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20th-Century US Foundations: Fellowship Opportunity & Course

The Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at the CUNY Graduate Center is offering up to eight $1,250 fellowships for participants in a spring 2024 course on twentieth-century American foundations developed in collaboration with the GC doctoral program in history and the Rockefeller Archive Center.

The course focuses on grantmaking foundations, the wide variety of causes and initiatives that they fund, how they work, their underlying theories of change, and their broader roles in society.

It is designed to teach students interested in public history and applied history to do historically-based program reviews for institutional decision making, using archival materials from the Rockefeller Archive Center. Many of these records have not previously been used, providing significant opportunities for original research.

The Archive Center [RAC] houses the records of the Rockefeller, Ford, Russell Sage, Henry Luce, William and Flora Hewlett, Near East and Markle Foundations, and the Commonwealth and Rockefeller Brothers Funds (among other materials).  Their visual and written materials cover a broad swath of U.S. and global history, from the women’s, civil rights and human rights movements to the colonial devolution; scientific, agricultural, and social science research; and public health, the arts and humanities in the United States and around the world. Selected students may also be able to work with RAC staff to disseminate their research findings to the general public through digital publishing and/or other RAC projects. The resulting papers can also be used for scholarly publications and presentations, and dissertation chapters.The fellowships are designed to cover travel to the Archive Center in Pocantico Hills, NY, and any related research costs (although many of the archival materials are available online).Information about RAC’s holdings and finding aids are available at https://rockarch.org/. Prospective students are strongly advised to consult the Archive Center’s online finding aids and to contact their access staff to ensure that the available manuscript collections are sufficiently rich for the topic they plan to study.

The fellowships for students selected to participate in the 20th-Century U.S. Foundations course are generously funded by the Rockefeller Archive Center.

The CourseThe course requirement is a 10-15 page paper based on original research in RAC’s collections, plus weekly reading assignments keyed to the students’ topics and discussions about their research.  The course will also feature presentations by the Archive Center’s staff and public historians about public history careers.Applications

  • Deadline:  November 13, 2023 (extended deadline)
  • Eligibility:  Doctoral and M.A. students
  • Application submission requirements:
    1. Cover sheet, including your name, discipline, whether you are in a doctoral or master’s program, your level within these programs and any relevant nonprofit, foundation or public history experience you may have
    2. Description of research topic and how it relates to your general research interests (1 page)
    3. Brief description of why you are interested in the course and the fellowship in terms of your own career goals.
    4. Resumé or CV
    5. Writing sample

Please arrange your documents in the order above in a single .PDF file and forward via email to Associate Director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, Barbara Leopold, at bleopold@gc.cuny.edu.  Questions about the fellowships may be addressed to Barbara Leopold.

Awards will be announced on or before December 4, 2023.

Class participation may be limited to the fellowship recipients. Other students who wish to enroll should contact Professor Kathleen McCarthy at Kmccarthy@gc.cuny.edu. Permission is required to register.