Introducing Our 2017 Momentum Fellowship Host Foundations

Introducing Our 2017 Momentum Fellowship Host Foundations

Maya Thornell-Sandifor, Learning Strategy Director

Philanthropy Northwest's Momentum Fellowship launched in 2015 with nine emerging leaders placed at six private and community foundations in Alaska, Oregon and Washington. Our inaugural cohort of professionals from underrepresented communities, particularly communities of color, brought a tremendous set of skills and experiences to the sector and to their host foundations and shared their journey with us through our blog, regional programs and national conversations along the way. Building off their energy, talent and experiences, we are excited to open the application process for the 2017 Momentum Fellowship with 11 positions at seven foundations across the Northwest.

We're pleased to welcome back Marguerite Casey Foundation (Seattle, WA), Meyer Memorial Trust (Portland, OR) and Rasmuson Foundation (Anchorage, AK) as host foundations, and to welcome The Collins Foundation (Portland, OR), Empire Health Foundation (Spokane, WA), Whatcom Community Foundation (Bellingham, WA) and Women's Foundation of Oregon (Portland, OR) to the new cohort. The 11 open fellowship positions are customized to each host and include a mix of traditional program roles and roles on the business side of philanthropy (e.g., communications and operations). This is in line with Philanthropy Northwest's intention to support diversity in all parts of philanthropy and in a range of different types of foundations.

For Cohort II, we have also expanded support from Philanthropy Northwest for up to two years, including onboarding training for host sites and leadership development and networking opportunities for fellows. Alumni from Cohort I, most now working as full-time staff in the sector, will also be engaged as peer mentors for Cohort II. 

About the Momentum Fellowship

The Momentum Fellowship is 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. The Momentum Fellowship grew out of discussions among members of our CEO cohort on diversity, equity and inclusion, who were interested in encouraging more individuals from diverse backgrounds to commit to careers in the philanthropy and nonprofit sectors. The fellowship offers a robust learning experience, both through activities at host site foundations — where fellows will be placed — and through a suite of programming and network opportunities coordinated by Philanthropy Northwest.

Our strategy framework, the platform for our network's vision that Northwest communities have vibrant, healthy futures that honor our past, our people and our cultures, includes our belief that philanthropy at its best "is diverse, equitable and inclusive," "builds capacity in the social sector," "collaborates with stakeholders" and "assesses and learns from results." This mindset has helped shape our preparations for our second cohort of Momentum Fellowship locations, positions, candidates and mentors.

We're excited about the potential for this program to help expand pathways for diverse professionals interested in philanthropy and to broaden the diversity of viewpoints within the sector! For more information, please visit our Momentum Fellowship 2017 application page and help us spread the word.

Maya Thornell-Sandifor is Philanthropy Northwest's director of learning strategy. She can be reached at