We recently caught up with a few of our alumni and had a chance to ask them some questions. Check out their answers below. 

Q&A with Rey Llena – 2015-2016 NOF Fellow

What do you do to recharge?

Rey Llena 2015-2016 Currently works at: Gay Men’s Health Crisis

I recharge myself by taking trips outside of my city. Sometimes the day to day hustle and bustle can be consuming, so I find it very refreshing to take a weekend trip, or even just a scenic drive when I can. There is something calming about the beauty of nature that stimulates the mind and reinvigorates the senses. READ MORE 

Q&A with Lea Trusty – 2016-2017 NOF Fellow

Are there any unwritten rules where you work?  If so, what are they?


Lea Trusty 2016-2017 Currently works at: Democracy Fund

I’d say most of our rules are unwritten. Compared to our decades-old philanthropic partners, we’re a fairly new foundation. Depending on the circumstances, this is either an amazing asset or a challenge. Sometimes it means we’re nimble enough to respond to of-the-moment events, and other times, it can mean we’re cautious in our words and actions because we’re still establishing ourselves in the space.

I’ve also discovered that the field of philanthropy moves extremely slowly overall, and am still adapting to this after a tight-turnaround-and-deadlines newsroom. READ MORE

Q&A with Hannah McCandless – 2017-2018 NOF Fellow

What is something you recently realized that you can’t believe you had not realized earlier/sooner ?


Hannah McCandless 2017-2018 Currently at Sarah Lawrence Grad School in Yonkers, NY studying Women’s History

Recently, I realized that no one really knows what they are doing. And honestly it was a comforting feeling. Entering academia after a year away made me feel concerned I would not be at a level of knowledge that my peers might have, but luckily, everyone else is equally confused and lost! Now I find myself working with people from all different backgrounds, from all ages and career paths, and we are figuring out school and life together. That has been a huge comfort, especially when I find myself unsure about any number of things. I have my friend, my academic cohort, and my fellowship cohort to answer my questions and support me, and I them. It is a nice feeling to not be alone. READ MORE

Q&A with Davante Jennings – 2016-2017 NOF Fellow

What do you find to be the most fulfilling aspect of your current job?

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Davante Jennings 2016-2017 Currently works at: Steve’s Camp at Horizon Farms in NYC

I work for a very small nonprofit that serves NYC youth. Because we are so small, I have a ton of responsibilities, but most excitedly, the freedom to take on as many new projects or initiatives as I want. For example, I wanted to start an internship program inviting summer camp participants to work in the office helping to plan our year round work: reunions, events, workshops, etc. so I did. And it’s been a hit! For the winter 2018 term, we already have nine applicants for only two intern positions. READ MORE

Q&A with Rodrigo Rabanal – 2017-2018 NOF Fellow

What is one piece of advice you would offer to current Fellows?


Rodrigo Rabanal 2017-2018 Currently works at: Lemonade Insurance Company in NYC

Whether you love or aren’t too fond of where you work during your fellowship year, make the best out of it. If you love it, great! Soak in every second, work hard, and prove yourself. Perhaps you will get re-hired full time after your fellowship year! If you don’t love it, great! Learn as much as you can, write down all the projects you worked on/ contributed to that made a difference at your company, and network with your own co-workers. If you develop good relationships with them but realize the place is not for you, they’ll be sad to let you go but will be more than happy to connect you with someone or help you with next steps. READ MORE