Boston Neighborhood Fellows: The Class of 2019-2020

TBF News Spring 2019

A former biomedical engineer turned community organizer. A transgender activist. A Team Leader at the Jeremiah Burke High School. These are just three members of the diverse group of people chosen to be the 2019-2020 class of Boston Neighborhood Fellows, a special leadership development program that is led by the Boston Foundation’s Grassroots team.

BNF group shot

Over the past three decades, the Boston Neighborhood Fellows Program has recognized close to 200 grassroots leaders. 

The Fellows participate in a two-year program designed to recognize and empower some of the people who are making change happen often without fanfare or acclaim. They receive a two-year grant of $2,500 each year, along with leadership development and other training. That includes one-on-one coaching and group sessions as Fellows work on their individual professional goals.

Fellows play an ambassador role as well, helping the Boston Foundation surface its next class. The new class was nominated by past fellows and selected earlier this year.

The Boston Neighborhood Fellows program was created by an anonymous donor in partnership with The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI) in 1990, and has been folded into the Boston Foundation’s Grassroots strategy. TPI is now a consulting arm of the Boston Foundation. 

“Once again,” says Orlando Watkins, the Foundation’s Vice President of Programs, “this is a diverse group of people who play a variety of roles, but have one remarkable thing in common: a deep commitment to making their community—our community—a better, safer, more equitable place.”