Gaining Momentum: A New Fellowship Program Launches

April 14, 2015

Sindhu Knotz, Partner, The Giving Practice

Three years ago, The Giving Practice partnered with the D5 Coalition on a research project to explore how foundations in our region were grappling with issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. In addition to our final report, Vision and Voice: The Role of Leadership and Dialogue in Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, one outcome of that partnership was our commitment to leading peer cohorts of foundation leaders — which we discovered to be a powerful approach for advancing these values.

In our work with our first CEO cohort on diversity, equity and inclusion, we discussed the importance of a strong pipeline of diverse leaders. While the demographics of our nation have changed dramatically over the last decade, philanthropy has been slow to mirror these changes. Moving from conversation to action, the cohort began to explore the idea of a new fellowship program that would address this challenge.

Announcing the Momentum Fellowship

I am excited to announce that Philanthropy Northwest has launched the Momentum Fellowship, a program designed to prepare professionals from underrepresented communities, particularly communities of color, for successful careers in the philanthropic sector through professional development, networking and mentoring opportunities.

Philanthropy Northwest will host this program, and fellows will be placed at host foundations across our region for 18-24 month full-time positions. Momentum Fellows will receive professional development, networking, and mentoring opportunities in addition to substantive work experience at their host foundation. Participating foundations in the first year include: Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Community Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation and Northwest Health Foundation. Many thanks to our sponsors, the Marguerite Casey Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Rasmuson Foundation, and the Oregon Community Foundation.

I am so excited about the potential for this program to help expand pathways for professionals in philanthropy and increase the diversity of viewpoints in the sector. We know we have a lot to learn — this will be a new initiative for Philanthropy Northwest and our first class of fellows will be a pilot. We plan to learn test, and adapt our model as we learn more about how to create a transformational experience both for fellows and their host foundations.

Stay tuned for more, but I hope you’ll join us in spreading the word to your networks and rising leaders — the Momentum Fellowship is here!