The RVC Green Pathways Fellowship Program is currently not accepting applications and will close with the 2019-2021 cohort. The next iteration of the RVC Fellowship program will start in January 2022. More details below.
Green Pathways March 2021 Updates
In Fall 2019, in partnership with Got Green, RVC kicked off the Green Pathways Fellowship Program with limited staff and resources but big plans!
Months into program launch, COVID-19 hit. Despite COVID disruptions as well as limited funding and capacity to meet the fellows’ and partner organizations’ evolving needs, the program made bold strides and had many meaningful successes. (For the overall journey of the program, check out past Green Pathways Fellowship updates on our website.)
Since the program’s launch, we have learned even more about the necessity of building capacity and equity in the sector and the need for more meaningful investment in creating pathways for future leaders of color in the green sector.
We will share more on the successes and highlights in a few months, but in the meantime, we have a few important updates to share. After a long feedback process and many discussions, the team has made a difficult decision: the Green Pathways Fellowship Program will close with the 2019-2021 cohort. We want to share more about these upcoming changes to the fellowship programs and give you a peek into the process.
The Decision-making Process
The Fellowship team has recently engaged in deep strategic visioning and planning alongside key stakeholders, including fellows, partner organization leaders, and community members.
We asked several partners (prospective and current) as well as fellows to provide feedback on two things:
- Our Strategic Vision: Our team is looking ahead into the future to see how we can best serve our community in the coming years.
- A Longer Timeline before New Fellowship Programming: Our team has been working for six years with no break between cohort years. We are now taking a collective moment to slow down and build in planning time between cohorts.
The team also took time to develop criteria to help guide us in making decisions that align with our mission and the program’s future. The program must:
- meet community needs with intentionality and alignment with RVC’s resources;
- position RVC to be even stronger in our mission and values;
- have focus (given our limited resources);
- align with RVC’s other support programs (Capacity Building and Operations Support); and
- be responsive to political, social, and environmental climate/context.
More on the Upcoming RVC Fellowship Program Changes
We want to share some big upcoming decisions and changes to the fellowship programs.
- RVC will have one fellowship program consisting of 12 – 15 mid-level leaders.
- As the Green Pathways Fellowship Program closes with the current cohort, RVC is committed to developing a path forward to center young people in our programming in the future and is integrating environmental justice education into our core fellowship curriculum.
- The next iteration of the Community Impact Fellowship Program will start in January 2022. First, our incoming partner organizations will engage in a learning arc of capacity building. Then in June 2022, the fellows will begin working at the partner organizations. This ensures that both our partners and fellows are set up for success.
- Our priority is to center Black and Indigenous communities and serve leaders at our partner organizations (such as supervisors and directors), not solely the fellows.
- We will continue to explore the potential of certification for the RVC fellowship program.
While we are sad to see the Green Pathways Fellowship close, we know the changes will provide us with more space to better serve our fellows and partner organizations. RVC Green Pathways Program Manager Flo Sum shares some reflections on the topic below.
The decision to end the Green Pathways Fellowship Program was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make. This program was at the intersection of a few of my passions: education, social justice, leadership development, and supporting young people. I still support and see the need for this type of program in the environmental justice movement; however, it wasn’t a fit for RVC based on our resources (time, capacity, funding, and skillset). Thanks to RVC’s culture of learning, feedback, and collaborative decision-making, I could carry out this process with my full integrity.”Flo Sum, RVC Green Pathways Program Manager
The two fellowship program’s positive impact has consistently been clear for all those involved – fellows, staff, and host organizations. Here are the themes the team encountered during the feedback process:
- Entry-level pathways into non-profit/grassroots work are essential. The investment in someone’s learning, growth, and living wage compensation is important for any sector.
- Fellows across both programs stated how important this program was to open doors for them.
- There is a high need for leaders of color to grow and stay in the sector, take on advocacy roles, and learn more about fundraising & operations.
- Adjustments must be made to both programs to improve the quality of programming for partners and fellows.
- Space between fellowship cohorts is important to give our staff the time and capacity to serve our partners better. However, it conflicts with the need for staffing and capacity-building services our partners demand.
Help us find a home for the next iteration of the Green Pathways Program
We are also actively looking for a new home for the Green Pathways program. If you are a Nonprofit or know about one interested in partnering with us to continue a version of the Green Pathways Program, we want to hear from you! Please Email Green Pathways Fellowship Program Manager Flo Sum at [email protected] for more information.
Thank you & stay tuned for more fellowship updates soon
Our community’s feedback has been invaluable to our team. We send many thanks to our community members who shared their expertise and opinions with us as we grappled with these difficult decisions. Our goal is to be informative and inclusive as we navigate this process, and we are committed to keeping you in the loop regarding our gap period for the fellowship program.
Please visit the Community Impact Fellowship page to learn more about RVC fellowship strategic vision & upcoming programming.
For any questions about the Green Pathways Program updates, please contact [email protected].
Learn about the recent successes and impact of the fellowship programs in our annual report.
Sign up for our Mailing List to stay up to date with our fellowship and organization transition happenings.
About the Current Green Pathways Program
The Green Pathways Fellowship Program creates a pathway for future leaders of color in the green sector while providing living wage, entry-level positions with benefits in the environmental justice movement.
This new program is a partnership between RVC and Got Green that cultivates green leaders through racial equity and intersectional lens. The program will place Fellows at host environmental justice-focused organizations for two years, providing them with technical skill building and training in leadership development that is culturally relevant, community-centered, and context-driven.
This program came about because communities of color, low-income communities, and indigenous communities face greater risks from environmental challenges, which aggravate health and economic disparities. These communities can be more exposed to hazards like fire, flood, drought, or extreme heat because of where they live or work. Yet these communities are often left out and last to be included in the transition to a healthy, resilient, and sustainable future.