Ariane Cruz joins PNY with a dynamic background in psychology, nonprofit development and fundraising, and organizational culture. She is committed to using this expertise to lead with curiosity and shift mental models that perpetuate the systems of oppression entrenched in every facet of American life.
During her undergraduate career, Ariane conducted research on dyadic imitation in young children with the Child Development Project at Bard College and wrote a senior thesis proposing an attachment-based intervention to childhood-onset conduct disorder. Following, she joined the development team at the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI), a nonprofit organization that creates college degree-granting opportunities to people who have been historically excluded from access to higher education – in prisons and in communities.
At BPI, she evolved professionally alongside the organization as it experienced transformational growth through the launch of the Bard Microcolleges, a reimagination of its college program in prison and created in partnership with community-based institutions such as the Brooklyn Public Library, as well as national exposure through College Behind Bars, a PBS documentary featuring the workings of the college program in prison. Over five years, Ariane improved development systems and advanced institutional and individual fundraising during a period of significant organizational growth. She managed and oversaw the CRM database, conducted prospect research, and crafted compelling LOIs, grant proposals and reports, annual reports, newsletters, donor correspondence, and marketing materials that authentically represented BPI's community of students and alumni. In addition, she led the planning of various special events such as graduation ceremonies in prisons and on Bard's campus, alumni gatherings, and other community events.
Most recently, Ariane wrote her master’s thesis on how social justice-driven nonprofits (re)shape their discourses to represent their work and the people they seek to serve to stakeholders and the greater public. In this research, she identified patterns of motivation and values that these nonprofits emphasize when describing their work to support people who have been directly impacted by the criminal legal system.
Ariane approaches her professional work through collaboration and iteration, while utilizing a critical lens that values intersectionality, integrity, and representation of people with dignity. She hopes to inspire cultural shifts within the third sector and toward a reparative and radically inclusive future, beginning with and through language as praxis.
Ariane earned a M.S. in Culture, Organization, and Management from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and a B.A. in Psychology from Bard College.