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New York

Training Philanthropic Leaders Worldwide

A long-running program that offers individual community foundation leaders the time and space to do research, reflect, and learn from peers goes a long way to build the community foundation field.
Photo courtesy of Karen Tapia for CSUF News Service

Originally designed to provide professional development training for global civil society practitioners and researchers, the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (CPCS) ran its first International Fellows Program in 1989. Since 2000, its main focus has been on community foundations and strengthening cultures of local giving, whiich prompted Mott to start supporting the program in 1999.

The Center, based at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York (CUNY), currently has two International Fellows Programs:

  • A three-month program for emerging leaders provides leadership training through applied research and professional mentorships to young scholar-practitioners. These leaders generally are under the age of 36, and they either hail from overseas or from communities of color that are under-represented in the U.S. grantmaking sector.
  • A four-week Senior International Fellows Program provides opportunities for the professional development of more experienced practitioners from outside of the United States who are decision-makers in their organizations.

Each program is run once a year. Both emphasize learning about community foundations, philanthropy, and civil society in comparative perspective. The programs engage the fellows through readings, weekly seminars, networking opportunities and site visits. Fellows are introduced to international literature on philanthropy and nonprofits and prepare a research or position paper with recommendations for their institutions, countries and/or regions.

“Mott was working with other foundations in using a variety of tactics to build the community foundation field - seeding the field internationally, hosting exchanges, funding research and sharing best practies. We saw this CUNY fellowship program as putting yet another piece in place to help build the community foundation field globally,” said Elan Garonzik, former Mott program officer and current vice president of programs at Elma Philanthropies.

CPCS director and philanthropy scholar Dr. Kathleen McCarthy leads the program while foundation leaders, researchers and other experts in the nonprofit field serve as mentors and guest lecturers. Fellows also visit community foundations, attend local meetings and participate in relevant national and international conferences. Just as importantly, fellows learn from each other through sharing their experiences.

Key Lessons

undefinedTake the Long View

  • 191

  • 1989

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CUNY Fellow Profiles

Countries of Residence at Time of CUNY International Fellowship
Through 2014

Many doors have opened for program alumni as a result of the knowledge and contacts they have gained. Some have gone on to create new foundations or lead national, regional, and international support organizations around the globe. Others work across the sectors, in corporate philanthropy, government, nonprofits and universities.

Institutions created with significant participation of program alumni include:

  • A Center for Philanthropy in Ukraine that conducts fundraising workshops led by international experts;
  • Turkey’s first community foundation and a U.S.-based Turkish American diaspora fund;
  • A community foundation in Egypt that builds on traditional Islamic giving practices;
  • The Ibero-American Community Foundation Network for Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries; and
  • Membership associations for community foundations in Poland and in New Zealand.

Initiatives underway in 2014 include:

  • Applying in-country diaspora models to start rural community funds in South Africa;
  • Strengthening youth philanthropy initiatives in Canada and Russia; and
  • Facilitating corporate-community engagement in Russia and Cyprus.

Alumni also worked on a number of publications linked to their research as fellows, including a 300-page discourse on community foundations in Germany, published in German in January 2013, to mark 15 years of community foundations in that country.

These and similar undertakings, built on seminar discussions and readings on a range of topics, are helping program alumni to advance community philanthropy and civil society around the globe.