Philanthropy Fellows (2-Year Fellowship, 3 Fellowships available)

The Council of Michigan Foundations is a community of members committed to growing the impact of Michigan philanthropy through investing in the state's charitable organizations, convening business, government and nonprofit leaders, collaborating on critical issues, seeking innovative solutions, sharing knowledge and advocating. Collectively, CMF members comprise nearly 85 percent of the state’s organized philanthropic assets. 

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The Ralph C. Wilson Jr Foundation began operations in 2015 to continue his legacy – one of generosity and innovation, healthy risk-taking and collaboration, and an unshakeable community focus. Today, his hand-picked Life Trustees have determined to focus the efforts of the foundation on Mr. Wilson’s home and adopted home regions of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. With a structure that dictates spend-down of our funds by 2035, we strive to match the urgency that people in need feel every day with community investments that consider both immediate and long-term benefit.

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Overview: The Philanthropy Fellows will support the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.  Foundation (RCWJRF) in leveraging the good work that is already underway in Western New York and Southeast Michigan. The fellows will be embedded in the Program team, with approximately 90 percent of time allocated to supporting the grant making activities of the Foundation, and 10 percent of time to the fellow's own learning and professional development through the Council of Michigan Foundations. Fellows will assist in identifying areas of mutual importance to RCWJRF staff and/or its grantees and advance research, communications and convening in support of shared issues.


Responsibilities fall into the following categories:

  • Hands-on Participation in Grantmaking
  • Special Projects
  • Execution of 2-3 Fellow-Specific Projects – similar to contract deliverables or a capstone project
  • Professional Development


  • Support the grantmaking activities including reviewing proposal materials, developing and editing materials for grant review meetings, and managing administrative grant processes.
  • Work with program and administrative staff to help organize meetings, conduct site visits, and research topics related to the Foundation’s grantmaking interests.
  • Provide project management and other support.  
  • Identify and suggest opportunities to collaborate with other RCWJRF fellows and/or fellows from other foundations.
  • Write articles, web content, event recaps, newsletter profiles and other materials.
  • Prepare and present reports to Wilson Foundation staff, grantees and partners.
  • Represent the Wilson Foundation at local and national conferences and meetings, upon request.
  • Participate in the development of annual strategic planning and mission review.
  • Develop “White Papers” and/or background papers around policies, issues and concerns in Southeast Michigan and Western New York. 
  • Develop and execute at least one “Capstone Project” that contributes to both the Foundation’s grantmaking work and aligns with the professional goals and interests of the fellow. 


  • Interact with staff and grantees, in Southeast Michigan and Western New York
  • Participate in monthly learning sessions with other fellows, likely to be hosted by the Johnson Center for Philanthropy and/or industry leaders. 
  • Attend local and national conferences as staff with staff responsibilities, but also to learn and participate.
  • Brainstorm, develop and execute 2-3 deliverables and/or a Capstone-type project to guide your work in Years 1 and 2.


  • Provide support to RCWJRF staff as directed.
  • Attend staff meetings
  • Support accurate computer and paper records of grants and vendor contracts.


  • Past or current resident of Southeast Michigan or Western New York, OR
  • Graduate of a college or university located in Michigan or New York State.
  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • At least 1-2 years of full-time work experience after obtaining an undergraduate degree and/or graduate degree.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, eager to use strengths and contribute immediately. 
  • Relational and trustworthy, able to easily build rapport with all kinds of people.
  • Hard-working, constantly seeking challenges and completing tasks quickly.
  • Creative, self-starter with the ability to multi-task and meet deadlines.
  • Detail-oriented with good judgement.
  • Flexible and adaptable to new situations.
  • Able to collaborate in a team environment, and work with people and organizations of diverse backgrounds, experiences and cultures.  
  • A personal style that fosters strong team participation and productivity, emphasizing the values of respect and mutual accountability.
  • An overall commitment to excellence.
  • Excited to learn from others, placing high value on feedback.
  • Desire and passion to develop a broad knowledge of the core funding areas that the RCWJRF supports and a personal commitment to improving Southeast Michigan and Western New York.
  • Proficiency in PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Outlook and other reporting programs.


The Fellowship is a two-year, full-time commitment requiring residence in Southeast Michigan during the term of engagement. Regular car travel necessary throughout the Foundation’s service areas. Valid driver’s license and reliable auto with necessary insurance required. Periodic day and/or overnight travel within the SEMI and WNY with the potential for additional required travel outside this core geography. This may require air travel.

How To Apply: 

Interested candidates should e-mail a cover letter, resume and salary requirements to Tammie TenBroeke at Items must be received no later than May 28, 2019.

All correspondence will remain confidential.

Hiring Organization: 
Council of Michigan Foundations
Philanthropy Fellow
City and State: 
Southeast MI
Hiring Deadline: 
May 28, 2019

The Council of Michigan Foundations is an Equal Opportunity Employer.