The Investing in Leaders of Color (ILOC) Fellowship is a one-year leadership- and capacity-building initiative to acknowledge and support the work of twelve leaders of color who serve communities of color throughout the Carolinas.
Co-designed by participating foundations and an initial group of six participating fellows, this initiative intentionally invests in nonprofit leaders of color to build a broader ecosystem of support for leaders who have experienced systemic disadvantages in their work within the philanthropic and nonprofit fields. Philanthropic partners will engage with the cohort in collective learning, mutual mentorship, and relationship-building throughout the length of the fellowship.
Fellows will receive technical support, capacity building, social capital gains, and network building, as well as the opportunity throughout the year to co-design the initiative alongside funders, tailoring both their experience and future cycles of the fellowship. During this year and subsequent years, fellows will experience long-term investment in themselves, their organizations, and their communities. Selected fellows will receive up to $25,000 in general operating support for their organizations, up to $10,000 stipends for their participation, and the opportunity for additional, ongoing funding with partner organizations following the completion of the fellowship.
The leaders are part of a twelve-member cohort of fellows and philanthropic organizations that will promote trust and connectedness while fostering understanding of the barriers faced by — and opportunities to invest in — leaders of color and the often-underfunded communities and efforts in which they lead. Leaders and funders will engage in experiences grounding them in new ways to relate and align their hopes and expectations for their time together.
This fellowship can offer technical support, cohort development, session planning, capacity building, social capital gains, network building, and the chance to aid other leaders down the line by co-designing the fellowship’s future with the philanthropic organizations.
The fellowship includes funding opportunities:
- Up to $25,000 as general operating support to each leader’s organization
- Up to $10,000 as a stipend to each leader, to be used as the leader deems necessary (e.g., wellness, capacity support, salary elevation)
- The general operating support and the stipend will be disbursed in two payments: the first payment following the first fellowship session and the remaining amount halfway through the fellowship year
- There will be an opportunity for additional, ongoing financial support for the leader’s organization following the completion of the fellowship.
This fellowship will involve shifting the relationship paradigm between leaders and funders. Fellows and funders will be placed in matched partnerships that will lift and value the leaders’ expertise, positioning funders as students to their experiences. Within this mentorship, leaders will explain barriers encountered in the field; receive support from funders to plan organizational goals that are both feasible in the long term and aligned to the organization’s mission; and create new funding relationships for increasing investment in their work. Funders will likewise communicate what they are learning and share how they are considering shifting mindsets and protocols at their foundations.
The initiative will include the following activities:
- A series of sessions to examine the nuanced realities of leaders of color and the philanthropic community.
- Follow-up gatherings to share insights, breakthroughs, and promising activities.
- Determining opportunities for the fellows and the matched relationships to learn about and engage with the leader experience, overcoming barriers, and the long-term feasibility and mission alignment of participants
- Setting goals and strategies for the fellows and the matched relationships that are designed to increase access and relationships to funding partners and networks, including how to secure resources to sustain the work in communities of color or identifying specific challenges that either the fellow or funder would like to work on
- Developing professional and organizational goals to enhance leadership skills and strengthen organizational capacity.