Equity Centered Philanthropy and Leadership Project

Investing in Leaders of Color Fellowship (ILOC)

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Project Overview

The Investing in Leaders of Color (ILOC) Fellowship is a one-year leadership and capacity-building initiative to acknowledge and support the work of twelve leaders of color who serve communities of color throughout the Carolinas.

Co-designed by participating foundations and fellows, this initiative intentionally invests in nonprofit leaders of color to build a broader ecosystem of support for leaders who have experienced systemic disadvantages in their work within the philanthropic and nonprofit fields. Philanthropic partners will engage with the cohort in collective learning, mutual mentorship, and relationship-building throughout the fellowship.

For more on the ILOC Fellowship, click HERE.


The Fellowship Experience

The leaders are part of a cohort of fellows and philanthropic organizations that will promote trust and connectedness while fostering understanding of the barriers faced by — and opportunities to invest in — leaders of color and the often-underfunded communities and efforts in which they lead. Leaders and funders will engage in experiences grounding them in new ways to relate and align their hopes and expectations for their time together.

Fellows will receive technical support, capacity building, social capital gains, and network building, as well as the opportunity throughout the year to co-design the initiative alongside funders, tailoring both their experience and future cycles of the fellowship.

Fellows and funders will be placed in matched partnerships that will lift and value the leaders’ expertise, positioning funders as students to their experiences. Within this mentorship, leaders will explain barriers encountered in the field; receive support from funders to plan organizational goals that are both feasible in the long term and aligned to the organization’s mission; and create new funding relationships for increasing investment in their work. Funders will likewise communicate what they are learning and share how they are considering shifting mindsets and protocols at their foundations.

Fellowship activities will include a series of sessions to examine the nuanced realities of leaders of color and the philanthropic community and follow-up gatherings to share insights, breakthroughs, and promising activities.


The ideal candidate should currently:

  • Lead nonprofit organizations in North or South Carolina
  • Work with, serve, and advocate for communities of color
  • Connect deeply to the communities they serve
  • Be midway through their career, and possibly at an inflection point
  • Demonstrate strong values and qualities of servant leadership
  • View problems at a systems level

Additional Qualifications

  • Strong interest (and perhaps experienced) in building relationships with peers and the philanthropic community
  • Strong interest in building the capacity of their organization
  • Committed to long-term impact through their organization and/or broader networks


Funding Opportunities

Selected fellows will receive up to $25,000 in general operating support for their organizations, up to $10,000 stipends for their participation, and the opportunity for additional, ongoing funding with partner organizations following the completion of the fellowship.


Application Process

Each application will be reviewed by a committee including funders and leaders from North and South Carolina. Each application will be reviewed by a committee including funders and leaders from North and South Carolina.

If you are interested in supporting this program, please contact Senior Program Director, Kerri Forrest. For more on the ILOC Fellowship, click HERE. 

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Contact the Project Team

Kerri Forrest, Senior Program Director

Email Kerri Forrest