Frequently Asked Questions

What programs do Fellows work on and what work do they do?

Fellows serve as the staff and managers for many of El Pomar’s programs and also work on teams dedicated to the Foundation’s internal operations. Each program calls on Fellows to use and develop unique skill sets, including: event planning, writing and editing, organizational management, research, and more. Because El Pomar engages in a variety of programs and grant making strategies and 1st Year Fellows are assigned to work on five or six programs, all Fellows obtain broad exposure to a wide variety of professional experiences.

Fellows with a background or interest in international work may find themselves planning the itinerary and hosting political leaders from other nations on behalf of the American Council of Young Political Leaders. Those with a background in communications might contribute to the content creation process for the Foundation’s newsletters, blog and social media, or join the Awards for Excellence team to produce videos highlighting outstanding nonprofits throughout Colorado. Others will dive deeply into the grant making process by working on the Foundation’s specialty funds, while those interested in finance can work in the investment office and teach a course on investment to the other Fellows. Whether they involve aiding in the citywide Empty Stocking Fund fundraiser to planning events to raise awareness through Heritage Series, the programs help Fellows build on their professional strengths while also challenging them to grow in areas they may not have expected.  

How are Fellows assigned to the programs?

Incoming Fellows have the opportunity to express their interests and goals when they arrive, and assignments are based on these preferences and the staffing needs of each program.  Throughout the Fellowship, every effort is made to align opportunities with Fellows’ interests. Click here to learn more about El Pomar programs to see where you might fit in!

How are Fellows selected?

Selection for the Fellowship is highly competitive and the result of a rigorous interview and review process. While Fellows represent diverse backgrounds and interests, candidates should demonstrate strong leadership capability and potential, the ability to work as a member of a team, an interest in public service or civic engagement, and a desire to contribute to the well-being of the people of Colorado. Click here for more information about the application process. 

What experience do Fellows have to have before being selected?

Each Fellowship class is a unique mix of outstanding individuals with diverse educational and professional backgrounds. While many Fellows come to El Pomar right after their undergraduate studies in fields as diverse as political science, biology, creative writing, and business administration, others arrive with graduate degrees or after obtaining significant work experience. The Fellowship seeks applicants who demonstrate strong leadership capability and potential, the ability to work as a member of a team, and an interest in public service or civic engagement—and we recognize that these are qualities that develop in a variety of settings.

What do Fellows typically do after the Fellowship?

Because the Fellowship focuses on leadership skills that are transferable across sectors, alumni go on to make an impact in a wide variety of fields. Our alumni work in the private, public and nonprofit sectors, and many Fellows capitalize on their two years of growth and work experience by continuing their education at top law, business, and medical schools across the country.

2020 - 2021 Group Photos

What is a typical day like?

The Fellowship is a dynamic work experience, so it can be hard to describe one “typical day.” Programmatic work often involves team meetings and the completion of projects, reports, and action items, but specific responsibilities vary considerably by program, time of year, and whether you are in the first or second year of the Fellowship. Any given week will also include elements of the professional development curriculum: classes, guest speakers, Fellowship check-ins, and more. Set up a conversation with a current Fellow to learn more about what a typical day looks like for an individual working on a particular set of programs. 

What is the difference between the first and second years of the Fellowship?

The first and second years of the Fellowship are structured to challenge Fellows as they develop into stronger leaders.  The first year emphasizes the role of “followership” in leadership development: 1st Year Fellows serve as the staff members on El Pomar’s programs and the leadership development curriculum is comprised primarily of classroom-style learning. In the second year, Fellows take on larger roles as managers of their programs and the focus turns to the hands-on application of principles and theories learned in the first year. 

When does the Fellowship begin?

The Fellowship begins in mid-July and lasts for almost two years, ending at the end of May.

Do Fellows have the opportunity to travel?

Yes, and like other responsibilities, the amount of travel can vary considerably by program. Fellows travel on behalf of the Regional Partnerships program in which each Fellow is assigned to work in one or two regions across the state. Regional trips typically take place quarterly, and give Fellows the opportunity to attend Regional Council meetings and site visits to grant recipients throughout Colorado.

Do Fellows have the opportunity to work directly for nonprofits?

Fellows do not work directly for other nonprofits, as their primary responsibility is to staff and manage El Pomar's programs.  Fellows do have the opportunity to work on various civic initiatives, projects, and special events in addition to their program responsibilities, and are encouraged to gain additional hands-on experience by serving on local nonprofit boards and supporting local civic projects on a limited basis.  

Do Fellows have to live in Colorado Springs?

Living in Colorado Springs is not a requirement.  However, unless out of town for Foundation business, Fellows are expected to report to work each day at the Foundation's office in southwest Colorado Springs.

How can I speak with a current Fellow?

Current Fellows are more than happy to speak to interested individuals who want to learn more. These conversations are a perfect opportunity to ask your questions and get a better sense of the Fellowship experience. Due to current circumstances, informational interviews will take place over videoconferencing or phone for the safety of potential applicants and current employees.

Set up a conversation by emailing


Who should I ask for recommendations?

We recommend that you ask someone who knows you well and can speak to both your leadership ability and work ethic. The strongest recommendations generally come from individuals who have a close working relationship with the candidate (e.g. supervisors, professors, advisors, etc.). When reviewing applications, the content of a recommendation is far more important to the Recruiting team than the title of the writer and we therefore encourage you to ask those who know you best rather than those who hold the most prestigious title.

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