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CORE Fellowship Program Design

Equity-Centered Capacity Building

CORE Fellowship Program Design

The Core Fellowship Program operates on four core tenets. While the structure of the model allows for different focuses throughout each phase of the program, below are core tenets that run through the work, regardless of the phase of the program.

Overarching Tenet: We must heal ourselves in order to heal our organizations and our sector. Ways that we start or continue the process of healing are:

① Doing inner work in a nurturing community.
② Centering our shared humanity and decentering white dominance and colonization.
③ Cultivating imagination and possibility.
④ Creating space for slowing down: being, thinking, knowing before doing.

Who is this fellowship for?

The Core Fellowship program is designed for a diverse set of individuals. The success of the work is dependent on bringing together people from all different perspectives and experiences. The fellowship is designed for nonprofit leaders. We believe leadership can exist at any level and is not limited to executives.

The Core Fellowship program is designed intentionally to provide support to individual fellows and their organizations.

  • For Fellows: Over the course of the first year, Fellows will engage in deeply personal work to understand how issues of race, equity, diversity, and inclusion affect everyday life — both in and out of the workplace — and how an equity lens can influence structural transformation. They will create a strategy to support their organization’s equity work and strengthen personal and adaptive leadership — all while building relationships among a network of diverse leaders and organizations. Individual coaching for each fellow will be provided during the first year to assist fellows in their personal leadership work.  
  • For Organizations: The Fellow’s host organizations will build in-house capacity for ongoing race, equity, diversity, and inclusion work. Core Fellows bring the expertise they develop during the course of the Fellowship to their daily work — serving as in-house experts who can engage with issues that the organization faces dynamically, rather than hiring external consultants to conduct static trainings. Additionally, during the second year of participation, the organization will receive a grant for furthering equity at their organization.

Design of the model

Year 1: Healing the core and leading from the inside out

Component 1: Affinity Group and Full Cohort Convenings: 

Purpose of Year 1 Convenings: Fellows see themselves as active learners on a journey of identity development and centering relationships through de-centering white dominant culture. The work will include breaking out into racial/ethnic affinity groups, as well as bringing all racial affinity groups together as a full cohort. 

  • Sense of self: Fellows are building an understanding of how they show up and have an impact in situations, and particularly how their individual contributions can advance racial equity. This process works to understand how different aspects of one’s identity is privileged and/or marginalized in society, and how that’s impacted their leadership in the nonprofit sector. Leaders must intentionally commit time and energy to deepen one’s personal awareness through self-reflection and self-compassion. Leadership based in equity is developed through deep inner work, self-awareness and an ongoing learning and unlearning process. 
  • Centering Relationships: Leaders will address interpersonal experiences of exclusion and bias through centering relationships. Leaders will focus on communicating with a critical consciousness and demonstrating an understanding of power and privilege in order to create trusting interpersonal relationships. Convenings will be designed to incorporate creating leadership partnerships across organizations to reframe the outcomes of success in the non-profit sector – defining success as understanding, cooperation, and collaboration.  Leaders build connective tissue among each other that models the principle of abundance and the power of cooperation. 

Component #2: Coaching support for individual fellow leadership: Each fellow will be paired with a leadership coach. Fellows will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a coach, which will assist them in navigating challenges and developing conditions for ongoing change as fellows continue to work to center equity in themselves, their relationships, and their organizations.

The coach’s responsibility is to:

  • Discover, clarify, and align on participant goals
  • Encourage participant self-discovery
  • Stimulate participant generated solutions and approaches
  • Hold the participant responsible and accountable

Component #3: Engagement with full organizational leadership:

Have you ever been to a conference that inspired you? Have you ever tried to take that learning back to your organization, and not been able to implement the learning? It happens to all of us! In this fellowship, we are searching for how we might best support fellows and their host institutions in ensuring that the experience from the program is implemented at the organization. We plan to do that in several ways:

  • 1-2 check-in meetings with LVCF staff which will include the participating fellows as well as the leadership team, so that LVCF can relay the progress of the work to the whole organization.
  •  A workshop with organizational leadership, including board members.
  • The fellowship will also engage fellows in designing other ways in which organizations can be engaged in the work.

Component #4: Individualized Organizational Equity Discovery Process:

Each organization will be paired with a consultant to undergo an equity organizational development discover process. The assessment process will be individualized based on organizational need and the type of organization.  The purpose of the technical assistance consultant is to help guide the project focus for the second year of the program, which will build capacity at the organizations through an equity lens.

LVCF is also collaborating with Partnering for Change on the program. Partnering for Change will work with each organization on supporting their development of an equity-centered capacity building project.

Please see the full list and bios of Partnering for Change consultants – click here.

Year 2:  Changing the conditions to advance equity

Component #1: Equitable Capacity Building Project at the Host Institution 

Leaders will spark change by taking their learnings and reflections from year 1 and putting them into practice by selecting a capacity-building project that will most effectively shift their organization to be more equitable and sustainable. Capacity building projects will be individualized to the organization’s needs, not a one-size fits all approach. Organizational need will be assessed in partnership with a consultant. Organizations will receive a grant to support the project, and organizations will work over a period of 12 months on advancing their capacity building project. 

Component #2: Fellow Cohort Community of Practice 

During Year 2, a quarterly Community of Practice will occur for continued peer-learning and relationship deepening. 

Beyond Year 2 – Ongoing Movement Building

Continued support and connection to integrate learning and practical applications of Year 1 and Year 2 in ongoing organizational equity and/or development work.

Glossary of Terms

CORE Fellowship Program Glossary – Many of the terms used in the program description require definition, therefore we created a glossary that we consider a work-in-progress as a resource for applicants.

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