The Rainier Valley Corps Fellowship Program
In light of the current political climate, the need to invest in communities-of-color-led nonprofits is more urgent than ever. Due to a historic lack of investment in this sector, communities of color are unable to fully participate in civic engagement and advocacy around critical areas such as environmental justice and education equity. Without the involvement of the communities most affected by injustice, policies and practices are often ineffective.
Recognizing these challenges, Rainier Valley Corps was formed in 2014. We focused on the lack of staff capacity and launched a fellowship program where cohorts of talented leaders are recruited, trained by RVC, provided a living-wage salary and healthcare, and placed at grassroots organizations led by communities of color, with the goal of helping these organizations develop their capacity.
RVC then moved from a single leadership program toward a holistic capacity building model focused on organizations led by communities of color. This new model combines our existing fellowship with four new core capacity-building areas: operations support, capacity-building coaching, partnership fundraising, and collaboration. We believe that the combination of these strategies will unlock the potential of communities of color to mobilize, shape policies, and respond to the current political climate.
FELLOWSHIP: Our Fellowship program identifies a cohort of talented leaders of color, gives them a two-year full-time, paid placement at host grassroots organizations in Rainier Valley led by communities of color, and provides ongoing professional development training. The curriculum involves four key areas: nonprofit management (see below for details), adaptive and collective leadership, advocacy and policy, community organizing, and cultural dynamics. Embedded within the curriculum are discussions on systemic racism, power, privilege, and intersectionality.
Fellows will be part of a cohort and a learning community in which they will gain and strengthen the skill-sets and mindset of a change-maker through understanding theories, applying the concepts and ideas, and practicing to hone these skills.
Fellows will work in the offices of Community Based Organizations in areas people of color have historically and currently are rooted in. Each Fellow, depending on their host organization, may focus on the following area(s):
- Operations (Finance, Human Resources, IT, Office Management, Legal//Risk)
- Development (Grant writing, Donor Cultivation, Campaign Giving, Fundraising Events, Communication)
- Program (Program development and delivery)
- Advocacy & Policy (Advocacy campaigns, Policy Analysis, Communication, Strategy)
- Community Organizing (Community Outreach and Engagement, Communications, Mobilization, Events)
Additional duties and responsibilities during the Fellowship will vary depending on the organization and may include:
- Evaluations, Assessments, Data Management, Systems Improvements, Administrative Support, Partnership Development, Resource Development, etc.
Additionally, Fellows will participate in RVC’s professional development activities. Fellows will help prepare, facilitate, and actively engage in:
- Monthly Training sessions and other professional development trainings
- Lunch n’ Learn gatherings
- Collective Project
- Professional development and team building retreats
- Co-facilitated performance reviews
- Monthly Mentor-Mentee Check-ins
Fellows will apply their learning to strengthen the effectiveness and organizational capacity of their host organization. As an RVC fellow, you can expect to:
- Learn specialized skills (program, operations, fund development, organizing, advocacy and policy) that prepares you to step into mid-level positions at grassroots organizations (manager, lead organizer, policy analyst, etc.).
- Build the capacity of host organization in critical ways by bringing important and necessary changes to host CBO.
- Build a strong resume and professional track that makes you a strong candidate for the job market in the nonprofit sector.
- Receive leadership development support that aligns with own personal leadership style and needs of the community.
- Share your experience and knowledge through interactive learning spaces
- Establish a community, support system, and life-long bonds among fellow
- Be at the forefront of transformative work around leadership, equity, and community building.
- Receive mentoring from RVC’s network of amazing community leaders.
The RVC Fellowship is a paid position. This application is for candidates of the 2019-2021 Fellowship program. Each RVC Fellow will be matched with a local Community Based Organization (CBO) and work in their office. Fellow and CBO matching will be based on the skills and experiences of the Fellow and also on the CBO’s area of need.
During the Fellowship, which will last from August 2019 until August 2021, RVC Fellows will receive ongoing training, support, and mentorship from RVC to further develop their leadership skills, knowledge of non-profit management, capacity building, advocacy, and community dynamics.
Interested in becoming an RVC Fellow? See if you are eligible.