Civic leadership fellowships are programs that match individuals in business and students with leaders in the nonprofit and civic sectors. Fellowship programs vary and may recruit certain portions of the population such as women, minority groups, or specific age ranges. However they are created, these programs offer strategic opportunities for leaders and potential leaders in business to collaborate with civic organizations or nonprofits in their communities and abroad. Here we will look at fellowships organized for established corporate leadership as well as those aimed at students.
Corporate Leadership Fellowship Programs
One example of a fellowship created for senior corporate leadership is the David Rockefeller Fellows program. This program is designed to connect seasoned executives with other individuals in business as well as civic organizations in New York City to help shape the city’s future. Fellows in this program may visit schools, courts, correctional facilities and cultural institutions. Past participants of this program include such leaders as David Geithner of On Location experiences and these participants form an alumni group that continues to collaborate for the good of the city.
While fellowships for established executives are not as common as those for students, these experts can still participate in the process by volunteering as mentors. Mentors in student fellowship programs can help students with the application process and with developing a strategy for their fellowship journey. Especially if an executive has participated in a fellowship themselves, this advice can prove invaluable to students going through the process of applying for or participating in a fellowship.
Student Fellowship Programs
Fellowship programs for students are more common than those for established executives. Indeed, many colleges and universities offer some type of fellowship program to connect aspiring leaders with civic programs in areas around the country. The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative is an example of one such program. This fellowship program matches Harvard graduate students with mayors and city leaders across the country. Students and leaders collaborate on government performance issues and specific social problems.
Don’t assume that fellowships are only to be found in Ivy League schools. Indeed, such programs are prevalent in all types of institutions including state-funded universities and community colleges. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisors to explore fellowship opportunities. Such opportunities may include studying abroad or at another institution. For students aspiring to be future leaders, taking part in a fellowship program is an outstanding addition to their resumes. Recruiters will look twice at students who take the initiative to participate in such activities.
For those seeking to improve their community or explore other communities, civic leadership fellowship programs can be an effective means to this end. Programs allow students and professionals to collaborate with nonprofit and civic organizations to improve cities, educate leadership and bring new ideas to established organizations. Not only do these fellowships encourage participation in civic activities, but they also establish essential ties between business leaders and the communities they serve. When educational institutions, civic organizations and corporations come together to develop new ideas and strategies, the entire community wins.