Senior Director for Philanthropy
Olena leads the cancer major gifts fundraising team and has been a member of UW Medicine Advancement’s team since 2010. She serves as the lead for precision oncology and immune-oncology fundraising. Olena is motivated by working on visionary projects that improve people’s lives and by creating inspiring and meaningful philanthropic experiences for our donors.
Prior to joining UW Medicine, Olena spent nine years working on the Children of Chornobyl Relief and Development Fund (CCRDF), working to strengthen NICU, pediatric cardiac surgery and pediatric oncology programs in children’s hospitals in Ukraine. After working at their New Jersey office for two years, Olena moved to Kyiv, Ukraine on a Fulbright fellowship, working with scientists and subsistence farm communities to limit radionuclide content in agricultural products near Chornobyl. Then she served as country director of CCRDF in Ukraine — at which point one of Ukraine’s fledgling philanthropists supported the organization’s program in neonatology and perinatology, creating a comprehensive national program in all 27 regions of Ukraine.
Olena has a B.A. in English and a minor in French from the Schreyer Honors College at Pennsylvania State University. Olena is married to Yuriy Nyzhnykevych, who is a construction project manager with KPFF Consulting Engineers, and they have two energetic daughters, Maya and Ariana Vesna.