Tom Ford Fellows Reflect on Their Experiences

by Anita Brown, Program Officer

Philanthropic Ventures Foundation helps people enter foundation work and find meaningful positions in the service sector and helps foundations make their own work more meaningful.

To that end, in 2001, PVF designed two philanthropy fellowship programs and currently continues to run these programs in partnership with Stanford University’s Haas Center for Public Service.

One is the Sand Hill Fellowship Program, providing intensive full-time summer internships for Stanford undergraduates at local foundations. The other is the Tom Ford Fellowship Program, providing Stanford graduates with full-time one-year internships (related to the fellows’ interests and experiences) in philanthropic foundations across the country. Created in honor of Susan Ford Dorsey’s late husband Tom Ford, both programs have been funded by Susan Ford Dorsey and the Sand Hill Foundation for the last 16 years.

(L-R) Hannah Meropol, Joy Scott, and Nicolle Richards

At the end of the internship, the students report on their experience. Here is what the most recent Tom Ford Fellows had to say:

Joy Scott, NoVo Foundation
“My understanding of how the field of philanthropy operates has grown immensely… I have a much greater understanding of how philanthropy can support social movements and grassroots organizations. I have also seen partnership based on respect and dignity in practice. NoVo takes risks with its funding initiatives and intentionally centers the communities they support (such as girls and women of color, formerly incarcerated women, and trafficking victims) and includes them in conversations of what is necessary from philanthropy. To me, this represents true leadership and dynamic partnership that can serve as a model to other funders.”
Joy is applying to law school and returning to her hometown of Washington, D.C. to intern at a public interest law firm focusing on girls’ and women’s rights.

Nicolle Richards, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (DRK)
“My fellowship has had a huge influence on how I see my career and will certainly influence what I decide to do after my master’s program [in Development Management at the London School of Economics]…. The fellowship has also shaped my view of the type of leader I hope to work for in my next job; I hope to work abroad for organizations led by individuals from the country they serve.”
Nicolle accepted an Impact Analyst position at the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation and will continue her work there for a year before pursuing graduate studies.

Hannah Meropol, Ford Foundation
“Engaging in philanthropy, especially from a large, social justice-oriented foundation, has introduced me to the nonprofit sector in a way that I could not have obtained in many other places. Such a bird’s eye view has given me a nuanced perspective about different approaches to social change, how civil society interacts with government and the corporate sector, and how movements are built and sustained…. It has been such an extraordinary opportunity to work on the issues I care about, through a major mechanism for change in our democracy—philanthropy—and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything else.”
Hannah has decided to attend law school within the next few years.

PVF is proud to support the Tom Ford Fellows, inspire social change, and help create partnerships in the community through our programs.

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