Fellowship Toolkit for Funders

Trista and I are both alums from the Association of Black Foundation Executives' Connecting Leaders Fellowship program. The program provided not only the opportunity for us to meet and create the dynamic blogging duo, but also valuable mentorship and coaching experiences. Plus a network (read: support group) of other fellows who we can call upon whenever we need them. Other foundations offering fellowships include the San Francisco Foundation and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

But what if a young leader of a foundation wants to start a fellowship at his or her organization? The North Carolina Network of Grantmakers has released a guide to assist foundations interested in creating fellowships. The guide, Cultivating Young Philanthropic Leaders: How to Establish a Fellowship Program, provides tips and FAQs towards starting a fellowship program. The guide targets foundations in North Carolina but I read through it and I think it's appropriate for foundations located anywhere since the advice is universal.

This, along with EPIP's 2005 report Fellowships in Philanthropy, are potential tools on cultivating the next round of philanthropy leaders. They're the only publications I am aware of but if the New Voices audience knows of others then please post them in the comments section.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

New Voice-Allyson Reaves

As a part of New Voices of Philanthropy's series of articles from other new voices on Philanthropy, I bring you part two of Allyson Reaves' blogs on philanthropy fellowships. Part one can be found here. From Allyson:

And They Gave Me 10-15

One of the big things I’m hoping to exchange some information about this week is the idea of ‘philanthroshipping’ (my corny attempt for a new Webster addition: a fellowship and/or internship in philanthropy…cute, huh?). I was sitting at my orderly Program Associate desk at our South Carolina community foundation one day, and I was daydreaming about how I could become specialized in and get my dream job working for international philanthropy (according to most job descriptions in our field, you HAVE to be specialized….but I’m not, and it’s a tad tough to go back to school now)….then I started to worry about the security of my future….retirement…how can I pay back my excessive student loans…….arg!!!!!

Just that moment, dum dum dum dummmmmmm………the President/CEO of our foundation walks into my office, slides a paper on my desk….and says she thinks I might be interested.

While I’m thinking that this paper is a synopsis of some fabulous new report in the field, or a copy of an article from one of the field’s publications, it was an application to the Emerging Leaders International Fellows Program at the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (CPCS) in New York City (www.philanthropy.org).

January 2007
Long story short, I sent in the paperwork, held my breath for about a month or so……….and was accepted.

Now I was working (at the community foundation) for the type of President who wants to see her team grow…even if it means benching some players once in a while, and so she let me go with her blessing.

March 2007
After we mapped out a contract that pinpointed duties that I could maintain during the 3 months in NYC, I packed up a few annual reports, left a detailed AWAY message on my voicemail, grabbed some business cards, and got on the philanthroship to the Big Apple.

I want to share that this was by far the most influential span of time in my career so far. This fellowship, based at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, was a remarkable roundtable of consistent dialogue and learning, a tremendous network-building venture, and a flat out awesome intellectual exercise in the field of philanthropic work.

June 2007
I wrapped up the fellowship and I was convinced….. International Philanthropy was what I wanted…but I couldn’t find my shot to the top in South Carolina…and I still didn’t have the experience I needed for the position I wanted.

Just when I was daydreaming again…..in comes an e-mail from the fellowship’s ListServ with an announcement about a program in Italy…………..

The announcement read as follows:

There is a call for applications which makes 20 internships available for non-Italian graduates. The maximum age is 30. The deadline is 30 June 2007.

For one internship, knowledge of Italian is not requested. For the remaining 19 internships, a fair knowledge of Italian is requested. All the details are available in the call for applications (see below).

Again, in the attempt to keep my language concise (I know you’ve read lengthy grant apps before!), I sent over my application.

February 2008
While I’m now working on my Italian, this philanthroship that I’m involved with at Fondazione CRT in Torino (www.fondazionecrt.it) is just what Mr. Advancemeplease suggested- getting some intense experience under my belt so that perhaps one day…I can be considered as a potential job candidate with a specialized area of expertise…maybe 10 - 15 years early!!

While fellowships are usually associated with graduate or doctoral programs, there are a variety of research and work-based programs that are intended for practitioners in their chosen field. Just in case you might be looking for a change of environment, take a look at these programs, and see if they might be a match:


Today’s Chat: If you have fellowship experience, please please please, let us know where you were, how it moved your career forward, and….um….any advice for us?

You can read more from Alyson at her blog. Next Monday from Allyson………..Making the Best of your Philanthroship

New Voice-Allyson Reaves

New Voices of Philanthropy is always looking for new writers to share their perspectives of philanthropy on this blog. Allyson Reaves is one of those new voices. Allyson is currently in Italy doing an amazing philanthropy fellowship and I wanted her to share how she got connected to that experience and any other advice that she would have for people trying to break into the field of philanthropy or advance in the field. This will be a three part series from Allyson that will be running for three Mondays. Enjoy! From Allyson:

Your invitation’s in the Mail!

I always slightly tilt my head when I hear a practitioner in philanthropy say ever so nonchalantly, ‘Oh I just fell into the field…..’

Fell? Really? You just fell into the field? Hmmmmm………..Seems like I’ve been trying to knock on..no…knock down the door of entry to the field for a while now….and you just fell….like you didn’t mean to??!?!?!!?!?

It wasn’t until I asked (quite frankly) a very insightful practitioner how I might professionally advance in a field chock-full of leading professionals who keep a tight grip on their leather executive seats for years. No….decades.

So after I asked Mr. Advancemeplease how young folks can direct their efforts to climbing up this ladder while still committing themselves to participating in solutions that address the

social justice, environmental,
arts and culture, education,
health and research, capacity building,
community development issues
of YESTERDAY while planning
-strategically and transparently-
the global civil society of TOMORROW,

he responded very succinctly with 3 ideas of how to move forward…..

1) Start at the bottom and work your way up.
Me: Sounds doable to go after an entry level job.…but everybody in my foundation is comfortable in their seats and probably won’t be retiring or moving any time soon….and I’m ready for a promotion!!! This won’t work for me right now.
2) Come in as a consultant…and if all the right opportunities line up, you may possibly be invited to join the team if a vacancy (or a short term grant to underwrite your salary) opens your door of civil service.
Me: Hmmmm…I’ve got college loans out the yin yang…and I need insurance…and a stable paycheck! This won’t work either.
3) Be invited as an expert in a specialized area.
Me: Does that mean I have to have a Ph.D. in something like International Capacity Building with a Concentration in American Diplomacy?
‘No, ladybug,’ Mr. Advancemeplease replied. ‘You’ve got to get some experience-intense experience-under your belt.
ME: Hmmm…well I want to be involved in International Philanthropy…I’ve got the philanthropy part…now I just need to break into the international side. Now how do I get intense INTERNATIONAL experience in South Carolina??????????????

Today’s Question for you: What’s your step-by-step advice on advancing in the field of philanthropy?

You can read more from Allyson at her blog. Next week from Allyson………..Fellowships and Other Ideas of Getting Experience Under your Belt