IREX and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Role: IREX and the W.K. Kellogg foundation came together for this project with the support of the community that grew from the Impact Fellowships Summit (IFS). The two organizations worked together as co-conveners of this community to build a consortium of over 20 fellowship programs that shared a common mission. As technical experts in fellowship programming and alumni network research, IREX facilitated the design and approach for data collection, analysis and reporting with these consortium members.
The Data: Over 1,000 fellowship alumni from 102 countries and 17 programs contributed to data collection activities coordinated by the FANS initiative. These included 14 survey campaigns, 79 interviews, 13 focus group discussions that brought together alumni from multiple fellowship programs.
Key Findings: Broadly, this study identified the type of impact that fellowship networks can have on alumni, and the common elements of a network that alumni value in improving their work. Below are some of the key findings from the report.
- Fellowship networks support changes at every level of society.
- Alumni care about three common experiences (I.e., building relationships, sharing knowledge and experiences, and accessing professional opportunities) from their fellowship network
- Fellowship programs foster an improved awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) issues.
- Personal friendships are an essential part of a sustainable network.
- Certain support strategies are widely desired across fellowship networks.