WRAG’s Philanthropy Fellows program is powering future leaders

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Six years ago, WRAG and the University of Maryland partnered to connect students interested in philanthropy and nonprofit leadership with high-quality fellowship opportunities with WRAG’s member organizations. The goal? To provide tomorrow’s social sector leaders with a deeper understanding of philanthropy and the needs of the Greater Washington region. Since the start of the program, over 60 students have worked at over 30 foundations, CSR programs, and philanthropy-serving organizations across the region.

These fellows have gone on to careers in philanthropy, local and national nonprofits, and local, state, federal government (not to mention teaching, the law, international development, and more). We recently checked in with a number of former Philanthropy Fellows to find out where they are now – and the influence that their experience working in philanthropy as students has had on their careers since graduation. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Maggie Croushore, Manager, Communications and Partnerships, Education, City of Oakland Office of the Mayor
2011 Philanthropy Fellow at the J. Willard & Alice S. Marriott Foundation

“Being a Philanthropy Fellow was incredibly influential in my career choice and will continue to inform my future decisions. The fellowship allowed me to better understand how philanthropic decisions in education are made while building skills and a strong network in education reform. My supervisor quickly became a mentor during the fellowship and continues to act as a resource and mentor to this day.”

Jalisa Whitley, Consultant to Nonprofits
2012 Philanthropy Fellow at the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region

“My philanthropy fellowship opened my eyes to the field of philanthropy. I previously hadn’t thought of the role a funder could have – or that this was a career that would be available to people of color. The experience definitely put me into contact with influential individuals in the field and helped me make connections to secure a job after graduation.”

Charlie Cummings, Program Director, State Educator Voice Fellowships, America Achieves
2012 Philanthropy Fellow at The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation
2011 Philanthropy Fellow at the J. Willard & Alice S. Marriott Foundation

“Being a Philanthropy Fellow improved my understanding of philanthropy. Fundraising is a big part of my job now, and from being a Fellow I have insights into ways to hook the attention of program officers and cultivate relationships with them, the dynamics of foundation staff and their boards, and how to craft a successful grant proposal.”

Allison Ray Akalonu, Associate Director of Data, Technology and Analytics, Achieving the Dream
2013 Philanthropy Fellow at Exponent Philanthropy

“Working as a Philanthropy Fellow improved my understanding of small foundations and issues unique to that philanthropic community. I was able to use my fellowship experience coming out the graduate program to bolster my resume and bring a broader perspective of nonprofit issues to my current employer.”

Andrea Wieters, Member Engagement Specialist, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
2013 Philanthropy Fellow at the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

“I greatly enjoy working in a philanthropy-serving organization/association and helping those who are helping others achieve their mission. Working with WRAG as a Philanthropy Fellow opened the door to the PSO world as a viable career path. And, it helped me to understand the philanthropic landscape beyond what I learned in class – practical experience always pays off!”

WRAG Members: Apply to host a Philanthropy Fellow for Fall 2017 or Academic Year 2017-2018 by Friday, May 12. Click here to learn more about the program, participation requirements, and to view sample fellowship position descriptions. Questions? Contact Rebekah Seder, seder@washingtongrantmakers.org.