What is The New York Community Trust Leadership Fellows?

The New York Community Trust Leadership Fellows program is a professional development fellowship for nonprofit practitioners. It is a unique initiative of The New York Community Trust, established in association with the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College and its Office of Executive Programs and the Center for Nonprofit Strategy and Management.


What is its aim?

The Leadership Fellows program aims to ensure that tomorrow’s nonprofit organizations have the human capital to flourish and advance their missions on behalf of the people of New York City, Long Island, and Westchester.


What are its objectives?

The objectives are:

  • To equip 60 mid-career practitioners, chosen each year from NYCT grantee organizations, with the knowledge, competencies, and skills to be more effective managers and leaders
  • To support these practitioners in applying their newly learned skills within their organizations
  • To develop participants’ understanding and appreciation of both the overall nonprofit sector in the greater New York City region and the impact of local, state and federal government policies and regulations on their work
  • To foster a network of graduates who can learn and find support from their peers within and across the different sub-sectors of the New York nonprofit community
  • To connect practitioners with leaders and policy makers in the New York metropolitan region
  • To provide a malleable curriculum that allows participants to identify and enhance their particular talents
  • To create an appetite for lifelong professional development


What are the eligibility requirements?

  • You must be a mid-career professional with a minimum of five years of overall nonprofit experience and at least three years of managerial experience — managing people, projects, and budgets.
  • Your organization must have received a grant from The New York Community Trust, The Westchester Community Foundation, The Long Island Community Foundation, or Robin Hood within the last three years. Unfortunately, donor-advised grants are not eligible.
  • You must be nominated by your executive director or CEO.


Are there any fees associated with this program?

All of the costs associated with the fellowship are underwritten by the New York Community Trust. The program is effectively free for applicants.


How many cohorts does the fellowship have annually?

There are two cohorts per year: spring and fall.


What is the course structure like?

Fellows will participate in approximately 24 virtual class sessions (utilizing Zoom) which are scheduled on Thursdays and Fridays from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. They will also attend a minimum of four Leadership Conversations, which are scheduled once per month on Mondays from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The sessions will be taught by distinguished faculty from the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs as well as other experienced practitioners.

Fellows also have the opportunity to have a minimum of four 1-hour meetings with a carefully selected mentor affiliated with the fellowship.


How do I submit a nomination?

For a link to the application form, please see our applications page here.


How are nominations evaluated?

Nominations are scored on a 25-point scale. Candidates are awarded a maximum of 5 points for each of the following categories:

  • Evidence of Relevant Management Experience: Has the candidate been responsible for managing a project or program? Has the candidate managed staff, volunteers, board members, or other stakeholders at his/her current organization?
  • Analytical Thinking: Does the candidate describe a challenge or issue that gives context to his/her proposed project?
  • Written Communication Skills: Is the writing clear and convincing?
  • Leadership Experience: Has the candidate held leadership roles involving staff, volunteers, board members, or other stakeholders at his/her organization? Does the candidate have leadership experience prior to his/her current organization?
  • Proposed Change Project: Does the proposed change project make sense for the organizational issue(s) or challenge(s) the candidate has identified?


Can my organization nominate more than one person to be a Leadership Fellow?

Each organization may only nominate one individual per cohort.


What is the change project?

The change project is an initiative of front-burner importance for the organization, developed in consultation with the executive director or CEO of the organization. The projects must address a leadership or management issue, challenge, and/or opportunity facing their organizations. Fellows use the skills gained through the curriculum to develop a strategic plan to bring the change project to fruition.


Can my change project evolve during the fellowship?

Yes, the projects can and do change. However, all changes must be approved by the executive director or CEO of the organization.


Who completes the nomination form?

The executive director or CEO completes the first page of the nomination form. The nominee then completes the rest of the form, including a brief description of their planned change project. The executive director or CEO must then review and approve the completed nomination form before it is transmitted.


Are there educational eligibility requirements?

There are no educational restrictions. Candidates with advanced degrees, as well as those without any college experience, are eligible and encouraged to apply.


What are the Leadership Conversations?

The Leadership Conversations are informal conversations with outside guest speakers hosted by moderators from our program. These discussions provide an opportunity for fellows and alumni to be together outside the classroom and to engage in conversation with leaders of foundations, nonprofit organizations, and city and state government.


What time commitment is required of fellows?

Fellows are required to attend all class sessions, participate in a minimum of 4 Leadership Conversations, meet regularly with their mentors, and complete all assigned readings, written assignments, surveys, and presentations. As of the Fall 2020 cohort, all classes are conducted virtually through Zoom. They begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 12:00 p.m.


Will there be required work outside of the virtual classroom?

Yes. Faculty will assign readings and, in some cases, written assignments. Additionally, during the course of the semester, fellows are required to submit one midterm writeup and one final writeup about the change project that they presented in their nomination forms.


Where will classes be held?

In years past, classes were typically held at FPWA or at Baruch College. As of the Fall 2020 cohort, all classes will be conducted virtually through Zoom.


Do fellows receive an academic certificate?

Upon completion of this program, Leadership Fellows will receive an an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership & Management from the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College. Baruch College is one of the six senior colleges of the City University of New York.


When are nominations due?

For the current cohort’s nomination deadline, please see our applications page here.


Who teaches the classes?

Faculty members of the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College and other experienced practitioners serve as lecturers for this program. For a glance at our most recent faculty members, please visit our faculty page here.


When are the course readings and syllabus made available?

Fellows will receive these documents a week before the first class date.


How can I find out more?

Please feel free to reach out to us at info@trustleadership.org if you have any other questions!