Frequently Asked Questions

What is The New York Community Trust Leadership Fellows?

Dean's Dinner
A scene from a Dean’s Dinner

The New York Community Trust Leadership Fellows is a unique initiative of The New York Community Trust in association with the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College, and its Office of Executive Programs and Center for Nonprofit Strategy and Management.

Fellows participate in an intensive professional development program that spans a four-month period. The program includes twelve days of classes with faculty who blend practice and theory. Fellows also have the opportunity to choose a mentor to work with them through the course of the semester on the design and implementation of an initiative specific to their organizations.

What is its aim?

The program aims to ensure that tomorrow’s nonprofit organizations have the human capital to flourish and advance their missions on behalf of the people of New York City, Long Island, and Westchester.

What are its objectives?

The objectives are:

  • To equip mid-career practitioners with the competencies, skills, and talents to be effective managers and leaders
  • To help practitioners develop a deeper understanding of the overall nonprofit sector, and of the ways that nonprofits interact with government, communities, and the private and nonprofit sectors
  • To foster a network of certificate graduates who can learn and support each other
  • To connect practitioners with current leaders and policy makers
  • To support and guide participants through the development and implementation of initiatives for their nonprofit organizations
  • To provide a malleable curriculum that allows each certificate cohort and participant to identify and improve their leadership and management abilities 

Which organizations are eligible to apply?

An organization that has received a grant from The New York Community Trust, The Westchester Community Foundation, or The Long Island Community Foundations in the last three years may submit an application.

How do I submit a nomination?

The executive director or CEO of a grantee organization nominates a fellow. He or she must approve the initiative that the employee has described in the nomination form. The CEO must approve all subsequent major revisions.

Who is eligible to be an NYCT Leadership Fellow?

The executive director of the grantee organization can nominate a mid-career employee for consideration. The candidate must have managerial experience and demonstrate leadership potential.

Who completes the nomination form?

The executive director/CEO completes the first page of the nomination form. The nominee completes the rest of the form, including a brief description of the initiative that she or he will design during the course of the fellowship. Initiatives must address a leadership or management issue, challenge, and/or an opportunity facing their organizations. The executive director/CEO must then review and approve the completed nomination form before it is transmitted.

Can a CEO or executive director nominate an employee who already has an advanced degree?

There are no educational restrictions. Candidates with advanced degrees are eligible, as well as those without any college experience.

Can my organization nominate more than one person to be an NYCT Leadership Fellow?

The executive director of an eligible organization can nominate one employee for the spring semester and another for the fall semester.

How do I secure a mentor? What should be my expectations?

We have recruited an impressive group of seasoned nonprofit practitioners and subject experts to serve as mentors. Fellows work with their mentors on clarifying their own learning objectives and the design and implementation of their initiatives (Mentors may assign additional readings.) If a fellow would like a mentor who is not on the list, she or he can consult with the Leadership Fellows Director Michael Seltzer to see if that person would qualify as a mentor. In the case that several fellows choose the same mentor, priority will be given on a first-come basis. Mentors are available to their fellows throughout the entire semester. Michael Seltzer is also available to all fellows for counsel and support throughout the semester, and afterward as well.

What are the Dean’s Dinners?

During the course of the semester, Dean David Birdsell of the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College hosts monthly informal dinners with outside guest speakers. These dinners provide an opportunity for fellows to be together outside the classroom and to engage in conversation with leaders of foundations, nonprofit organizations, and city and state government. Dinners are held at the Vertical Campus building at Baruch College.

What time commitment is required of fellows?

Fellows are required to attend all twelve sessions, participate in monthly Dean’s Dinners, and regularly meet with their mentors. Classes begin at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m., including a one-hour lunch break.

Will there be required work outside of the classroom?

Before they arrive on campus, fellows are required to complete a written and video assessment. During the course of the semester, fellows are required to design the initiative that they presented in their nomination forms. Fellows will then present a summary of their initiative plans to their classmates. From week nine to week thirteen, fellows focus on implementing their initiatives. After a break, fellows return to campus and report on their progress in implementing their initiatives.

Are there assignments?

In addition to one classroom presentations, fellows are required to submit a written report on their initiatives, and a 750-word article for publication on [email protected] Fellows are encouraged to tweet throughout the semester.

Where will classes be held?

Classes are at Baruch College’s Vertical Campus Building at 24th Street and Lexington Avenue in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan.

Do fellows receive an academic certificate?

Upon completion of their course work, Leadership Fellows will receive an executive certificate from the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College. Baruch College is one of the six senior colleges of the City University of New York.

When are nominations due?

Please reach out to us at [email protected] to learn more about our recruitment cycles.

Who teaches the classes?

Faculty members of the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College and experienced practitioners serve as faculty.

When are the course readings and syllabus made available?

Fellows can access these documents electronically a week before the first class date.

Will I have access to Baruch College facilities?

Fellows receive a Baruch student identification card, which enables them to make use of the college’s facilities, including its gym and library. (The Newman Library is between Lexington and Third Avenues on 24th Street.) Fellows can access all library materials, but are not able to borrow books. In addition, fellows can receive support from the Baruch Writing Center.

How can I find out more?

Please feel free to reach out to Mike Bawa, the Associate Director or Michael Seltzer, the Director of the New York Community Trust Leadership Fellows by emailing [email protected].