FAO Schwarz Foundation Announces Six New Fellowships for 2020-2022 

(BOSTON)  The FAO Schwarz Family Foundation has selected five social impact organizations to host the 2020-2022 cohort of six FAO Schwarz Fellows.

The Foundation will sponsor six two-year Fellowships in social impact at five nationally recognized nonprofit organizations:The Museum of the City of New York, (New York City) Mural Arts (Philadelphia), Reading Partners (New York City), and The Trust for Public Land (Philadelphia) will each host one new FAO Schwarz Fellowship position. Breakthrough Greater Boston will host two positions in Boston.

The foundation works closely with select host organizations to design high-quality, transformative experiences that develop our Fellows' leadership skills.

The Fellowships are two-year paid positions that develop the leadership skills of recent college graduates interested in pursuing careers related to social change. “The Foundation works closely with select host organizations to design high-quality, transformative experiences that develop our Fellows’ leadership skills,” said Priscilla Cohen, Executive Director of the FAO Schwarz Family Foundation. “We’re also interested in increasing the impact of these organizations. That’s why each Fellowship includes both a direct service component, where Fellows work directly with the host’s community and strategic or special project component designed to enhance the organization’s capacity. Whitney W. Donhauser, Ronay Menschel Director & President at the Museum of the City of New York, said. “The Museum has benefited tremendously from having FAO Schwarz Fellows. This important initiative will undoubtedly continue to have a positive impact on the achievements and growth of the Center’s educational offerings.”

Several of the host organizations have previously hosted an FAO Schwarz Fellow. “Breakthrough Greater Boston is overjoyed to have been selected to host two FAO Schwarz Fellows,” said Elissa Spelman, Breakthrough’s Executive Director. “Having had a Fellow at our organization previously, we have seen the tremendous impact they can make—and we very much look forward to welcoming the next cohort of future leaders!”

“The additional capacity we have gained from having an FAO Schwarz Fellow is instrumental to our work,” said Jennifer Harwood, the Executive Director, Reading Partners, another organization that has previously hosted FAO Schwarz Fellows. ”With our Fellow, Reading Partners New York has been able to successfully build and foster community relationships in two neighborhoods. We are incredibly proud to participate in the FAO Schwarz Fellowship Program. We cannot wait to witness the gains our fellow will make in the upcoming school year.“

The Trust for Public Land is a first-time Fellowship host and will host a Fellow in the Philadelphia office. “The Trust for Public Land is thrilled to be an FAO Schwarz Fellowship Host,” said Diane Regas, Executive Director. “The addition of a Fellow to our Philadelphia office will further our work of deep community engagement, ensuring that new parks and schoolyards are representing and serving the diverse neighborhoods of the city.”

“Fostering the creative spirit of future leaders is crucial to Mural Arts’ ability to ignite change through art,” said Jane Golden, Executive Director, Mural Arts. “The initiative the FAO Schwarz Fellow will work with, Restored Spaces, is intrinsically future-focused and the directions it takes are highly influenced by young people. Being able to offer a two-year fellowship to a recent graduate and create that mutual benefit is an invaluable opportunity.”

“Hosts play such an important role in the Fellowship,” added Cohen. “Their expertise and mentoring help ensure that our Fellows really have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills.”


The FAO Schwarz Fellowship program is now entering its 14th year. Since its founding, there have been 56 FAO Schwarz Fellows. Fifty-seven percent have gone on to graduate programs, 36 percent have been hired by their host organizations, and 96 percent continue to work in the social impact sector.

“The Fellowship has had a huge impact on my personal and professional development,” said Jen Benson, who was a 2017 FAO Schwarz Fellow at Riverkeeper in New York. “I’ve gained skills, mentors and an incredible group of friends.” Benson is now the Outreach Coordinator at Riverkeeper.


The Fellowship is highly selective. To apply for the Fellowship, applicants must be college seniors at the time of application and eligible to work for two-years in the United States. Successful candidates have strong academic records, evidence of leadership potential, and a strong interest in social impact. The application deadline for the 2020-2022 cohort is February 15, 2020 (11:59 pm EST). The Fellowships are paid, two-year, full-time positions and include benefits. Visit the FAO Schwarz Fellowship website for more information.


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