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Andrew Yang

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Andrew Yang
Andrew Yang talking about urban entrepreneurship at Techonomy Conference 2015 in Detroit, MI (cropped).jpg
Yang in 2015
Born (1975-01-13) January 13, 1975 (age 44)
ResidenceManhattan, New York City
EducationBrown University (B.A.)
Columbia University (J.D.)
  • Entrepreneur
  • attorney
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Evelyn Yang
AwardsWhite House Champion of Change (2012)
Presidential Ambassador of Global Entrepreneurship (2015)
Andrew Yang signature.svg

Andrew Yang (born January 13, 1975)[1] is a U.S. 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, entrepreneur, attorney, philanthropist, and founder of Venture for America (VFA). He worked in startups and early-stage growth companies as a founder or executive from 2000 to 2009. After he founded VFA, the Obama administration selected him in 2012 as a "Champion of Change" and in 2015 as a "Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship".

In November 2017 Yang launched his campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.[2] His signature policy is what he calls the "Freedom Dividend", a form of Universal Basic Income (UBI) for every American adult over 18. Yang believes UBI is a necessary response to the rapid development of automation, which is increasingly leading to workforce challenges.[3] The other two central elements of his platform are Medicare for All and "human-centered capitalism."[4] Over 100 policy proposals are listed on his campaign website.[5][6]

Early life and education[edit]

Yang was born in Schenectady, New York,[7] to immigrant parents from Taiwan.[8] His parents met while they were both in graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley.[9] His father graduated with a Ph.D. in physics and worked in the research labs of IBM and General Electric, generating over 69 patents in his career.[9] His mother graduated with a master's degree in statistics and later became an artist.

While attending public school, Yang described being bullied and called racial slurs by classmates. "Perhaps as a result, I've always taken pride in relating to the underdog or little guy or gal," he wrote.[10] Yang later attended Phillips Exeter Academy, an elite boarding school in New Hampshire.[11] He graduated from Exeter in 1992 and went on to attend Brown University,[12] earning a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in economics.[13] After Brown University, Yang attended Columbia Law School where he earned a Juris Doctor (JD).[13]


In 1999, after graduating from Columbia Law School, Yang began his career as a corporate attorney at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York City. He left the firm in 2000 to join his officemate in launching, a website for celebrity-affiliated philanthropic fund-raising.[14][15] raised some capital from investors but folded in 2001. Afterward, Yang joined a healthcare software startup, MMF Systems, Inc., as its Vice President and third hire.[citation needed]

Manhattan Prep[edit]

After working in the healthcare industry for four years, Yang left MMF Systems to join friend Zeke Vanderhoek at a small test preparation company, Manhattan Prep. In 2006 Vanderhoek asked Yang to take over as CEO. While he was CEO of Manhattan Prep, the company primarily provided GMAT test preparation. The company expanded from five to 69 locations and was acquired by Kaplan in December 2009. Yang resigned as the company's president in early 2012.[16][17][18]

Venture for America (VFA)[edit]

Following the acquisition of Manhattan Prep in late 2009, Yang began to work on creating a new nonprofit fellowship program called Venture for America, which he founded in 2011 with the mission "to create economic opportunity in American cities by mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs".[12][19][20][21]

Venture for America was launched with $200,000 and trained 40 graduates in 2012 and 69 in 2013, sending them to Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Providence. This list expanded to include Columbus, Miami, San Antonio and St. Louis in 2014, with a class of 106.[18][22]

VFA's strategy was to recruit the nation's top college graduates into a two-year fellowship program in which they would work for and apprentice at promising startups in developing cities across the United States. Yang's book Smart People Should Build Things argues that the top universities in the country cherry-pick the smartest kids out of small towns and funnel them into the same corporate jobs in the same big cities.[23] Venture for America's goal is to help distribute that talent around the country and incentivize entrepreneurship for economic growth.

After 2011 VFA grew, reaching a $6 million annual operating budget in 2017,[24] and operating in about 20 U.S. cities, adding Kansas City, Atlanta, Baltimore, Birmingham, Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbus, Denver, Miami, Nashville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, and St. Louis.[25] Venture for America began running a "startup accelerator" in Detroit and launched a seed fund and an investment fund for fellows.

Generation Startup, a documentary film about six startups in Detroit launched through the Venture for America program, was released in 2016. It was co-directed by Cynthia Wade and Cheryl Miller Houser.[26]

In March 2017 Yang stepped down from his position as CEO of VFA.[19]

2020 presidential campaign[edit]

On November 6, 2017, Yang filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to run for President of the United States in 2020.[27] His campaign proposes a $1,000/month "Freedom Dividend" to all U.S. citizens over the age of 18 (a form of universal basic income) in response to predictions of large-scale worker displacement due to technological automation.[28][29] The other two central elements of Yang's platform are Medicare for All and "Human-Centered Capitalism."[4] His campaign slogan is "Humanity First", which calls attention to his belief that automation of many key industries is one of the biggest threats facing the workforce.[30]

Over 100 policies are listed on Yang's campaign website.[5][6] Yang is a proponent of a carbon tax and bringing the United States back into the Paris Climate Agreement.[31] He supports legislation against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and has pledged to appoint pro-choice judges.[32] A New York Times article about his campaign described various new policies Yang proposes, such as a department focused on regulating the addictive nature of media, a White House psychologist, making Election Day a national holiday, and, to stem corruption, increasing the salaries of federal regulators but limiting their private work after they leave public service.[33]

Yang has said that he became an advocate of a universal basic income after reading American futurist Martin Ford's book Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, which deals with the impact of automation and artificial intelligence on the job market and economy.[34]

Yang is at least the third American of East Asian descent to run for President of the United States, after Hiram Fong and Patsy Mink.[35][36]

As of June 28, 2019, Yang has received donations from over 130,000 donors across at least 20 U.S. states, thereby meeting the requirements to be included in the first and second rounds of the debates for Democratic presidential primary candidates, and the donor requirement for the third and fourth rounds of debates.[37] The Democratic National Committee randomly determined that Yang would participate in the second night of the first debate, which took place on June 27.[38] During his first debate, Yang was asked only two questions and allowed to speak for two minutes and 56 seconds, the least time of any candidate.[39] He claimed that his microphone malfunctioned, initially suggesting to the debate moderators that technical difficulties might have occurred. An NBC spokesperson said, "At no point during the debate was any candidate's microphone turned off or muted", but Yang and his supporters have provided video evidence they claim shows Yang speaking up but not being heard.[40][41]

Yang's campaign supporters, known informally as the "Yang Gang", have brought attention to his campaign on Reddit, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms, through the use of memes and viral campaigning.[42][43]


Yang meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House in 2012

In 2012 Yang was called a "Champion of Change" by the Obama White House.[20] In 2015 he was again acknowledged by the Obama White House as a "Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship" (PAGE) alongside Daymond John, Brian Chesky, Steve Case, Tory Burch and several more.[44][45]

Personal life[edit]

As of 2018, Yang lives in New York City with his wife Evelyn and two sons.[33] He has spoken about his older son being autistic, saying, "I'm very proud of my son and anyone who has someone on the spectrum in their family feels the exact same way."[46]

Yang attends the Reformed Church of New Paltz with his family and has identified Mark E. Mast as their pastor.[47][48] He identifies as spiritual but not religious.[49]


  • Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America. 2014. ISBN 0062292048.[50]
  • The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future. 2018. ISBN 0316414247.[51]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Clifford, Catherine (April 11, 2018). "This 43-year-old running for president in 2020 wants to give everyone $1,000 a month in free cash". CNBC. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  2. ^ Cover/Line, Hunter Schwarz, CNN's. "Here's how 2020 Democrats announced their campaigns". CNN. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  3. ^ Clifford, Catherine (April 11, 2018). "This 43-year-old running for president in 2020 wants to give everyone $1,000 a month in free cash". CNBC. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Benjamin, Zachary (May 10, 2019). "2020 Democratic candidate Yang talks UBI, climate change". The Dartmouth. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Mukherjee, Sy (June 27, 2019). "Meet Andrew Yang, the Democratic Candidate Who Wants to Give You $1,000 Each Month". Fortune. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Our Policies". Andrew Yang for President (official campaign website). Archived from the original on February 17, 2019. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  7. ^ Hughes, Steve (January 6, 2019). "Schenectady native stumps for president in Latham". Times Union. ISSN 8756-5927. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  8. ^ Morgan, Scott (January 21, 2019). "'I am proud to be Taiwanese-American'..." Taiwan News. Taiwan, R.O.C. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  9. ^ a b JoeRogan (February 12, 2019). "JRE #1245 - Andrew Yang". Retrieved March 17, 2019 – via Vimeo.
  10. ^ The War on Normal People, p. 2.
  11. ^ Business Insider, February 17, 2016, accessed April 26, 2019
  12. ^ a b Seligson, Hannah (July 13, 2013). "No Six-Figure Pay, but Making a Difference". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. OCLC 1645522. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  13. ^ a b Smith, Robert L. (September 3, 2013). "Andrew Yang, Venture for America founder, will help showcase Cleveland's startup scene". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  14. ^ Zimmerman, Eilene (July 28, 2011). "Venture for America: The 'Teach for America' for Entrepreneurs?". Inc. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  15. ^ Yang, Andrew (October 21, 2014). "The US should include entrepreneurs in its definition of service". Quartz. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  16. ^ "The Evolution of Education – Kaplan acquires Manhattan GMAT". Steve Cheney – Technology, business & strategy. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  17. ^ Glazer, Emily (January 12, 2012). "For Grads Seeking to Work and Do Good". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  18. ^ a b Bruder, Jessica (October 12, 2011). "Starting a Teach for America for Entrepreneurs". You're the Boss Blog, The New York Times. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  19. ^ a b Ballard, Julie (March 29, 2017). "Andrew Yang Steps Down as Venture for America CEO". Silicon Bayou News. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  20. ^ a b "Celebrating a Year of Champions of Change – President Obama Meets with 12 Champions Who Are Making a Difference in Their Communities". (official website archives). April 27, 2012. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  21. ^ "Our Mission & Approach". Venture for America. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  22. ^ Walsh, Tom (August 17, 2014). "Venture for America start-up program takes a shine to Detroit". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  23. ^ "A Book in 5 Minutes: Smart People Should Build Things". TechCo. September 27, 2014. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  24. ^ "Financials". Venture for America. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  25. ^ "Where We Work". Venture for America. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  26. ^ "Generation Startup". Generation Startup documentary film (official website). Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  27. ^ Yang, Andrew (November 6, 2017). "Statement of Candidacy" (PDF). U.S. Federal Election Commission. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  28. ^ Gohd, Chelsea (February 13, 2018). "Meet the long-shot 2020 presidential candidate who might make UBI a reality". Futurism. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  29. ^ Christou, Luke (February 20, 2018). "Andrew Yang 2020? US presidential hopeful tells Verdict how he will save humans from automation". Verdict. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  30. ^ "Yang2020". Andrew Yang for President (official campaign website). Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  31. ^ Sauer, Natalie (February 4, 2019). "What Democratic presidential hopefuls do (and don't) say about the Green New Deal". Climate Change News. Archived from the original on March 8, 2019. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  32. ^ Cooney, Dan (March 19, 2019). "What does Andrew Yang believe? Where the candidate stands on 5 issues". PBS. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  33. ^ a b Roose, Kevin (February 10, 2018). "His 2020 Campaign Message: The Robots Are Coming". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  34. ^ Murphy, Jason Burke (July 16, 2018). "Interview: Presidential campaign brings 'new crowds' to basic income". Basic Income Network. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  35. ^ "Senator Hiram L. Fong". January 11, 2007.
  36. ^ "Patsy Takemoto Mink (1927–2002)". Democratic National Committee. December 20, 2007. Archived from the original on December 20, 2007.
  37. ^ Klar, Rebecca (July 1, 2019). "Yang meets donor requirement for third and fourth debates". The Hill. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  38. ^ Segers, Grace (June 14, 2019). "DNC announces candidates participating in first Democratic primary debates". CBS News. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  39. ^ "Democratic debate: Night two by the numbers". CNN. June 28, 2019. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  40. ^ "Andrew Yang Addresses Mic-Cutting Dispute During Presidential Debate". TheWrap. July 8, 2019. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  41. ^ CNN, Caroline Kelly. "Yang claims microphone was 'off unless called on' during debate; NBC says he's wrong". CNN. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  42. ^ Weigel, David (March 26, 2019). "Politics Analysis – The Trailer: 2020 has its candidate for people who hate politicians". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. OCLC 2269358. Archived from the original on March 26, 2019. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  43. ^ Roose, Kevin (March 20, 2019). "In Andrew Yang, the Internet Finds a Meme-Worthy Candidate". The New York Times. ISSN 1553-8095. Archived from the original on March 20, 2019. Retrieved May 18, 2019.
  44. ^ "Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship". U.S. Department of Commerce. Archived from the original on January 4, 2018. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  45. ^ Tau, Byron (May 11, 2015). "Meet President Obama's Entrepreneurship Ambassadors". Washington Wire Blog, The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. OCLC 781541372. Archived from the original on March 10, 2019. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  46. ^ Rocha, Veronica; Merica, Dan (April 14, 2019). "Yang says he wants to destigmatize autism and create a federal funding program". CNN. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  47. ^ "Reformed Church of New Paltz: "Meet our pastors"". Reformed Church of New Paltz.
  48. ^ "The Freedom Dividend and Faith". Yang 2020 official website blog. May 15, 2018. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  49. ^ The Young Turks (June 29, 2019), Andrew Yang Answers the Internet's Questions, retrieved July 1, 2019
  50. ^ "Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America". Goodreads. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  51. ^ "Kirkus Review". Kirkus Reviews. February 5, 2018. Retrieved March 10, 2019.

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