Over the past three decades, The Boston Neighborhood Fellows Program has recognized close to 200 Greater Boston residents making a difference in neighborhoods and communities throughout Greater Boston. Created by an anonymous donor in partnership with The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI) in 1990, the Neighborhood Fellows program has been folded into the Boston Foundation’s Grassroots strategy, headed by Natanja Craig-Oquendo.
Each new “class” of approximately 10 Fellows is nominated by past Fellows, civic leaders and key partners. The Fellows are selected by the Foundation for a two-year program designed to recognize and empower some of the people making change happen across Greater Boston, often without fanfare or acclaim.
The Fellows 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. The stipend, the monthly learning, events, retreats and coaching together provide a total two-year investment of approximately $15,000 per year per Boston Neighborhood Fellow.
Fellows play an ambassador role too, and will help the Boston Foundation surface its next class of Boston Neighborhood Fellows. And starting in with the 2017-18 class, Fellows are integral in designing and leading our next round of Collaborate Boston, a $100,000 prize competition that encourages new forms of grassroots collaboration to solve key problems.
In 2017-18, the Neighborhood Fellows helped select the Collaborate Boston theme—intergenerational partnerships—and will play a critical role in publicizing the opportunity, evaluating applications and selecting the winning collaborations.
The fellowship for the current class will run through January 2021.
Supporting the Program
To learn more about “sponsoring” a Fellow for professional development and capacity building, please contact us!
Fatema Ahmad is a former biomedical engineer turned community organizer who is passionate about fighting the criminalization of marginalized communities. As Deputy Director of the Muslim Justice League, she spearheads much of the organization’s local organizing and advocacy work as well as leading the national Stop CVE (an anti-profiling movement) coalition calls. Fatema is also heavily involved in the #BosCops collective, which works with multiple organizations and individuals on fighting abusive policing in and around Boston. She was previously an organizer in North Carolina with Muslims for Social Justice and the American Friends Service Committee under the Communities Against Islamophobia project, and she helped lead the Stop CVE at UNC campaign.
Chastity Bowick is an activist, civil rights leader and transgender health advocate. The Director of the Transgender Emergency Fund, the leading crisis agency for transgender communities in Massachusetts, Chastity is also a member of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC). Born in Rochester, N.Y., Chastity began her own transition at age 18 when she moved to Boston to safely pursue her gender affirmation process. After making Massachusetts her home, she obtained a master’s certificate in Nonprofit Human Services Management from Clark University. Chastity led the transgender health programming at AIDS Project Worcester. Many of the support groups and transgender-focused health navigation models she founded there were the first of their kind in the city. Her commitment and trailblazing work earned Chastity the 2016 Belynda Dunn Award from the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts.
The founder and CEO of Shana Bryant Consulting is a “task master,” specializing in corporate project and event management, prioritizing task lists, and facilitating 90-minute vision brainstorming sessions for busy professionals, entrepreneurs and nonprofits. With more than 17 years of administrative experience and 10 years working on nonprofits executive committees and in other leadership roles Shana has learned to strategize, plan, manage and execute high impact projects and events while holding those around her accountable. Shana has a keen ability to listen to and understand her clients’ vision, then create manageable timelines and deliverables to meet their goals.
Nadav David is a multiethnic Arab (Mizrahi) Jewish organizer with roots in Baghdad, Poland, Jerusalem and the Bay Area. He is deeply invested in building powerful, connected communities in pursuit of racial and economic justice. As a financial coach at Compass Working Capital, Nadav supports families in subsidized housing as they build assets and reach personal and financial goals. His primary political and spiritual home is Kavod, a volunteer-led community of young adults committed to transformative local organizing rooted in meaningful Jewish practice, where he builds and deepens relationships with other grassroots organizations. Nadav also co-facilitates a Jews of Color, Sephardi, Mizrahi Caucus where Jews from diverse backgrounds connect, and he develops and leads anti-racism/antisemitism workshops. Nadav received a B.S. in business administration at Northeastern University, with concentrations in social enterprise and finance and a minor in Jewish studies.
Reina Guevara was born in El Salvador. She came to the United States at the age of 11 to reunite with her mother after being separated during the civil war in Central America during the 1980s-'90s. After being undocumented for 11 years, Reina decided to join the Student Immigrant Movement (SIM), a youth organization in Massachusetts that focuses on fighting for the rights of immigrant youth. Prior to becoming the Development Director of SIM, she volunteered along with former staff and helped with school presentations and fundraising. Reina is a rising senior at the University of Massachusetts Boston, studying philosophy and public policy.
Greg Hill is life-long resident of Boston, and is the Junior Class Academy Team Leader at the Jeremiah Burke High School, where he ensures that all operational aspects of the school’s programs are efficient and effective. He oversees student attendance and behavior, implementation of academic policies, and student development for all juniors at the Burke. Greg also works very closely with the Early Warning Indicator Team to proactively support students facing challenges or trauma, and he supports restorative justice. Previously, Greg was a program director at the Dorchester Youth Collaborative for 11 years, and in 2013 won the Root Cause Social Innovator award for creating "Safe City Academy," which enrolled gang and court-involved youth ages 16 to 19 in a GED preparation/work program.
DaVan Johnson is a Network Leader at Union Capital Boston. She is also a consultant, yoga and holistic health coach, and co-founder of E.U.U.N.I, which stands for Empowering, Uplifting, Uniting, Networking and Inspiring. Her goal is to help clients, especially women who have experienced physical or emotional trauma and other mental health challenges, by creating safe spaces to raise consciousness, network among others, build resiliency, and develop personally. Through workshops, group discussions, and collaborative work that includes inter-generational dialogue, holistic healing and wholeness cultivation between mind, body and spirit, she guides others to reduce stress, implement harm reduction strategies, and feel normal and recognized.
Originally from NYC, Kaden Mohamed moved to the Boston area in 2010 to attend Wellesley College. There he studied women’s and gender studies and education studies, and was able to explore his interests in social justice and anti-oppression work, which helped him understand and be comfortable with his own gender identity as part of the trans community. Kaden works full-time at Keshet, a national organization that advocates for LGBTQ equality and inclusion in Jewish life, and co-chairs the Steering Committee of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition. He has participated in numerous panels, has been interviewed about trans issues and rights by the New York Times, WBUR, the Rainbow Times and TBF News, and was featured in Spirit magazine's 2017 Young Trailblazers list for activists under 30.
Elsa Mosquera-Sterenberg is the Arts Program Director at IBA, a community-based organization founded in Boston’s South End in 1968 to provide affordable housing and social services. Elsa curates all cultural programs and events that take place in and around the community and manages Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, the largest Latino center in New England. Aside from her role as arts administrator, she produces innovative solutions to change the social landscape and make communities more just, creative and equitable. After Hurricane Maria she co-founded the Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico Fund at the Boston Foundation, which raised $4 million dollars to assist in the island’s reconstruction. She is a board member at Orfeon San Juan Bautista in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Unitas Ensemble in Boston.
Armani White is determined to create the “better world” we dream of for the future—now. Armani currently works as the School and Community Engagement Coordinator for Summer Search Boston, and appreciates the chance to mentor young people in their development. Before Summer Search, Armani worked at Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center developing and directing summer programming to train young black and Latino men to become community leaders through learning how racism impacts their everyday health, and creating strategies to both stay healthy and challenge the norms. Armani was born and raised in Bromley Heath, a neighborhood in Boston, and graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in anthropology.
Karen Young is a cultural organizer, artist and educator living in Boston. Influenced by Japanese-American taiko activists of the 1960s, Karen is most interested in the intersection of art, grassroots organizing and policy. In 2018, she was selected as one of seven Boston Artists in Residence charged with addressing issues of resilience, racial equity and policy by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. She is the founding director of The Genki Spark, co-founder of the Brookline Cherry Blossom Festival, and a lead organizer behind womenandtaiko.org. Prior to pursuing the arts full time, Karen played key roles in the youth and community development fields as the founder of Youth on Board, founding board member of MAP for Health, and as a Presidential appointee on the Commission on National and Community Service.