Professionals Learning About Community, Equity & Smart Growth (PLACES)


The PLACES Fellowship challenges assumptions and exposes Fellows to new ways of thinking about the role of philanthropy in empowering historically underserved and low-income communities.

About the PLACES Fellowship

Impact. That's what every grantmaker seeks.

But mention equity and diversity to the philanthropic community and often the conversation turns to the struggle of making outcomes match ideals. Work done in vulnerable and distressed communities often falls short of intended outcomes or doesn't translate into lasting impact. Because the needs and perspectives of low-income communities, often comprised of people of color, have been systematically disregarded in decisionmaking about growth and development, the Funders' Network developed the PLACES Fellowship. The PLACES Fellowship develops tools and provides resources to help funders understand and eliminate the disproportionate impact of these decisions.

Meet the PLACES alumni.

Read some of the PLACES Fellows' blogs about their Fellowship experience:


In 2008, the Network launched PLACES (Professionals Learning About Community, Equity and Smart Growth), its first philanthropic leadership development initiative. PLACES is designed as a year-long fellowship program that offers tools, knowledge, and best practices to enhance funder grantmaking decisions in ways that are responsive to the needs and assets of low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. As a result of participating in the PLACES program, fellows develop:

  • An in-depth knowledge of how decisions about growth and development relate to issues of race/ethnicity/class;
  • Tools and resources to help them increase their effectiveness as grantmakers;
  • Exposure to best practices of grantmakers working in this field;
  • Leadership development and skill building opportunities; and
  • Expanded networking opportunities.

PLACES Strategic Plan 2011-2015

The 2012 PLACES Fellowship Year

Postcard from Miami

Postcard from Seattle

PLACES Seattle Site Visit Highlights Video

Postcard from Chicago