How Fellows Allocate Their Time

We believe that in order to develop a deep understanding of the effects of social inequality, you need to interact with the people you are seeking to help—to talk to the students who do not have recess or room to play, listen to the high school graduate who does not understand the world of college financial aid, or introduce someone to a museum collection that can expand their mind.

The Fellowship seeks to address inequalities that exist early in life and so we choose to work with organizations that serve children and young adults. Fellows are an integral part of delivering their organization’s services.

Teaching, in a broad sense, is a critical component of this service. Afterschool teaching, literacy programs, tutoring, teaching about the environment, food or civic engagement, teaching games and sports, museum education—these “door-opening” experiences can help young people overcome the effects of social inequity and help to level playing fields.

That direct experience of positively affecting another person’s opportunities is, we believe, critical to your growth as a future social impact leader because it allows you to understand the real day to day challenges within a community. When the student you have been advising receives a college scholarship, when you see a young person choose to vote in a local election, when a struggling child reads to you instead of you reading to them, you’ll have an immediate sense of the value and impact of such work. It is the kind of experience that will make you a more thoughtful and more effective leader.


In addition to direct service, Fellows also take on special or strategic projects. We work closely with organizations to help design valuable project experiences that will advance their missions and ensure that our Fellows have the opportunity to apply their creativity, planning and leadership skills.

Special projects produce lasting results for your host organization and for the communities they serve. Projects such as building an alumni database, creating and implementing a social media campaign, revising curriculum, conducting background research for an advocacy effort or policy initiative—these efforts ultimately lead to increased organizational impact. More importantly, they help you learn to think about tackling social challenges from multiple directions with a variety of tools. Special projects promote strategic thinking about your organization’s mission and give you insight into what it takes for a nonprofit to be successful in achieving its goals.

  • Direct Service

  • Special Projects

  • Other


From time to time, you may be involved in a special event or initiative at your host organization. Fellows also spend about two hours each week working on an assignment for the Fellowship.

Not only do I have a direct impact on youth and their perception of healthy living, but I also work with various communities to promote access to healthy foods. This approach allows me to have a full circle view of what it takes to make a program work.

Deshaun Parris | Youth Leadership Dept., Food Trust, Philadelphia | FAO Schwarz Fellow at The Food Trust in Philadelphia | 2015