We know that philanthropy attracts people who care deeply about creating positive change. But we also recognize that funders often face obstacles in turning ideals into impact — especially when faced with the prospect of untangling decades of systemic inequities that have caused grievous harm to our most historically marginalized communities.

The good news for people seeking to do good work: You don’t have to go it alone.

Applications are now open for TFN’s PLACES Fellowship, an eight-month learning journey designed to help grantmakers embed the values and practices of environmental, economic and racial justice into their work. The EXTENDED deadline to apply is Jan. 10, 2024. View the application and apply today!

PLACES, which stands for Professionals Learning About Community, Equity and Sustainability, cultivates and connects leaders passionate about addressing a wide range of issues — such as the escalating climate crisis, barriers to opportunity, the erosion of civil liberties and legislative assaults on bodily autonomy.

Regardless of their grantmaking portfolios, PLACES Fellows are equipped with the tools needed to understand, challenge and change systemic inequities, and translate that learning into meaningful action and impact.

PLACES not only benefits those individual grantmakers, but enriches their institutions and the field of philanthropy as a whole.

We encourage you to apply for the PLACES Fellowship if you’re looking to:

  • Expand your understanding of systemic racial, social and economic inequities and their impacts on policy, culture, communities and climate.
  • Acquire the tools and resources to embed the values of equity and justice in your work as a grantmaker.
  • Explore and challenge your own biases and blind spots, regardless of your background, about who you are and how you create change.
  • Forge deep connections with other leaders in philanthropy who are deeply committed to shared learning and collaboration.
    Invest in your personal and professional leadership growth.
  • Tap into the resources and opportunities as a member of the PLACES Alum Network, including alum-only learning sessions, networking events and digital platforms.

"Places really was the starting point for me to lean into equity work in philanthropy. It set a solid foundation for my ongoing learning and skill-building." - PLACES Evaluation Survey

About the PLACES Fellowship

The 2024 PLACES Fellowship will be an in-person experience, although we recognize that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may require us to be flexible.

Key 2024 Fellowship Dates*

  • May 13-17: Cleveland, Ohio
  • July 10-12 :Denver, Col.
  • Sept. 18-20 – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Nov. 13-15: Sacramento, Calif.
    *Dates are subject to change.

Fellowship Fees

For accepted participants, the following fees will apply:

  • TFN Members: $750
  • Non-members: $1,250

Fees help support the programmatic and operational costs associated with the fellowship, including but not limited to, speaker honoraria, facilitator fees and group transportation. Fellows will be responsible for travel costs and hotel accommodations for site visits. (Limited travel sponsorships will be available to offset travel costs and are subject to availability.)

Find Your People: PLACES Alum Network

2023 PLACES Fellows at their site visit to Detroit.

2023 PLACES Fellows at their site visit to Detroit.


The PLACES Fellowship is one of TFN’s most significant efforts to foster courageous philanthropic leaders who are engaged, emboldened and equipped to bring about meaningful change. Over the past decade, PLACES has welcomed more than180 leaders in philanthropy committed to deepening their understanding of environmental, economic and racial justice. Translating those skills into practice has taken on increased urgency as we face overt efforts to undermine the values of diversity, equity and inclusion in our libraries, classrooms, college campuses and other areas of civic life.

Now, more than ever, we need bold leaders in the philanthropic sector who can serve as ambassadors and advocates for justice.

By becoming a PLACES Fellow, you’ll have opportunities to continue your learning and connect with peers in the sector through the PLACES Alum Network. This amazing network is comprised of alums from all corners of the United States and Canada, representing national, regional, family, corporate, and community foundations as well as philanthropy serving organizations and other funding institutions.

Recent cohorts have addressed issues impacting disenfranchised communities, including structural racism, gender justice, health equity, environmental sustainability, economic development and community engagement — asking difficult questions and exploring uncomfortable truths along the way.

→ Meet the 2023 PLACES Fellows

"The PLACES Fellowship was the start to my professional growth... It lit a fire in me to start making changes within the philanthropic field" - PLACES Evaluation Survey

What We’ve Learned

Earlier this year, we retained an outside firm to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the PLACES Fellowship and Alum Network. The results reinforced our commitment to creating a space for funders to come together to find inspiration, solidarity and shared purpose, both during and after their PLACES Fellowship experience.

Some key findings shared by the PLACES Alums surveyed:

  • 81% reported increasing grants to organizations led by and serving people of color.
  • 83% said PLACES help them better connect sustainability issues to racial justice.
  • 86% of surveyed alums reported advocating for more equitable practices
  • 95% of surveyed alums said PLACES provided them with skills, tools, and resources to advance practices that promoted equity in their organization.
  • 93% of surveyed alums said PLACES provided them with skills, tools, and resources to advance practices that promoted equity in their grantmaking.
  • 92% of surveyed alums said PLACES helped them better understand the culture of white supremacy and how it shows up in philanthropy.

What We’re Sharing

After each PLACES site visit, we ask the Fellows to reflect on their experiences in our blog series Going PLACES. Check out some highlights from our PLACES alums: