We’re thrilled to announce that applications for TFN’s 2023 PLACES Fellowship are now open!

→ Learn more about the 2023 PLACES Fellowship, including key dates, health and safety precautions, and other info here.  

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At TFN, we believe that grantmaking institutions hold tremendous potential to make positive change in the communities they serve.

We also recognize the obstacles many funders face — both externally and internally — in turning ideals into impact, especially when their work in vulnerable and distressed communities often falls short of intended goals or fails to make a lasting impact.

TFN’s PLACES Fellowship is a transformational leadership development program for professionals in philanthropy to better understand issues of race, equity and inclusiveness — and to then translate those skills and knowledge in to their grantmaking practices.

By the end of their year-long fellowship, participants are equipped with the tools and resources to understand, challenge and change systemic inequities. Our hope is that by cultivating and connecting a diverse cadre of leaders passionate about racial equity and social justice, PLACES not only benefits those individual grantmakers, but enriches their institutions and the field of philanthropy as a whole.


PLACES — which stands for Professionals Learning About Community, Equity and Sustainability — uses learning, coaching and reflections to explore structural racism, community empowerment and equitable grantmaking practices.

We envision that all graduates will have a deep understanding of the following concepts:

  • Personal leadership development
  • Equity, inclusiveness and smart growth principles
  • Understanding the constructs of race and racialization
  • Collaborative grantmaking and community engagement to increase equity in philanthropy
  • Influencing the field and encouraging change in culture and equitable practices through leadership and action

In addition to the PLACES curriculum, Fellows learn from the people and places we visit. Our Fellowship Cohort, selected annually from a highly competitive pool of applicants, embarks on year-long journey that includes four site visits to communities across the U.S. and Canada. (The site visit locations vary each year. To read more about our Fellows’ experiences on the road, check out our Going PLACES blog series below.)

The PLACES Fellowship concludes with a capstone presentation and graduation — but that rarely marks the end of the PLACES experience. As any PLACES alum will tell you, the deep bonds and professional connections forged by the Fellows extend well beyond the end of their cohort year.

Meet our 2022 PLACES Fellows!

TFN’s vision is to create generations of courageous philanthropic leaders who are engaged, emboldened and equipped to bring about a just society.

That’s why we are so proud to announce the 2022 PLACES Fellows — 16 exemplary grantmakers who will embark on a year-long curriculum focusing on racial equity and justice.

They will work together to not only deepen their understanding of structural racism and its malign impacts, but to acquire the tools and resources needed to challenge and change systemic inequities through their grantmaking.

Learn about our 2022 PLACES Cohort here. 

Xan Avendaño

Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation

Jena Bradley

United Way of Greater Cincinnati

Francisco Covarrubias

California Community Foundation

Michele Christiansen


Katrina Deberry

Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Sidra Fatima

The Kresge Foundation

Felisa Gonzales

The Colorado Trust

Jessica Mákàńjú González Martínez

New Growth Innovation Network

Tia Hicks

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Bay Area

Melanie Moore

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

Jennifer Pereira

Rhode Island Foundation

Lakshmi (Sasha) Ponappa

CSD Unites Community Foundation

Sally Ray

Center for Disaster Philanthropy

Nell Tessman

Gray Family Foundation

Mark Tran

The California Endowment

Peter Whitt

St. Luke’s Foundation

Our Alumni

For more than 10 years, PLACES has welcomed more than 140 fellows to participate in this unique opportunity intended to help grantmakers embed the values of racial, social and economic equity into their work.

Our alumni hail from all corners of the United States and Canada, representing national, regional and community foundations. Their grantmaking portfolios encompass a wide range of passions: building healthy communities, spurring inclusive economic prosperity, fighting climate change, combatting social injustice, supporting local artists, and rebuilding civic trust — to name just a few of the areas where PLACES fellows are making an impact.

At the end of their cohort year, PLACES Fellows are welcomed into the robust and highly engaged PLACES Alumni Network. The PLACES Alumni Network offers peer learning opportunities, timely webinars, and our annual Alumni Gathering. PLACES Alumni also have the opportunities to further hone their leadership skills by volunteering on the PLACES Advisory Board and other TFN boards and committees. For a list of our alumni, please visit our PLACES Alumni page.

PLACES X: Stories of Impact

For the 10th anniversary of TFN’s PLACES Fellowship, we worked with two award-winning journalists to help capture the stories shared and the lessons learned through the PLACES Fellowship. The result is our PLACES Impact Stories project, which includes profiles written by WLRN social justice reporter Nadege Green and videos created by documentary filmmaker Oscar Corral. View the full project here.

Meet Our Fellows: 2020 PLACES Fellows

Le Anne Alexander

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Everett Au

The San Diego Foundation

Daniel Barrett

The Buhl Foundation / One Northside

Alexis Bivens

Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation

Elizabeth Coco

The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota

Mary Coleman


Anna Cruz

The Kresge Foundation

Nancy Fasching

Southwest Initiative Foundation

Rayana Grace

Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts

Betsy Hands

High Meadows Fund

Talib Horne

The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Mindy Kao

Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Roger Perez

Roy and Patricia Disney Family Foundation

Stephanie Ruiz

Hispanics in Philanthropy

Bilal Tajildeen

Connecticut Community Foundation

Omar Carrillo Tinajero

Center for Community Investment at Lincoln Institute

“The PLACES Fellowship gave me the tools to be better at my job. It not only shaped how I think about the work, but how I view the world.” 

— Kumar Raj, Senior Program Officer, The Skillman Foundation, PLACES 2018 Fellow

Historyof PLACES


PLACESStrategic Plan

PLACES Advisory Board

Want to Know More?

Contact Dion Cartwright, Director of Equitable Initiatives and Leadership Development, at dion@fundersnetwork.org or (305) 667-6350.