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Fellowship Newsletter 2022

Dear Supreme Fellows, Current Fellows and Trustees,

Greetings from the Fellowship!

As I write, we’re wrapping up the application period for another cohort of Fellows—and I can’t wait to read their letters. In just a few months, the new cohort of seven will join us in Boston at Breakthrough Greater Boston (two positions) and The Food Project; in Philadelphia at Audubon Mid-Atlantic and The Clay Studio; and in New York City at the Museum of the City of New York and NYC Audubon.

The Fellowship is as strong as it has ever been, and we are continuing to provide opportunities for the Fellows to reflect on their own growth and develop their leadership potential. During a recent Fellowship training panel on environmental justice, we talked with Ronda Chapman, the Equity Director at Trust for Public Land (a Fellowship host organization), alumnae Fellows Jen Benson ‘17 (who completed her Fellowship at Riverkeeper and is currently the Upriver/Mohawk River Civics and Community Stewardship Coordinator at Riverkeeper, while completing a Masters of Environmental Policy at the Bard College, and Sarah Kacevich ‘16 (who completed her Fellowship at Strong Women, Strong Girls and is currently the Program Director at Farrington Nature Linc). 

At one point, a current Fellow asked a question “Amidst the many difficult issues you deal with everyday, what is it that gives you hope? Reflecting on her decades of experience, Ronda responded that the commitment and activism of young people is what gives her hope. 

I feel the same way. I am so proud and inspired by the work of our current and alumni Fellows. Your commitment to change, your willingness to tackle social issues head on, your desire to solve problems in creative ways—that is what gives me hope.

It has been especially rewarding this year to collaborate and support our current Fellows. From their direct service and special project work to the contributions they are making to support the Fellowship recruitment and social media, they are already making a real impact in their communities—if you saw our recent “Ask Me Anything” on Instagram, you know what I mean. I have admired their resilience during the Covid pandemic and their incredible adaptability in serving students virtually in creative ways in mostly remote work environments. 

In this new digital edition of the newsletter, we’re happy to share updates from our now 65 alumni Fellow. I always welcome your news and hope that you know that the Fellowship community is here to support as you navigate your own path. Never hesitate to ask if we can help.

Very Best,

"At the end of the day, no matter our line of nonprofit work, it is about the welfare of people. I'm grateful for the ways I grew to understand that during my time as a Fellow and for how it helped to shape my calling."
FAO Schwarz Fellowship logo
Kayla Peck Hopgood F14
Vicar at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Princeton Junction, NJ
"Your fellow Fellows are not only fantastic, committed, and hard-working individuals, but they're also an immeasurable resource. The Fellowship creates a space to build community amongst likeminded people who want to better the world. Being an FAO Fellow is a unique and career-defining experience that only few get to experience!"
Allie Negron outdoors
Allie Negron F18
Digital Production Strategist at MissionWired
"Being able to work on capacity development and site work really allowed me to understand how a large nonprofit operated, right out of college. This was really important in launching my career in the nonprofit world, in addition to having the cohort and mentor support."
Liana Brodsky F10
Assistant Director of the Mandel Institute for Nonprofit Leadership
"The FAO Schwarz Fellowship provided me with foundational skills as I entered the workforce after graduating college. The supportive network and community were especially helpful in navigating my first full-time job. The skills that I learned in the nonprofit sector and through the professional development provided by the Fellowship have definitely served me well in my role as a teacher."
Claudia von Nostitz F18
Associate Teacher, The Washington Market School
"I think that the most meaningful aspect of the fellowship for me was the focus on being future leaders in the field. Being surrounded by a community that was helping you think big about how you could use your skills to improve the nonprofit world was a powerful experience."
Karen Wilber smiles at camera
Karen Wilber F18
Director of Data & Impact at uAspire
"FAO Schwarz reminded me that the learning never ends! There is always room to grow, no matter your years of experience."
Jonathan Baez F14
School Counselor at a high school in the South Bronx; Founding member and Board Chair for NFBLME (National Fellowship for Black and Latino Male Educators)

Fellows by the numbers....

Fellowship Alumni
We added new Fellows since our first cohort in 2008—with 7 new Fellows joining us this summer.
Earning Graduate Degrees
FAO Schwarz Fellows earn more graduate degrees than average (about 30% of college grads earn a graduate degree within 10 years) in a variety of fields—from social work to education to urban planning.
Working As Change Leaders
You can find former Fellows leading the change in a diverse array of organizations—from politics and policy to teaching and education.
Remain at Host Organizations
FAO Fellowship hosts often offer our Fellows positions after the Fellowship is over. And many Fellows take the opportunity to stay on with their hosts in leadership roles.

Cohort Updates

Working for social justice, raising families, making discoveries and leading the change. See what our Fellows have been doing. Click on your cohort year for the latest updates. To see more photos, follow us at @faofellows and please share your photo updates with us.​