Tag Archives: capacity

More than helping: wanting to make a difference

One of the most common questions on Quora and the Community Service section of Yahoo is regarding what kind of volunteering is “best.” Given the number of these type of questions from teens and 20-somethings on these platforms, I don’t buy the line about millennials not caring about society, not caring about others, etc. They wouldn’t keep asking questions about volunteering if they didn’t care about something more than themselves. But the number of questions, always about what kind of volunteering they should do, which one is “best”, etc., also shows that a lot of people are lost when it comes to knowing what is a meaningful volunteering opportunity and what would be most worthwhile to them.

Too many initiatives have focused on promoting volunteering without giving realistic guidance on how to find volunteering opportunities – not just how to use a database that lists volunteering opportunities, but how to choose which task or role would be best for someone.

I put assistance to people and communities into two categories:

  1. relief/aid/comfort/charity, such as giving food, providing emergency shelter, providing emergency medical aid, chopping wood for people that heat their homes with such in winter, singing for sick kids to cheer them up, making blankets for children in cancer wards, collecting food for a food bank, etc.
  2. development, such as educating people about HIV/AIDS, educating people about organic farming, providing preventative medical care, educating people about the importance of spaying and neutering pets, creating a community garden that provides food, educates about food production and builds community, etc..

Activities in category number one usually don’t change anything long-term. They usually don’t create a widespread or sustainable change — it helps just in an immediate moment. Not that that’s bad – sometimes, often, that’s exactly what’s needed, such as providing a cold weather shelter on a freezing night, or food for an area decimated by a natural disaster.

Activities under the second category are focused on changing things long-term. The activities are meant to change people’s behavior or how people think about something or to help people to not need emergency aid anymore. These are the activities that, I admit, I am MUCH more interested in personally and professionally.

One kind of assistance isn’t necessarily better than the other. Some situations call for approach #1, and some call for approach #2. Also, activities that seem to be short-term charity can actually contribute to longer-term development and transformations. For instance, say you have a program that helps youth explore leadership activities, better understand their community, work together better, reduce conflict with other young people, etc. So you organize charitable activities for the youth, like participating in a Habitat for Humanity build, or cleaning up a beach, or serving food at a homeless shelter. All of those activities are charitable activities that provide immediate, but not lasting, aid – yet, those activities can contribute to long-term changes / transformations for the youth involved.

Several years ago, because of these frequently asked questions from young people about volunteering, particularly Girl Scouts looking for Gold Award ideas, I made a list of Ideas for Leadership Volunteering. It grows regularly as I come across articles about young people making a difference through their own, self-initiated volunteering activities. It’s focused mostly on that second category of community assistance. If you are a young person looking to make a long-lasting impact on your community through volunteering, this is a good place to start. In fact, I have used this list with women in developing countries who are looking for avenues to cultivate their own community leadership skills.

I also have a list of ways for young people to find community service and volunteering.

Other resources I have for people who want to volunteer:

Can fiction help us work better in humanitarian aid & development? Yes.

What can fiction teach people for working in humanitarian aid and development? Quite a lot! Fiction can build depth, richness and empathy to the concepts development professionals grapple with daily. Adaobi “Ada” Nkeokelonye explores this topic regularly via her blog, fictioningdevelopment.org. She finds surprising connections between fictional narratives and her day-to-day experience as a development professional. This interview with her from DevelopmentEx offers great background.

She’s worth following on Twitter: @adankeokelonye

Also see:

Aid workers in fiction – new ABC show in January in 2011

TV depictions of volunteerism

Civil Society Capacity Building: Why?

logoMy favorite kind of professional work is building the capacities of civil society organizations, especially in transitional and developing countries, to communicate, to change minds and to engage a variety of people and communities, through communications, dialogue and volunteering. But the term civil society isn’t used in USA as commonly as it is elsewhere, and many don’t understand exactly what I mean when I talk about my favorite type of work.

Civil society is a term commonly heard outside the USA when discussing community development. Civil society is a term for the assortment of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), nonprofit organizations, activist groups and institutions that, together, demonstrate the interests and will of residents of a particular area. Note, however, that these interests do not have to be the will of a majority of residents.

Civil society organizations include:

  • academia
  • activist groups
  • charities
  • clubs (sports, social, etc.)
  • community foundations
  • community organizations
  • consumer organizations
  • cooperatives / co-ops
  • foundations
  • non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • non-profit organizations (NPOs)
  • political parties
  • professional associations
  • religious groups
  • social enterprises (an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being)
  • support groups
  • trade unions
  • voluntary associations
  • foundations, government funders and international agencies have been supporting civil society for many years in developing countries. The goals with such support is to:
  • foster social equality (access to civil rights, freedom of speech, property rights, health, economic prosperity, education, social engagement, etc.)
  • foster civic engagement, including volunteerism
  • create a greater sense of ownership of what happens within a community by those that live there
  • create greater participation in addressing critical community and environmental needs
  • ensure a diversity of voices are represented in community decision-making
  • act as a counter to negative forces such as corruption, extremism, anarchy, etc.
  • ensure that civil society can work within the range of actors required for a country’s development.

This new resource explores why is it important for a country to have a robust, sustainable civil society, what is meant by the phrase civil society capacity building, and how capacities of civil society are strengthened.

Also see:

Capacity Assessment Tool for Mission-Based Organizations

This is AWESOME: a free NGO Capacity Assessment Tool. It can be used to identify an NGO’s or a nonprofit’s strengths and weaknesses and help to establish a unified, coherent vision of what a mission-based organization can be. The tool provides a step-by-step way to map where an organization is and can help those working with the agency or program, including consultants, board members, employees, volunteers, clients, and others, to decide which functional areas need to be strengthened and how to go about to strengthen them.

Sharing the results of using this tool in funding proposals and even on your web site can demonstrate to donors and potential donors the capabilities of your organization.

The tool was compiled by Europe Foundation (EPF) in the country of Georgia, and is based on various resources, including USAID – an NGO Capacity Assessment Supporting Tool from USAID (2000), the NGO Sustainability Index 2004-2008, the Civil Society Index (2009) from CIVICUS, and Peace Corps/Slovakia NGO Characteristics Assessment for Recommended Development (NGO CARD) 1996-1997.

EPF also hosts a clinic to support NGOs and the Georgian civil society sector, on the first Friday of the month from 3 to 5 p.m., and has a grants program for NGO initiatives in Georgia.

Also see:

capacity building tools & resources for CSO strengthening

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), my current and semi-frequent employer, does a lot of its work to help developing countries through those countries’ local civil society organizations (CSOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). But in many developing countries, these CSOs and NGOs are small, are new, and/or are unfamiliar with practices that can help them be sustainable and very effective.

UNDP has curated a list of capacity building tools and resources for CSO strengthening, with toolkits, guides and classes from a variety of organizations. This list is meant to be used by UNDP country offices and programs as they work with CSOs and NGOs for program delivery.

It’s an excellent list and I’m sharing it here. If you have updates, send them to nadine.ravaud@undp.org; remember that resources should be easy-to-access and free or VERY low-cost.

Resource mobilization and fundraising

Internal governance and management

Code of good practice for civil participation in the decision-making process

Civil society accountability

Capacity analysis and capacity building

Monitoring and evaluation

Gender and youth mainstreaming

Networking and partnerships (with other stakeholders)

Advocacy and campaigning

Engaging with the media and social media


II.                  Selected training institutions

 Listed by alphabetical order:

Assessing the Flow of Tech Talent into Government & Civil Society

Assessing the Flow of Tech Talent into Government & Civil Society: An evaluation of the technology talent landscape shows a severe paucity of individuals with technical skills in computer science, data science, and the Internet or other information technology expertise in civil society and government. The report investigates broadly the health of the talent pipeline that connects individuals studying or working in information technology-related disciplines to careers in public sector and civil society institutions. Barriers to recruitment and retention of individuals with the requisite skills include compensation, a perceived inability to pursue groundbreaking work, and cultural aversion to innovation.

This report was written by Freedman Consulting, LLC, and was commissioned by the Ford Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Excerpt from the executive summary:

Technology now mediates a vast set of relationships, but the number of individuals who can understand, build, and work with these evolving technology tools and platforms remains relatively small… through the effective use of technology is among the greatest contemporary opportunities for the public sector.

Civil society faces a similar set of challenges and opportunities. Technology has emerged as a transformative tool for how non-governmental organizations are able to build movements, raise money, disseminate information, provide services, and generate conversation.

In addition, both government and civil society will play a crucial role in making decisions about how technology should be used across all sectors of contemporary society. This includes identifying opportunities to utilize technology as a solution, but it also involves a sophisticated and challenging set of conversations about limitations on the use of technology, whether by private or public institutions…

Recent examples illustrate in vivid detail both the complexity of these issues and their growing relevance. The launch of President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy initiative health care reform has been stymied by significant malfunctioning of HealthCare.Gov, the online portal intended to provide health insurance to millions of Americans… In particular, because HealthCare.Gov was built largely by private contractors, questions have emerged about whether government agencies employ enough individuals with the skills to knowledgeably manage outside vendors for extensive technology projects…

…deep questions remain about the ability for many areas of government and civil society to identify, cultivate, and retain individuals with the necessary skills for success in a world increasingly driven by information technology.

I like the report, upon first glance – but I missed anything about recommendations about how there must be a change in how FUNDERS think. Without a change in how funders think about paying for overhead at nonprofits and community initiatives and about how they pressure nonprofits to keep administrative costs low, the funding needed for the changes recommended in this report isn’t going to happen – and therefore the changes aren’t going to happen.

Volunteer Engagement the Roller Derby Way

logoSunday, I did an intensive, advanced training (as opposed to an introductory/basic training) for representatives from the roller derby leagues in Portland (the Rose City Rollers) and Seattle (Rat City Rollers) regarding volunteer management. These leagues involve several hundred volunteers – and have done so, quite effectively, for a few years now. Volunteers don’t just help at games; women’s roller derby has a particular focus on empowering women and girls, and most meets include fundraising components for a charity, which means volunteers are engaged in a huge range of activities.

But the rapid growth of these leagues – which shows no signs of abating – means that they don’t always have the procedures and policies in place to handle volunteer management challenges as they arise, or even how to identify issues long before they become bigger problems for the organizations. I hope that my training helped them to be able to access the resources they need to deal with specialized volunteer recruitment, board recruitment, volunteer conflict, keeping volunteers motivated, tracking volunteer information and contributions, and anticipate and address issues regarding volunteer engagement long before such becomes a program killer.

But with a staff made up of paid employees and volunteers, most of whom have NO training in working with volunteers, these leagues have done a remarkable job of engaging volunteers already.

What are people at these roller derby organizations doing that many traditional organizations that involve volunteers are not?

  • They have organizational-wide commitments to volunteers being satisfied with their experiences. Supporting and honoring volunteers is EVERYONE’S job. It never dawned on them that this should be just one person’s job at an organization, or that an employee could refuse to work with volunteers.
  • All staff work with volunteers. ALL STAFF. That means all staff — every paid person and all volunteers — create assignments for volunteers and/or work with volunteers. That means, even though there were just two organizations represented at this training, I wasn’t speaking to just two people: the designated volunteer coordinators. Instead, I was also talking to paid staff, volunteer staff, players, event volunteers, committee chairs, skating officials and on and on.
  • It never dawned on them to value volunteers purely by an hourly monetary amount, and some of them were actually offended by the idea. They acknowledge that it’s sometimes necessary for a grant application, but otherwise, they have much better reasons for saying they involve volunteers, and why volunteers are necessary to the organization.
  • They use every Internet tool and software tool they can find to work with and support volunteers – the value of such is obvious to them, with no need for a virtual volunteering workshop to convince them (as is with most traditional organizations).
  • Volunteers go to the same meetings as employees, and take leadership roles in coordinating events, reaching out to sponsors, selling merchandise, and representing the organization. You can’t tell who is or isn’t a volunteer just by a person’s title!
  • They didn’t blink over the phrase, “If a task can be done by a human, it can be done by a volunteer.” When I use that statement in a training for traditional organizations, there is often an uproar (which is why I use it – how I love stirring things up!). The Roller Derby reps reaction: “yes, and?”
  • They don’t look for ways to thank volunteers with regards to mugs and pins, or posters that say things like, “Volunteers are our angels!” They know what their volunteers want: real, sincere appreciation that permeates the organization, that doesn’t happen just on a volunteer appreciation luncheon that, at many other organizations, the board nor the Executive Director would even bother attending.
  • While they want to be great at handling conflict among staff, including volunteers, they completely accept that conflict and criticisms happen and have no fear of such (most orgs I work with want to know how to prevent all conflict and criticism).
  • They embrace the idea of most volunteers joining up because they want to have fun. They don’t think that’s a bad idea for volunteering.
  • They have an organization that welcomes people of all ages and all walks of life, and these organizations could probably lead their own workshop on how to creating a welcoming environment for teen volunteers, LGBT volunteers, low-income volunteers, homeless volunteers, volunteers with disabilities and various other groups that are under-represented at so many other organizations. It’s a workshop I would LOVE to attend!
  • Not once did I ever hear, “Oh, we’re not allowed to do that.” I hear that at least twice during presentations to other organizations. Not that these organizations don’t know and follow rules, like how to screen and supervise volunteers that will work with teens – but when it comes to ideas about new ways to work with volunteers, they never come from a place of fear.
  • They laughed heartily at my story of a certain online discussion group for volunteer managers in the USA that shall remain nameless having constant discussions about where to find examples of forms and policies (“Don’t they know how to use Google?”) or how to ban volunteers that have tattoos (I can’t repeat what was said re: this).

I got this gig because I did a presentation earlier this year for the Northwest Oregon Volunteer Administrators Association (NOVAA) on trends in volunteer engagement. NOVAA serves the greater Portland metropolitan area, including Vancouver, Washington. Afterwards, a woman came up, handed me a card, lauded me for my presentation and said, “You are soooo roller derby.”

As I learned from attending two match nights, roller derby players leave everything on the track during a game, and I left everything in that conference room for this training on Sunday; I have never been more exhausted after a training, so determined was I to win these folks over and point them to the resources they need to be even more successful at engaging with volunteers. And one of my favorite comments afterwards was this:

“Srsly, this was awesome. I have a very low tolerance for BS facilitated meetings about hypothetical nonsense. This was none of that.”

Almost made me want to cry… a high compliment, indeed.

If you are putting together a volunteer management conference, listen up: I’m happy to train, and I really hope you will invite me to do so. But invite someone from a roller derby league too – I recommend the Portland league in particular, of course. Because it’s long overdue for these conferences to get a shake up. And I think roller derby may be just the org to do it!

I have seen the future of volunteer engagement and IT’S ROLLER DERBY.

Here’s a photo on Facebook that sums up just what an amazing experience matches can be, btw.

mama jane.

I get a lot of emails from people who are not native English speakers, or have not had a lot of education in terms of written English.

That means I can’t immediately delete emails that are full of misspellings, ARE WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS, or that don’t make for easy reading – all of the criteria that most people use to screen out scammers and spammers. Instead, I have to read such emails carefully and make sure they aren’t really from a small NGO in a remote country. And even after reading such emails, I’m not always certain.

Here’s an example of the kind of emails I get:

mama jane,
my name is youssuph 18,living in somaliland aka northern somalia .
iam highly interesred in your work n want to be like u in the future,but for now i want u to be our organisation advicer which we have accomoplish the legality of our organisation-we are waiting approval from the ministry
i ,could like to share your 2 decade experience ,
i LOVE your work mama jane.
it is sooooooooooo wonderful
i also could say WELCOME to somaliland .
mwaa jane craven

I’m guessing this person is at least somewhat for real – he got my name mostly right. I have no idea what he really wants – which is often the case when I get these kinds of emails.

But I write back, and see if I can’t direct the person to a local organization or online resource that could help them. And very often, it turns out that it’s a real person, writing from a real NGO.

I always appreciate it when the person doesn’t call me “Sir”. I much prefer mama jane.

And the world keeps getting smaller…

Survival Strategies for Nonprofits

I’ve seen two blogs in the last two weeks regarding survival strategies for nonprofit organizations (NPOs), non-governmental organizations, (NGOs), community based organizations (CBOs), charities, etc., per the current dire economic climate.

I was unimpressed with both of them. They were all big picture ideas that lacked specifics (Refine your mission! or Merge with another organization!). Mission-based organizations are looking for ideas to do next week, to save or make money now.

These blogs also talked about volunteers only in terms of saving money – get volunteers to do those things that, in better economic times, you would pay someone to do.

So I came up with my own ideas, based on what I’ve experienced or observed at other organizations, to help a mission-based organization survive these tough economic times:

  • Make sure your web site and all of your social media activities emphasize what your organization is accomplishing, in detail, rather than your desperate need for funds. If someone looks at your web site, it should exude impact and results, not desperation. People and organizations are cutting back on donations, but they are NOT eliminating giving altogether; they want to give where they know their money will make a real difference. If your web site & social media activities aren’t emphasizing results and opportunities, and isn’t showing exactly what donations pay for, you are regularly missing out on donations.
  • Are you charging for activities and services as you should? For instance:
    • Organizing an activity for a group of volunteers from the local branch of a national bank requires a huge amount of time and resources on your part, often to create an activity that your own employees could do more efficiently or an activity that’s actually not critical to the organization – the activity is to give the group a feel-good experience, but it’s at your expense. Are you charging the corporation a fee, even a small amount, to cover some or all of these costs? Be ready to show a detailed lists of what the costs are for your organization to create this group volunteering activity.
    • Corporations frequently ask nonprofits to collaborate on a project, to advise the company on an activity, such as the development of new software or the launching of an event. For anything that is going to require staff to spend more than an hour on a corporation’s project, ask the corporation to cover the staff person’s time. Consider this: if you wanted the company to do a project for your organization, they would most probably charge you for that service – so why not ask them for the same consideration?
    • What about training for volunteers – what are the exact costs of this, and should you be asking volunteers to pay for some of these costs, even a small amount? Would a corporation be willing to give you a donation in return for saying that they “sponsor” all volunteer training?
  • Does your organization have a service or activity it could sell, for a fee? For instance,
    • If you are a women’s shelter that involves volunteers as counselors to victims of domestic violence, could you market the training you provide to these volunteers to local businesses, corporations and large government offices, as professional development for their employees? Those organizations could pay to have your trainer come onsite to their companies and train their staff regarding recognizing domestic violence, how to make referrals if they see an employee in need, etc.
    • If you are an animal shelter, would area dog trainers be willing to come onsite for a seminar on pet safety or pet training, providing their one-day training for free, with the seminar fee going to your shelter, and the trainers being allowed to pass out advertising about their training to attendees?
    • Do you charge even a nominal fee to those that want to use your company lunch room or common room bulletin board to advertise local services? (restaurants, pet boarding, printing, apartment finders, etc.).
    • Do you have a large space you could rent to other organizations and companies for events, meetings or storage?
  • Ask employees and volunteers for ways to cut expenses in the coming weeks and the coming months. Have them look at their individual program and department budgets and come back to you with ideas of ways to eliminate expenses. Let them submit ideas on-the-record and anonymously. Open ideas up to discussion (on a private online discussion group, for instance, or over lunch – and, of course, staff should provide their own lunches). You might be surprised at just how much money could be saved per the ideas of your own employees and volunteers.
  • Give each department or program a required target for expense reduction. 10%? 20%?
  • Do the written job descriptions for every employee and high-responsibility, long-term volunteer role at your organization reflect reality? Have every employee and high-responsibility, long-term volunteer review his or her job description and edit it to reflect what they are actually doing, to note what they can’t do but feel is still essential, and to note what they aren’t doing, and don’t feel they should be doing, but that’s still listed in the description. Are some staff duplicating each others’ efforts? Should some roles be combined (and, therefore, some positions eliminated or cut back)?
  • Could your organization afford unpaid furloughs for employees? Many employees would welcome unpaid days off to lengthen their holiday time off or their paid vacations. Ask employees for their feedback about the consequences to your clients and programs if they took an unpaid week off — or two weeks off — in summer, for instance.
  • Look at your printing costs. How much of what you are producing in print form could be offered online, with anyone who wants such printing it themselves (and paying for that printing themselves, either from home, from their work, from a public library or from a copy center?)? How much of what you print is actually being read – and should you reduce the size of your printed publications? Is your printed annual report really necessary this year? Do any of your volunteers, including board members, or family members of your employees work at large companies or institutions that might be willing to donate their onsite printing equipment to produce your program brochure? Do you charge the public or donors for any printed report that is more than 10 pages?
  • Be specific on your web site about your organization’s costs. How much do you spend each month on electricity, for instance? Post the cost to your web site and note that you are looking for an Electric Angel – someone willing to sponsor your electricity bill for next month, which will allow you to do whatever it is you do to add value to your community or the planet. Before doing so, make sure your utility use is efficient – is the office thermostat set to a energy-efficient setting?
  • Put a temporary moratorium on furniture purchases of any kind. Post your furniture needs to your own web site and to a freecycle online group for your area. Use your social media to discuss such as well.
  • It may be in the best interest of your organization to scale back, postpone, or even eliminate a service, program or activity. A nonprofit theater may need to scale back its season by one show. Another organization may have to eliminate or scale back an annual onsite event. This may be your opportunity to become even more focused on your mission. Look at how much every program or activity costs, in detail, and think about way to reduce those costs, or evaluate the consequences of scaling back, postponing or eliminating that program or activity in relation to your organization’s mission.
  • If you are thinking of involving more volunteers, don’t think of it as a temporary solution; think of it as a permanent re-alignment of your organization. If you decide that you are going to reserve certain roles for volunteers – for instance, all pro bono consultancies that will support staff, all front desk/phone staff, all bloggers, all conference support staff, etc., make it a permanent change that will last even when the economy gets better. Volunteers aren’t free. In fact, this realignment regarding volunteer involvement will cost money – perhaps more money than you are probably spending now to support and involve volunteers (they will need to be screened, trained more than once, supervised and supported!), but perhaps the savings from elsewhere can pay for this.
  • Be explicit to board members and the press about any cut that is going to affect the scope or even the quality of your organization’s service. It may sound great to an outsider for your organization to eliminate paid positions, while you know that the consequences to clients, the community or the environment will be devastating – think about how you will make those potential consequences crystal clear and very public. That can affect the thinking of an annual large donor that’s considering scaling back on their donations to your organization soon.
  • Get the press, government leaders and corporate leaders onto your location and viewing your work. I don’t mean fundraising events – I mean you need to invite them all to observe program activities, to attend a volunteer training, or to view for themselves your organization in action. The press wants something visually-appealing: people moving or laughing, or people being very expressive. Government leaders and corporations want to see something that is representative of your organization’s impact. Make these invitations in a friendly, no-pressure way, and do NOT ask for donations in the invite nor during the site visit. All you are doing is building connections and interest, so that when the time does come to ask for a donation, you have a relationship with the potential funder, and the organization understands your organization’s work.

You should have detailed information about your current expenses and a tracking system that allows you to see – and share – exactly how much money you are saving each month and each quarter over the coming year. In sharing that information, tout not only how lean and efficient your organization is; also note what the consequences are of these cuts to clients and the community. When announcing cuts, you don’t want to give the impression that your organization had been wasteful or frivolous in its spending previously – and with these cuts, now it’s not. You also don’t want to send the message that your organization can cut and save its way out of its financial challenges.

If you do end up cutting back or eliminating a program – and cutting employee positions – be as generous as possible with departing staff. You are saving your organization from financial hardship but putting employees into financial hardship:

  • Contact a temp agency or any employment agencies in your city and ask to arrange immediate onsite interviews for staff you are laying off, so that when you lay off an employee, you can hand that person a card and say, “This person is waiting for your call after our meeting to set up an informational interview, review your résumé and talk about employment openings and temp opportunities.” If there are no temp agencies in your geographic area, talk to your board members and see if they work at companies that have highly-skilled HR people, and if the company would be willing to donate this person’s time to do at least two job-coaching sessions with departing staff, regarding preparing résumés and LinkedIn profiles, the best online job boards to use and using social media for job searches.
  • Write each person a letter of recommendation and write a recommendation on his or her LinkedIn profile.
  • Give laid off employees at least three weeks salary and payment for all unused vacation (and remember that they will be out-of-work for MUCH longer than that, in all likelihood).

What are your ideas for saving money ASAP for nonprofits, NGOs and charities, so that they can survive the ongoing financial crisis? Be specific.

International Fellowship in USA For People from Select Developing Countries-Deadline June 30

The 2012 Ford Motor Company International Fellowship of the 92nd Street Y is currently accepting applications from community leaders who are citizens and residents of Albania, Bolivia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Haiti, India, Israel, Mongolia, Peru, Tunisia and Zambia. 20-24 emerging leaders from these regions will be selected.

Applicants must be 21 years of age or older, though younger applicants should note that candidates should have several years of leadership experience. Candidates are sought from a variety of backgrounds with the aim of creating a group of Fellows who will work well together and offer a diversity of views and experiences. Candidates should be emerging leaders addressing issues whose resolution can have a significant positive impact on their communities, on their countries, and—collectively—on the world.

Fellowship Application Deadline: June 30, 2011. For more information or to apply.

The program is designed to enhance the efforts of emerging leaders in communities throughout the world. The program includes a three week residency in New York City (May 30-June 20, 2012) and ongoing communication before and after the residency via telephone and email. Fellows are expected to complete reading, writing and group assignments prior to their residency to maximize the value of their fellowship experience and after their residency to evaluate its impact and success. Fellows participate in an intensive immersion experience designed to address the challenges of community building in today’s world. In partnership with the Picker Center for Executive Education at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, fellows participate in classes and participatory workshops in nonprofit management, leadership, and strategic thinking.

The academic curriculum is complemented by visits to model nonprofits throughout New York City and meetings with academic, business, and government leaders. The experience is enhanced by the Fellows’ residency at the 92nd Street Y, an institution founded in 1874 that has grown to serve over 300,000 people annually. At once a school, a lecture hall, a performance space, and a community organization, the 92nd Street Y is a nonprofit organization unique in the world and vital to the cultural life of New York City. The 92nd Street Y is world’s first global Jewish community and cultural center.