals, and the needs and interests of the issues, causes and communities they care about. Proximity is centered in the most important learnings she gained over two decades working with people and communities across the Pacific Northwest and around the world: you can only truly be a good partner when you get close and develop an understanding of the issues, causes and communities you care about and then determine how you can uniquely make an impact.

Well-traveled and well-versed in a range of issues and causes, Yvonne has worked with people and organizations across more than 60 countries. She has deep expertise in strategy, program design, relationship and partnership management and capacity building. She has a unique ability to bring together diverse stakeholders, solicit input, and design strategies, partnerships and programs that are authentic, clear, responsive to the needs of the community and deliver results that create meaningful impact with measurable outcomes.  This knowledge and experience, together with a love for her native Pacific Northwest, makes Yvonne is well suited to support a wide range of social issues and geographic interest areas.

Prior to launching Proximity, Yvonne spent nineteen years in a variety of roles within Microsoft Philanthropies. Most recently, she was the director of global programs for Microsoft Philanthropies, responsible for global strategy, programs and partnerships across more than 60 countries. Throughout her work at Microsoft, she developed and led high-impact, global and national initiatives and teams spanning a range of issues areas.

Before joining Microsoft, Yvonne worked in the nonprofit sector with a focus on youth development.

Yvonne has served on the boards of The World Bank Solutions for Youth Employment Initiative, the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) and the Central Area Community Festival. She’s currently an advisory member of the King County Play Equity Coalition and a member of the board of directors of the Auction of Washington Wines. Yvonne is a parent, an outdoor enthusiast, a youth soccer coach, an occasional baker, an avid reader and a fan of the Washington State University Cougars.

Yvonne lives in the Seattle area with her family.

“When you get proximate to the excluded and the disfavored, you learn things that you need to understand if we’re going to change the world. Our understanding of how we change things comes in proximity to inequality, to injustice. Proximity will empower you.”

-Bryan Stevenson, Founder, Equal Justice Initiative; Author, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. Excerpt from Bates College 152nd Commencement, May 2018

Get Closer. Make Greater Impact.