The John R. Oishei Foundation invites WNY leader of color in the nonprofit field to apply for the Karen Lee Spaulding Oishei Fellowship for Leaders of Color, a rigorous leadership training program focused on both personal and organizational leadership skills.
Now in its fifth year, the program was developed and is hosted by the Oishei Foundation in partnership with the Oakland, California-based Rockwood Leadership Institute. The Fellowship training will take place in October 16-20 at Beaver Hollow Event and Conference Center after a comprehensive vetting process for applicants this summer. The deadline to apply is August 10, 2023, to be considered. Participants will experience Rockwood Leadership Institute’s Art of Leadership program over the course of five days. More details on the application process can be found here and the link to apply is here.
More than 100 BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) nonprofit professionals have participated in the Fellowship and continue to network and learn together. In follow-up assessments of the program, current Fellows have characterized the training as “transformational” and “life-changing” and have commented that it has led to new and strengthened relationships among their peers.
The application process is expected to be competitive as it has been for each previous cohort. Self-identified nonprofit professionals of color across a spectrum of professional experience and life are invited to apply immediately up to the August 10th deadline. Past applicants who were not accepted are encouraged to reapply. Twenty-four fellows will be chosen and will participate at no cost. The program is supported in full by The John R. Oishei Foundation.
The rich and rigorous training teaches critical personal and organizational leadership skills, including visioning, listening, speaking, presentation, coaching, collaboration, and feedback necessary for successful, sustainable, and humane leadership.
According to Mark J. Scott, Ph.D., Vice President of Philanthropic Support at the Oishei Foundation, “Our past participants agree that this training is comprehensive and critical in both their personal and professional lives and that they have found it extremely valuable. As the nonprofit sector grapples with a need for leadership at all levels, we believe that the Fellows program contributes to developing a new and more diverse generation of leaders who are ready to be changemakers in our community. The program offers participants a chance to develop personally, find their voice, and develop new strategies to address the many needs that accompany BIPOC leadership.”
Fellows will be chosen through an application process, vetted solely by Rockwood Leadership Institute, which will identify individuals who:
- Demonstrate readiness to learn new leadership skills;
- Are interested in participating in a rigorous learning experience to explore personal vision, increase sustainability, and build relationships with other nonprofit leaders of color;
- Demonstrate a commitment to improving the well-being of all people in the Buffalo Niagara region; and
- Represent a diversity of racial/ethnic communities and a cross-section of nonprofit professional backgrounds, experiences, and sectors within the Foundation’s focus areas.
In addition to the five-day retreat, Fellows will also participate in a 360-degree leadership assessment, receive a comprehensive workbook filled with tools and processes to use with their own organizations, and will connect with a deep network not only with current Oishei Fellows but also within the international and national network of Rockwood’s 8,000+ members.
As a follow-up to the five-day training, Personal Learning Days for professional development and informal gatherings are planned to support the growing community of Oishei Fellows.
The Fellowship is named in honor of Karen Lee Spaulding, who retired in 2021 as Vice President of Philanthropic Support, as a tribute to her work in conceiving, designing, and managing of the Fellowship on behalf of the Oishei Foundation. The program was developed in response to a need for leadership development in the nonprofit sector in Western New York, particularly for people of color, and is part of the Foundation’s commitment to advancing racial equity.
The application process will be open July 17 through August 10 and applicants will be notified by mid-August of their acceptance or not. The application can be accessed here. For more information, please contact Kim LaVare at firstname.lastname@example.org or (716) 222-2750.