Next Gen Fellows Program


A training fellowship tailored for philanthropy’s next generation

June–December 2017

The Next Gen Fellows Program is a 6-month training fellowship for dynamic leaders roughly 18–35 years old who are involved in all types of foundations as current or soon-to-be trustees or staff. The program is designed for deep learning and peer networking to prepare the next generation for leadership roles.

In this program, you will:

  • Be guided by experienced practitioners and field leaders.
  • Learn about best practices and emerging trends.
  • Try out new skills in a safe and encouraging environment.
  • Set a personal learning agenda to deepen your knowledge and fill your gaps.
  • Come away with an unmatched peer group—and expert mentor—for support, ideas, and guidance.

You’ll gain the competence and confidence to lead—in your foundation, in your community, and in your field—and you’ll return to your foundation ready to ask thoughtful questions, make meaningful contributions, and strengthen your giving.

Core Components

More than 50 hours of learning!

  • Breadth: Training Intensive, June 12–13, 2017, Washington, DC
  • Depth: 2017 CONNECT Conference, October 15–17, 2017, Denver, CO
  • Individual focus: Personal learning agenda
  • Expert guidance: Monthly mentoring and access to knowledgeable staff and top-selling publications.
  • Connections: Online community

See program details.


Congratulations to our Next Gen Fellows Program alumni.


Mentoring is an important component of the program, and we are looking for volunteers to serve as mentors for these future leaders. The commitment involves participation in a training webinar to share ideas for how to be great mentors, and then to connecting with your matched Next Gen Fellow at least monthly, July through December of this year. The key to being a successful mentor is acting as a thoughtful listener, good question-asker, and responsive sounding board. Mentoring is open to Exponent Philanthropy members and other sector leaders.

Applications for mentors are closed. 

The application deadline for the 2017 cohort has passed. Contact us for more information at or (202) 580-6560.

"The program is unique because it combines structured group learning experiences, one-on-one learning with a knowledgeable mentor, and ample opportunities to reach outside your comfort zone to take your personal development to the next level. A great combination!" — Renee Steffen, Grants and Office Manager Sisters of St. Joseph Charitable Fund

“I gained so many great insights into philanthropy through [the] Next Gen programs. They have made me a better funder, and I’ve been able to bring many of the tools I've gained to our entire board.” —Mark Strode, Trustee, “The Woods” Family Foundation

"Together with such a unique group of motivated people at the Next Gen Fellows Program, it was impossible not to feel inspired to learn, improve our skills, and achieve the things we are all working toward."
"The Next Gen Fellows Program is amazing. It shows us, the next gen, the power and impact we have in philanthropy."

"The Next Gen Retreat helped spark my family to start an associate board, which includes much of the third generation family members.” —Ted Donley, Associate Director, Donley Family Foundation

"Thank you... for giving me the courage to find my voice and also giving me the tools to use it to make change in my foundation."

"What do I love about [the] Next Gen programming? Being able to talk with my peers about foundation work, leaving the vacuum of my office, and building more connections." — Nan Pugh, Executive Director, Pugh Family Foundation