Philanthropy Fellowship The National Leadership
Program: Fellowship in Philanthropy
RespectAbility is looking for people with disabilities seeking a
career in philanthropy for an “earn while you learn” opportunity
with our dedicated team. Fellows will have the opportunity to
cultivate practical and leadership skills while simultaneously
assisting with the day-to-day operations of the host organization
they partner with. This will create further openings for Fellows to
find employment in philanthropy while making positive changes for
other people with disabilities and strengthening the philanthropic
We are passionate about bringing intersectionality into not only
our work, but into the philanthropy sector at-large. Many
philanthropists do not explicitly include the disability community
in their portfolio, even though disability cuts across every
demographic – race/ethnicity, sex/gender, sexuality, religion,
class and more. Indeed, the disability community is the largest
minority group in the country. If a philanthropist supports any
underserved population, they already are supporting people with
disabilities. However, they may not do so with an understanding of
what works, or they might not realize that some of their
constituents have disabilities in the first place.
Over a six-month period, participants in the National Leadership
Program’s Philanthropy Fellowship will work virtually with both
RespectAbility and philanthropic organizations. RespectAbility will
provide job training, skills development, networking opportunities
and assistive technology to facilitate greater synergy. Franklin
Anderson, RespectAbility’s Director of Inclusive Philanthropy and
Development, will oversee day-to-day management. The program is a
cohort model, meaning that groups learn and work together, while
accumulating skills, contacts and jobs. Every Fellow will have
access to mentors, including many BIPOC disability leaders.
Fellows will also attend weekly meetings with our writing
Goldman, who has a PhD in English and previously worked as a
college professor. Goldman was also a program director for health
and disabilities at two major foundations, including The Harry and
Jeanette Weinberg Foundation in Owings Mills, Maryland.
Participants will learn answers to the following questions:
- What are the pearls and pitfalls of resumes, bios and writing
- What is a nonprofit? What is a foundation? What types of
foundations are there? How do you do due diligence on a foundation
and a nonprofit before accepting a job or contributing money?
- Who is RespectAbility? What do we do? How do we do it? How do
you judge a nonprofit’s level of commitment to its programs?
- How do you evaluate a nonprofit and its programs? What do
foundations look for?
- How do you read a 990?
- How do you read an audited financial statement?
- How do you write an LOI?
- How do you roll out a budget for a project or program? What
does a budget look like? What’s the difference between a realistic
and an aspirational budget? Can the same program send different
budgets to different foundations?
- How do foundations and philanthropists evaluate a nonprofit’s
- How do you conduct a site visit and what do you look for?
- What types of jobs and positions are available at a foundation
or a nonprofit? What skill sets do you need for such
- How do you prepare for an interview at a nonprofit or
foundation? How do you negotiate your salary if you get an
- How do you write effective grant proposals?
- What are the various cultures at nonprofits – direct services
versus advocacy? What is expected from new employees? What are the
dangers in working at a foundation?
- What are the ethics of accepting and giving away money? What
are the do’s and don’ts of fundraising? How do you ensure a good
reputation or bad reputation in grant seeking and grant
The National Leadership Program is geared towards directly
helping young professionals with disabilities. Most Fellows are
recent college graduates or people with disabilities who lost their
jobs during COVID-19 and are looking for new employment
opportunities. Non-graduates with significant work experience are
also eligible. All Fellows will be persons with disabilities or
with a history of strong allyship in the disability community.
Our program is fully accessible for people with disabilities and
offers full-time in-house job coaching, skills development, and
networking opportunities. Assistive technology and personal care
support are available as needed.
Who We Want
The National Leadership Program is ideal for people who want to
gain skills and contacts while making a positive difference for
people with disabilities. We are looking for thoughtful and
results-driven individuals who want to achieve breakthrough results
while getting hands-on experience. The Fellowship is for college
and graduate students, as well as for people transitioning into the
workforce for the first time, or back into the workforce after a
break. Fellows ideally will have an interest in the
nonprofit/development sector. Past development experience not
The Fellows will work closely with our National Leadership
Program Director and Director of Inclusive Philanthropy and
Development. Individual projects will be assigned based on an
individual’s unique skill set and their own ability to “bring
something to the table.” Tasks might include grant and proposal
writing, prospect research, donor relations and attending donor and
prospect meetings. Philanthropy Fellows will join supervisors at
workshops, webinars and events that pertain to philanthropy.
Fellows will learn about all our issue areas and departments as
Each Fellow will receive many opportunities to learn new
skills, network and gain direct experiences. In addition to
hands-on work experiences, all Fellows will participate in special
presentations by guest speakers and intensive strategic
communications workshops. A career plan will be developed by each
Fellow that will enable them to gain appropriate workplace
experience while contributing directly and measurably to
RespectAbility’s impact. Upon the completion of the program,
applicants can expect to come away with excellent experience in the
fields of policy, strategic communications and fundraising; fair
knowledge of issues for people with disabilities; and leadership
skills to help them grow into confident advocates.
Important Details for Applicants
- Excellent communication and organizational skills are strongly
preferred, and Fellows should exhibit leadership skills to complete
their own projects.
- Strong preference for college seniors and above.
- Commitment for a minimum of nine weeks.
- Hours are 9-5. Fellows are required to work a minimum of 20
hours per week though more is appreciated and more hours per week
- There is no tuition cost to do the Fellowship, and Fellows will
be paid $15 an hour.
- Your cover letter must explain why this Fellowship in
particular is of interest to you and why you believe you have the
skills, focus and independent drive to make a positive difference
in your time with us at RespectAbility.
HOW TO APPLY
- A minimum commitment of 20 hours per week.
- Participation in weekly staff meetings and team meetings.
- Attendance in weekly speaker series.
- Work with the National Leadership Program Director on advancing
your career goals. This will include strengthening your resume,
cover letter and building your professional network.
Fill out the form below and send your resume and cover
letter to Ben Spangenberg at BenS@RespectAbility.org to
apply for the Philanthropy Fellowship!