Multicultural Fellowship Program

Multicultural Fellowship Program

The mission of the San Francisco Foundation’s Multicultural Fellowship Program is to equip emerging leaders of color with the experience, knowledge, and network to increase racial and economic equity in the Bay Area. For more than 30 years, the Multicultural Fellowship has been a career accelerator for leaders who are motivated, creative agents of change.

Each Multicultural Fellowship cohort consists of four Fellows. Each Fellow is placed within a specific team at the foundation: People Pathway, Power Pathway, Place Pathway, or Strategic Learning and Evaluation. Fellows work within their team to increase team capacity, provide a fresh perspective, and contribute to the team’s work towards advancing equity in the Bay Area.

Our Multicultural Fellowship Program is a transformational two-year, full-time program that offers:

  • Experiential learning opportunities: Fellows work within a program team to learn how to advance racial and economic equity by leveraging grantmaking and other philanthropic tools.
  • Personal and professional development: Fellows spend two years within a close-knit cohort, where they have the opportunity to receive individual coaching, refine their leadership and interpersonal skills, and practice systems change and movement building work.
  • Insider access: Fellows engage with a wide variety of executives in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors through conferences, trainings, private meetings, and mentorship.
  • Meaningful network: Fellows gain direct access to a community of partners in different types of philanthropic institutions and join an alumni network of nearly 100 leaders.

Fellows are early-career professionals who are new to philanthropy, of diverse cultural backgrounds, and who have the passion and potential to create significant social change in the Bay Area. The Multicultural Fellowship offers an unparalleled opportunity to work within the San Francisco Foundation and explore the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors in the Bay Area through a racial equity and economic inclusion framework.

Each Fellow will embark on this journey within a cohort of four Fellows, foundation staff, and a supportive alumni community.

Get to Know Our 2019-2021 Fellows

Haewon Asfaw, Multicultural Fellow, People

Grecia Mannah-Ayon, Multicultural Fellow, Place

Joshua Lee, Multicultural Fellow, Power

Amy Silva, Multicultural Fellow, Strategic Learning & Evaluation

Applications Are Closed

Applications for the 2021-2023 Multicultural Fellowship Program cohort are closed. Thank you to all of the applicants!

Click on the sections below to learn more.

How to Apply

Please note: Applications for the 2021-2023 Multicultural Fellowship Program cohort are closed. The instructions below are for informational purposes only.

Go to our Careers page and select and apply for your Multicultural Fellowship Program choice (People, Place, Power, or Strategic Learning & Evaluation).

Applicants must submit a resume and cover letter for their primary program choice by 11:59pm on Sunday, February 28, 2021. Applications submitted after this deadline will not be considered.

Your cover letter must communicate your commitment to equity, your approach to leadership, your interest in working with the primary program team and in philanthropy, and dedication to personal and professional development through specific and demonstrable examples. Cover letters should not exceed one single spaced page. Letters of recommendations are not required and will not be considered if submitted.

At the discretion of the program team, applicants may be considered for other program areas.

Applicants selected to be interviewed will be contacted in mid March. If selected, the interview process will occur from mid March – early June and include at least three interviews with SFF staff.

Please review the SFF Multicultural Fellowship Program’s FAQ for responses to common questions in the next section below.

The San Francisco Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and seeks diversity with respect to race, ethnic, culture, gender, age, sexual orientation, and physical disability.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please note: Applications for the 2021-2023 Multicultural Fellowship Program cohort are closed. The answers below are for informational purposes only.

How do I apply to the Multicultural Fellowship Program? What should be included in my application?

Please submit your cover letter and resume to your primary program choice on SFF’s Careers page by 11:59pm PST on February 28, 2021. Late applications will not be considered, and we do not offer extensions. You can only apply to ONE program. Supplemental materials will not be considered.

Your cover letter should communicate your commitment to equity, your approach to leadership, your interest in working with the primary program team, and dedication to personal and professional development through specific and demonstrable examples.

What is the selection process and timeline?

Our selection process is meant to be thoughtful and thorough. In early March, applications are read and reviewed by at least two San Francisco Foundation staff.

First round interviews take place in mid-late March via virtual platform with the Multicultural Fellowship Program Officer and one current Fellow.

Second round interviews will take place in early April via virtual platform with the Multicultural Fellowship Program Officer and respective program team members.

Third round interviews will take place in mid-late April via virtual platform with the Multicultural Fellowship Program Officer and respective program team members.

Final candidates will also speak with San Francisco Foundation’s CEO and CIO.

Reference and background checks will be completed for all final candidates. The four

Fellows selected for the program will receive offers between mid-May to early June.

Applicants will be emailed with updates about their candidacy status.

I applied in the past and did not receive an offer, can I apply again?

Yes, we welcome re-applicants who believe their candidacy and interests are aligned with the program.

What health and safety protocols are being put in place at the San Francisco Foundation during the pandemic?

The San Francisco Foundation is committed to the health and wellbeing of their staff. Since mid-March 2020, staff have been working remotely and have been offered a variety of emotional and physical support mechanisms.

As of December 2020, SFF staff is expected to remain working remotely until July 1, 2021. This timeline is subject to change.

Multicultural Fellows must be located in the Bay Area and available to physically meet for work responsibilities by the program start date, July 1, 2021 – unless otherwise communicated. 

What benefits are offered to Fellows?

Fellows receive a competitive benefits package that includes vision, health and dental coverage; remote working options; donation matching program; volunteer service leave; and more. More specific information will be given to those who receive formal offers.

Fellows receive a professional development budget every year to support their Fellowship experience. This budget will cover conference attendance, supplemental trainings and coaching as well as individual resources (e.g., books and subscriptions).

What is a typical experience for a Fellow?

Each Fellow can expect to have a unique set of experiences – influenced by their personalities, interests, goals, past experiences, respective teams, mental models, cohort members, organizational and environmental circumstances, among other things.

Fellows work with their program teams throughout the week and have Fellows Gather approximately one day a week. Fellows Gathers include facilitated workshops, group discussions and debriefs, teaching and learning opportunities, site visits (when appropriate) and meetings with sector leaders. Fellows also receive 1:1 coaching and can create additional opportunities for themselves and the cohort. Fellows will engage with Alumni during the course of their tenure to receive mentorship and support. Fellows also receive support and guidance from staff, alumni and other resources when searching for their post-Fellowship opportunities.

As traveling returns as a safe option, there are approximately 4-6 statewide and national conferences that Fellows will attend as part of their program for learning and networking opportunities. These opportunities are an important part of the program, happen throughout the year and can range from 2-5 days each. Travel and related expenses are covered by the San Francisco Foundation.

SFF ‘work hours’ are typically from 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday with exceptions as needed.

What opportunities do Fellows find after completing the Fellowship? Where are Alumni?

During the course of the program, Fellows explore their interests, hopes, visions, purpose and impact – which all influence their decisions about ‘what to do next’. Often, Fellows will actively search for and accept job opportunities in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors – often at Program Officer and Program Manager/Director levels. Alternatively, some Fellows decide to take time to themselves after their Fellowship.

With over 30 years of history, the Multicultural Fellowship Program has a robust network of alumni across all sectors. Alumni can be found making impact as nonprofit leaders, elected and appointed officials, consultants and small business owners, teachers and organizers, philanthropic leaders, as well as their non-work-related identities. This network of committed and dynamic leaders is one of the most valued aspects of the Fellowship program.

I have a question that is not answered in this document, what should I do?

Please review the job description thoroughly for information and details about the program. An Info Session will take place on January 27th that will offer insight from current Fellows and Alumni – all potential applicants are encouraged to attend. A recording of the Info Session will be available. Additional questions can be directed to Shiko Rugene at srugene[at]

Please Note: Starting Jan 2, 2021 through March 1, 2021, Claudia Paredes-Corne, the Multicultural Fellowship Program Officer will be on parental leave and will not be responding to any inquiries and her email inbox will not be monitored. Please contact Shiko Rugene at srugene[at] during this time.

To download the FAQ, click here.