February 6, 2019

Philanthropy Forward 2019-2020

Philanthropy Forward: Leadership for Change Fellowship

Neighborhood Funders Group and Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions are excited to launch the second year of our Leadership for Change Fellowship for CEOs of progressive philanthropic institutions. This second cohort will add to the original 16 cohort members from the first year, an annually growing network of visionary CEO leaders who share a belief in a model of community partnership that centers community knowledge and power building.

Together, Fellows will be strategic thought partners, with a dedicated space to organize together, boldly envisioning and advancing the transformed future of philanthropy. A future that centers and achieves equity and social justice. Philanthropy Forward Fellows will be unlocking the challenges to philanthropy and realizing its fullest role as a collective financial engine for social change.

For questions, please contact Adriana Rocha at adriana@nfg.org.

Apply Here

Members of Philanthropy Forward's first cohort standing in front of a fall mountain landscape.


Who This is For

This Fellowship is best suited for philanthropic institutions that are already supporting racial equity and powerbuilding and who are looking to go deeper by building a strong peer group and aligning more towards equity and impact.


Benefits of Participation

Outcomes will be at the individual leadership, organizational, and philanthropic field levels. An important component will be building relationships with other foundation CEOs from across the country within the 9-month program. Fellows will be a part of the Fellow Alumni community and will have opportunities to engage with Fellows of previous and future cohorts.

Through Philanthropy Forward, Fellows will:

  • Gather with other foundation CEOs in a dedicated space to explore bold possibilities together;
  • Build momentum with an ongoing peer learning group;
  • Learn about and share systems-level analyses of both promising opportunities and challenges to advancing racial, gender, and economic equity and power building;
  • Organize and experiment with strategic thought partners;
  • Claim and step into individual and collective strengths as leaders for social justice;
  • Better understand and access support around leadership learning edges;
  • Name and understand power dynamics to build community power and advance equity;
  • Deepen their ability to use and integrate action-based tools and strategies such as evaluation, racial equity practices, place-based initiatives, and strategic collaboration; and
  • Consciously foster and cultivate relationships and build a network of peers to support ongoing leadership and innovation in the sector.
Ultimately, the intention is to emerge with a collective identity as a financial engine for social change focusing on community centered strategies, centering long term impacts, and advancing justice, equity and power.


Core Program Components – Participant Experience

Philanthropy Forward’s second cohort will include three 2.5-day retreats during the weeks of September 23rd, 2019, January 27th, 2020, and our closing retreat in Aspen Colorado the week of May 10th, 2020 (exact days are still to be determined). After the kick-off, cohort members receive a 360-degree leadership assessment on equity and power in grantmaking.

The program also includes the following components:
  • Action learning component including experiments, applied ideas, and experiential learning (e.g. power mapping);
  • Optional individual coaching w/core team member;
  • Breakthrough Groups/Peer coaching and Peer Learning;
  • Creating a toolkit of practices and analysis for leading change; and
  • Virtual time to check in on experiments. 

Overall Time Commitment

Estimated time commitment is 12 days over 9 months of Fellowship programming from September, 2019 through May 2020, followed by light evaluation activities in July and August 2020. This includes three in-person meetings plus some additional time in virtual sessions for content and strategy learning, peer coaching, and innovation research and experimentation (the innovation work will be scoped by each fellow to be engaging and and realistic to complete).


Costs of Participation

Registration fee is $10,000 per Fellow.


Timeline for Fellowship

  • Webinar Orientation
    • Summer 2019
  • Cohort In-person Sessions: 3 sessions, 2.5 days each
    • Kick-off: Week of September 23rd, 2019 (Midwest or East)
    • 2.5 days: Week of January 27th, 2020, (West)
    • Close-out: 2.5 days Week of May 10th, 2020 (Aspen, CO)
    • Evaluation during June - July 2020
  • In-between Sessions:
    • Peer coaching
    • Content and strategy webinars
    • Innovation research and experimentation
    • Optional coaching with a faculty member



Apply Here
  • February 6, 2019  –  Applications Open
  • March 4, 2019  –  Applications Close
  • March 26, 2019  –  Cohort Announcement
February 12, 2019

FFJ Advisor Discussion Series: Marisa Franco

Marisa Franco, FFJ Field Advisor and Director and Co-founder of of Mijente, a digital and grassroots hub for Latinx and Chicanx organizing and movement building, speaks on the current political moment and how funders can contribute to movement work.

Tell us about the particular moment you are in with your work and place in the movement.

Entering into our fourth year, we are doing our best to be a vehicle to both respond to the real-time challenges our communities face and a place to find respite, connection, and replenished meaning. Given what the Latinx and Chicanx community faces, we’ve got to walk and chew gum at the same time (and hop on one leg, juggle, and balance something on our head!) but we believe that through the continued growth where organizers, healers, change-makers, designers, and disrupters feel Mijente is a place to meaningfully contribute to collective liberation means we are going in the right direction. It is my view that our most critical task at this time is growth and recruitment - millions of people are becoming exposed to the injustice and summarily wrong direction we are heading in - our organizations must be open and accessible entry points for people to contribute to moving us in the right direction.

How do you understand the political moment that we’re in? What do you think we need to do differently right now?

Ultimately I think that lots of what we reference as threats that are coming are largely here - crisis as a result of climate change is here, it’s being felt across the planet. The extreme backlash and attempt to re-entrench power due to demographic change is here, occurring in localities across the United States. Authoritarianism is a growing threat beyond Donald Trump and within the domestic United States. Given all of this, at the very least I think it’s critical we start to widen our panorama of political understanding to include outside of the United States and make the connections internationally. Rest assured, our adversaries are in coordination - we ignore our movement siblings and the struggle outside of the United States to our own detriment.

What should funders be understanding in this political moment? What should funders be doing to support organizations and movements?

What’s important to understand in this political moment is how the volatility impacts the plans, perspective, and morale of people in organizations and social movements. It has become more and more difficult to lay out plans that feel real given how normal it's become for so much to turn upside down pretty regularly. Some understanding and support of this from funders, particularly when it means proposed work is not carried out in the way it was initially described, is very helpful.

Continued support for rapid response tactics is critical, as well as funds that help convene key groups and/or leaders in this time goes a long way. In times like these, those that are able to adapt and move quickly are well positioned to make impactful changes. These folks have got to be able to do so with enough support and not too many hurdles, hoops, and paper to be able to move. So some of these existing practices around simplifying processes, making funds available for rapid response activities, and pop up convenings is something that has been helpful thus far and is important to continue.

December 10, 2018

Welcome to the new NFG website!

Thank you for visiting Neighborhood Funders Group's new website! We've completely redesigned and improved how it works to make it easier than ever for our members to use as an online resource.

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