Alumna Founds Nonprofit Incubator

Amanda AshtonAmanda Ashton (LS '07/CAS '09) came to NYU with an entrepreneurial spirit, which helped her to carve her own path at the university and in the city. Now an alumna, Ashton has co-founded a company focused on social entrepreneurship: Change Better, a nonprofit incubator. 

Coming to NYU from the Boston suburbs, Ashton quickly became active in LS student government. Running student life events and fundraisers paved the way to her role as President of the LS student body during her sophomore year. In this capacity Ashton represented LS in the all-university student government, where she was thrilled by participating in the process of NYU's individual school governments -- each with different structures and student experiences -- working together to yield effective change for the university.

This experience stayed with Ashton as she earned her B.A. in History and launched a career in nonprofit management. Interning with as a student led to a full-time position on their social entrepreneurship team.   

Though a relocation eventually took Ashton away from this work, she began to envision a way to bring her passion for social change together with her sense of how organizations could operate more effectively. Her past experiences had revealed inefficiencies in how many nonprofits operated; resolving these could maximize an organization's impact on the issues it was designed to address. Ashton partnered with a former co-worker, Ellie Zeitlin, to execute this vision through an incubator for nonprofit organizations.

"Change Better looks at how organizations are able to grow, to be more effective, to measure their change, and really set out to address the issue in the greater landscape," explains Ashton. Change Better is currently working with nonprofits that range in focus from mental health support in schools to the revitalization of inner-city neighborhoods by local youth.

Though managing a company engages Ashton's seasoned entrepreneurship skills in new ways, her current role had been on the horizon since her time in LS. "It helped me build my confidence in understanding how I could take my skills and pursue a specific path in a much bigger space," she says.