Fostering professional and personal development
The Fellows program was initiated by the Rhode Island Foundation in 2000 and has sponsored more than 170 nonprofit leaders in personal and professional development.
The 18-month program enables nonprofit executive directors to take productive, short-term sabbaticals from their organizations. Fellows design their own curriculum and participate in periodic group meetings to share their challenges, opportunities, and progress. Participants receive stipends of up to $10,000 to underwrite their activities, and their organizations receive $5,000 grants to compensate them for the time away.
“The Fellows program has proven to be a powerful and effective vehicle for nonprofit executive directors to self-reflect, reinvigorate, and strengthen their leadership skills,” said Jill Pfitzenmayer, vice president of the Foundation’s INE.
The 2015 cohort of 13 fellows has planned activities that range from volunteering as a management consultant for a nonprofit in Romania to travelling the United States and Europe meeting with top sector leaders.
Bradley Brockmann, executive director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights at The Miriam Hospital, will work with public speaking and lip reading coaches to strengthen his communication skills for television and radio interviews and to help address his hearing loss. The Providence resident will also revitalize stress coping mechanisms through yoga and meditation intensive and contact improvisation dance studies in Central America and Europe. At the completion of the fellowship, he will offer yoga and meditation classes for his staff.
"Working to improve the health of prisoners and others caught in the nation's criminal justice system, many of whom are there because of untreated mental health and substance use issues, is stressful and frustrating, as well as rewarding and meaningful. Through the Fellowship, I hope to become a more effective leader by taking concrete steps to reduce the stress in my life that is a function of my work, and to become a more accomplished team builder and leader by learning new, engaging ways of bringing people together to achieve a shared goal,” he said.