2018-2021 Fellows Mary Mountcastle, June Wilson, and Kelly Nowlin speaking at the 2019 National Forum on Family Philanthropy

About the Fellows Program

The National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP) developed the Fellows Program to accelerate the learning and development of family philanthropy leaders, and to add voices to the NCFP community who can both define and elevate effective practices in the sector. The program serves as a mechanism to harness the talents of both the Fellows and NCFP, furthering knowledge creation and promoting best practices. With the work of its Fellows, NCFP is better able to support the full spectrum of family philanthropists to reach their full potential.

Goals of the Fellows Program

  1. Advance the Field: Empower diverse sector leaders to reflect on the purpose and possibilities of family philanthropy, deepen their expertise, and advance the field.
  2. Promote Learning: Foster the learning, development, and community of sector leaders to effectively strengthen the practice of family philanthropy.
  3. Recognize Leaders: Acknowledge respected, bold practitioners in family philanthropy to elevate effective practices and encourage an open exchange of ideas and information.


Fellows will be mid-career family philanthropy practitioners with notable accomplishments, who have been identified as leaders in the field, have established skills and expertise, and are advocates of effective family philanthropy practices. There will be two Fellows per class—one family and another non-family—who will represent the diversity in the field and bring different experiences and perspectives to the program. The Fellows must be committed to the evolving future of the sector and NCFP’s role as a resource for philanthropic families. In addition, they must be committed to their own ongoing learning and growth.

Expectations of Fellows

  • The Fellows will commit to exploring a common objective—the practices and application of effective family philanthropy—but will have individual approaches, activities, and agreed-upon deliverables.
  • Fellows will design and submit a general work plan for their Fellowship that includes a combination of research, thought leadership, and knowledge sharing about their specific focus.
  • Scope of work and individual goals will be established by each Fellow, in partnership with NCFP leadership.
  • Fellows will work independently on their established focus area, but there will be opportunities for mutual support, networking, and connecting with current and alumni Fellows. While there is potential for collaboration, it is not a requirement of the Fellowship.
  • Will be an ambassador for NCFP in its goal to improve the effectiveness of the field and seeking to reach our current community, as well as audiences and networks not currently being reached by NCFP.


  • Meaningful commitment (approx. 8-10 hours per month) across two academic years (September 2022–August 2024) with the opportunity to extend if desired.
  • NCFP may be able to offer a small stipend to support your participation as a Fellow. If you need a stipend to support this work, please contact NCFP at ncfp@ncfp.org to discuss further.

Nomination & Selection

Nominations & Applications

Applications have now closed. Candidates will be notified of their selection by July 31 and will be announced at NCFP’s 2022 National Forum on Family Philanthropy in October.

Selection Criteria

  • Established, mid-career professional (family or non-family) who has already demonstrated broad leadership potential and made meaningful contributions to the field, and whose leadership skills and talents would benefit from this type of personal and professional development program.
  • Has a demonstrated commitment to ongoing learning and values the role of philanthropy-serving organizations, such as NCFP, in the philanthropic ecosystem.
  • Willingness to use their voice, talents, knowledge to advance the field within the Fellows Program and broader NCFP community.
  • Is an advocate for effective philanthropic practices within a family philanthropy setting, whose work has demonstrated personal growth and learning as a leader.

NCFP’s work aims to reflect and support the broad range of individuals in family philanthropy. To that end, NCFP is seeking a diverse class of Fellows—diversity in race, gender, sexual orientation, and perspective.

Selection Process

  • This will be an open and public nomination process in which individuals are nominated by colleagues or nominate themselves to be considered for the role.
  • NCFP will then share the names before a committee (NCFP board officers) for additional input and suggestions.
  • With the input of the committee, NCFP will nominate two Fellows.

Past Activities

Examples of past Fellows’ activities:

  • Blog posts, interviews, and other written materials
  • Speaking engagements and content development for NCFP programs and conferences, including the National Forum on Family Philanthropy
  • Service on NCFP program and planning committees
  • Racial Justice Learning and Action Network development and oversight
Susan Packard Orr (L) and Alice Buhl (R)

Distinguished Fellow Susan Packard Orr and Senior Fellow Alice Buhl

Distinguished Fellow

In addition to selecting two Fellows through a nomination process, NCFP will select a Distinguished Fellow. The Distinguished Fellow will be a significant contributor to family philanthropy, with an inspirational and longstanding history of leadership. This nominee will also be a committed advocate for effective family philanthropy practices and willing to use their voice, talents, and knowledge to advance the field.



If you have questions about the Fellows program or nomination process, please contact NCFP at ncfp@ncfp.org.


Current & Past Fellows

Ginny Esposito

Virginia M. Esposito

Senior Fellow and Founding President

Alice Buhl

Alice Buhl

Senior Fellow (2004-2019)

Katherine Lorenz

Senior Advisor, NCFP; President The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation; NCFP Fellow (2015-2018)

Mary Mountcastle

Mary Mountcastle

Trustee, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation | NCFP Distinguished Fellow (2018–2021)

Kelly Nowlin

Kelly Nowlin

NCFP Chair | Trustee, Surdna Foundation | NCFP Fellow (2018–2021)

Susan Packard Orr

Distinguished Fellow (2014–2018)

Doug Bitonti Stewart

Doug Bitonti Stewart

Executive Director, Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, NCFP Fellow (2015–2018)

June Wilson headshot

June Wilson

Executive Director, Compton Foundation | NCFP Fellow (2018–2021)