Blog: Amplify

From Jamaica to Virginia: Initial Thoughts About My Atlas Corps Journey

Excited, relieved, eager, anxious—those were some of the feelings I experienced when I found out I was selected as an Atlas Corps Fellow to serve at the Council on Foundations.

I was working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in Jamaica when I received the confirmation email. I knew how life changing this decision to come to the U.S. as an Atlas Corps fellow could be, and I found it hard to contain my excitement. On one hand, I was building my career in the Foreign Service and fulfilling a lifelong desire to serve my country as a diplomat. On the other hand, I saw Atlas Corps as an ideal opportunity to move towards fulfilling another dream of mine–expanding my nonprofit experience, in particular to benefit the M&N Foundation for Aspiring Youth, a charity organization I co-founded in Jamaica in 2010 to provide scholarships, mentorship, and social skills training for Jamaica’s youth.

While the decision I made was not easy, I have no regrets, and I am optimistic about the opportunities and experiences which lay ahead. I am thrilled to be working at Council this year. I am passionate about learning and see this an excellent opportunity to expand my knowledge about philanthropy, learning from an organization with more than 70 years of experience supporting foundations of various types and sizes.

My Time at the Council

During my year-long placement at the Council I will be working closely with the Senior Director, Global Philanthropy and Partnerships on a portfolio of internationally focused programming, including supporting ongoing resource development for expanded global activities. I am excited about the opportunities this placement provides for me to learn and write about trends in international philanthropy, develop marketing and communications strategies, and support the Council’s advocacy around the global regulation of cross-border grantmaking. I am looking forward to helping to launch a new capacity building program for global grantmakers and to planning events such as the Council’s upcoming annual conference and meetings focused on how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be achieved in the United States. I’m also excited to be the Council’s first-ever Atlas Corps fellow.

About Atlas Corps

For over 10 years, Atlas Corps has provided fellowship opportunities to more than 500 nonprofit professionals from more than 87 countries. Since 2014, the organization has partnered with the U.S. Department of State for the Emerging Global Leaders Initiative-Atlas Corps Fellowship (EGLI-Atlas Corps Fellowship) to bring global social change-makers to the United States on leadership development fellowships.

The fellowship program consists of three essential elements:

  • Full-Time Service in the United States: Each Fellow serves full time for six to 18 months in established organizations in the United States to share skills and learn new perspectives.
  • Participation in Professional Development: Each Fellow participates in 200 hours of Global Leadership Lab—in-person and virtual training on the key principles of nonprofit management.
  • Enrollment in Global Network: Each Fellow is enrolled in the growing Atlas Corps Alumni network.

I am so honored to be a part of the Atlas Corps family and a member of this remarkable global network. Here’s to an unforgettable year of new opportunities and to the development of lasting relationships with staff and members of the Council on Foundations.

Cheers!

Maxsalia Salmon

Class 23 Fellow

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