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Senior International Fellows 2018

The Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society Welcomes

The Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York is pleased to welcome five International Fellows to this term’s professional development program. The Fellows bring a depth of practical and theoretical knowledge on philanthropy and a variety of perspectives to the program. In addition to research, writing, and reflection, Fellows will participate in seminars on civil society and community philanthropy in comparative perspective; share learnings from the field; and meet with nonprofit representatives and scholars.

The 2018 Fellows join an alumni network of scholar-practitioners in from the globe. They bring the number of program participants to 213 from 65 countries.


Vittoria Burton | Ivrea, ITALY
President and Chair of the Board — Fondazione di Comunità del Canavese
Head of Research and Development — Copernico Social Cooperative
Member of National Council — Assifero (national membership association of Italian grant-making foundations and private institutional philanthropy)
Research Focus: Mobilizing, attracting, creating wealth for local communities: the role of community foundations in the quest for resources
The area our Foundation operates within was once a hive of economic, social and cultural innovation. … Now Ivrea is in a state of complete decadence, but has no awareness of it. In order to mobilise the residual resources in our community, we need to open the doors of our town and let some fresh air in and this Program might just be what we need.

Andrés Ceballos | Bogotá, COLOMBIA and Maywood, NJ, USA
Executive Director — Arraigo, LLC
Community Organizer — Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement
Research Focus: Feasibility study for the creation of a community foundation serving Latinx communities and led by Latinx leaders.

The worlds of international cooperation and local community development have been at odds for many years.  ...  The dissonance ultimately lies in the manner [in which] each side approaches the idea of development. ...  It is time to move beyond the banality of the aid effectiveness debate to finding local solutions to local problems and how these problems and solutions are taking on a transnational character.
Wanja Muguongo | Nairobi, KENYA
Executive Director — UHAI EASHRI
Steering Committee Member — Human Rights Funders Network
Research Focus: Analysis of leadership and governance mechanisms of community-led foundations versus other philanthropic foundations with a view to improve governance practices

Governments, civil society and philanthropic foundations globally are all increasingly seeking closer engagement with grassroots in evaluating their impact and reach, in considering strategy, and sometimes in making decisions. This is because it is generally agree[d] that lived experience informs problem analysis and solution approaches.

Catherine Mwendwa | Nairobi, KENYA
Programmes Officer — East Africa Philanthropy Network [East Africa Association of Grantmakers]
Board Member — Slum TV
Research Focus: What is the role of private foundations in harnessing the power of community philanthropy?

I have met people whose selflessness in the face of both poverty and great wealth have shown me that philanthropy is not about what’s in the pocket but about changing the lives of others in one small act of kindness at a time. Their generosity, self-reliance and social responsibility despite their circumstances are the one constant that changed how I envisioned my career path in international development.

Magdalena Pękacka | Warsaw, POLAND
Executive Director — Polish Donors Forum
Board Vice-President — Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe (DAFNE)
Research Focus: Tapping the giving potential of SMEs to support community foundations: the role of national associations of grantmakers

Never in the 28 years since Poland regained independence has philanthropy been so relevant. This is a pivotal moment for the future of many worthy social initiatives, including community foundations, which will depend on the development of philanthropy and of corporate giving in particular.