2022 Next Gen Fellows Program | Prepare Your Foundation for the Future

Next Gen Fellows Program

Please contact info@exponentphilanthropy.org for more information about the Next Gen Fellows Program

More information about the 2023 cohort and application will be available in early fall.

The Next Gen Fellows Program is a 6-week, virtual leadership development program 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 that will provide 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.

Program Components

Foundations 101 Virtual Seminar (self-paced pre-work)
Learn the fundamentals of good governance, investments, legal basics, grantmaking strategies, and an overview of the nonprofit sector with our Foundation 101 virtual seminar.

Virtual Learning Series
Together with your peers, build off the knowledge you gain in the Foundations 101 series and learn from experts on topics such as effectiveness, equity, managing change, and envisioning the next generation’s legacy. Plus, learn from exemplary nonprofits and connect with other funders. During the training, you will identify your learning objectives and work to create your personal action plan.

Virtual Learning Series Dates. All modules are from 3:00-5:00 PM ET.

  • WEEK 1Building Healthy Relationships. Get to know your cohort this first week, and in light of our getting to know each other, learn how to build a healthy culture based on trust at your foundation. Deeper relationships can lead to honest conversations among board, staff, and grantee partners and more effective grantmaking.
  • WEEK 2: Understand Your Power. Explore how foundations can use their power to create transformative change in their communities. Transformative change comes about when funders understand their community and leverage their non-grant assets to support social change.
  • WEEK 3Leading Through Change. Since “the only constant is change,” it’s important to understand how to manage change. Also, you’ll dive into what it looks like to incorporate equity and inclusion practices at your foundation.
  • WEEK 4: Break . Fellows will meet in small peer groups to digest what they’ve learned in the first three weeks of the virtual learning series and discuss what they are looking forward to in the final weeks of the program.
  • WEEK 5Measuring Impact. Examine evaluation: what do different methods of evaluating look like, how do they impact your work, and how do they impact grantees.
  • WEEK 6: Planning for the Future. On this last week, gain practical tips and tools to help you implement new ideas. You’ll have time and space to think about your future development.  

Peer Coaching
Fellows will be thoughtfully grouped in small peer coaching circles and will connect throughout the fellowship. Your peers will support your individualized learning, help you achieve the objectives of your personal action plan, and serve as a trusted resource long afterward.

Fellows receive a digital copy of Exponent Philanthropy’s top-selling publications, The Foundation Guidebook and The Trustee Handbook, the most comprehensive resources for foundation trustees and key staff.


This program is facilitated by Kerry McHugh, a Next Gen Fellow alumna, and Exponent Philanthropy board member.

Kerry is a seasoned facilitator with roots in the philanthropic and social sectors. She currently serves as a program officer and board member at The Helen J. Serini Foundation in Frederick, MD, named after her grandmother, and as Knowledge Curator with the Equitable Evaluation Initiative.  She previously worked in marketing with a variety of government and nonprofit clients. She also serves on the board of Exponent Philanthropy and engages local philanthropies in conversations around systems change via  the Maryland Philanthropy Network. She lives in Western Maryland with her partner, a delightfully rambunctious toddler, and an awful lot of yet-unread books.

Application Procedure

Applications will be reviewed to ensure that participants meet age guidelines and are currently or soon-to-be trustees or staff at a foundation. As we fill the cohort, we will assess all applications to ensure a diverse range of personal backgrounds, experience, foundation types, and geography. We will also consider the fit between applicants’ learning objectives and program design. Participants will be notified of their participation status (accepted/waitlisted/denied) by mid-January.

Need board or staff approval to apply? This toolkit provides your board or executive director with the details and cost of the program.

Exponent Philanthropy Member Program Fee: $1,995
Non-Member Program Fee: $2,295

Participants accepted to the program pay a program fee of $1,995 or $2,295 and are expected to complete any pre-work associated with the program and attend all modules of the program. Recordings of each module are available to re-watch in case of a health or family emergency during the 6-week program. Canceled registrants are welcome to reapply for a future cohort.

By applying for this program, participants are agreeing to the Exponent Philanthropy Participant Guidelines. Cancellations (especially those close to the event date) can negatively impact the cost-effectiveness and quality of our programs. However, we understand that situations may arise that prevent your participation in the cohort. Written cancellation requests received 15 days before the program starts will be approved only under extreme circumstances and will be subject to a $75 processing fee; your spot will not carry over to future cohorts and you will need to reapply. No refunds will be issued for cancellations received after 15 days before the program starts or if you leave the fellowship once the program has commenced. Please submit all cancellations by e-mail to info@exponentphilanthropy.org. 

Platform and Accessibility

This program uses Zoom; closed captioning available.