PRESS RELEASE: The Council on Foundations Names Melissa Howell to 2020 Career Pathways Cohort

Program Creates Diversity Pipeline for Next-Gen Executives in Philanthropy

New York, NY – The Council on Foundations today, named <insert your name> to the 2020 Career Pathways cohort, amid a group of 24 industry leaders. Career Pathways is a development program designed to increase the number of diverse candidates in the philanthropic leadership pipeline.

“The Africa-America Institute (AAI) is proud to have our Senior Director of Programs, Ms. Melissa Howell, receive this prestigious fellowship. We would like to congratulate her on receiving this recognition,” said Kofi Appenteng, President of the Africa-America Institute.

The newly selected participants represent the seventh cohort of the program, which targets mid to senior-career philanthropic professionals. Since launching in 2010, Career Pathways alumni have pushed beyond the barriers that challenge diversity in leadership, utilizing the knowledge and skills attained during the program to move into senior and executive level positions within philanthropic organizations around the world.  Recent data shows an 87% promotion rate among program participants. 

Over the course of a year, the cohort will delve deep into major issues facing philanthropic leaders; gain access to a vast network of CEOs, trustees, search firm executives and national thought leaders; attend virtual and in-person career trainings across the country; and be paired with an executive coach to advise and support them along their career path. 

“We continue to be inspired by the number of amazing and highly qualified applicants we received for Career Pathways, and the 2020 cohort is truly exceptional,” said Karon Moody Harden, the Council’s Vice President, Programs & Peer Engagement. “As we work to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in philanthropy through the Career Pathways program, we are excited to engage with this year’s cohort and see the work they will do in applying their new knowledge to improve their communities.”

The 2020 Career Pathways cohort will convene four times across the country and will be hosted by several leading philanthropic institutions. The first convening will take place in January in San Antonio, Texas. The program will conclude in October 2020 in Los Angeles, California. 

Career Pathways is supported by Conrad Hilton Foundation, The David and Lucille Packard Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. 

For more information about Career Pathways, visit

About the Africa-America Institute 

The Africa-America Institute (AAI) is the flagship U.S. organization connecting Africa to America. Since its founding in 1953, over 16,000 Africans have received scholarships and fellowships from AAI. These Africans now make up an esteemed network of alumni, many of whom are leaders and influencers across public, private, and governmental sectors in Africa and other countries around the globe. This network includes current heads of state: H.E. Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia; H.E. Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire; H.E. Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger; and H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa. Many of AAI’s alumni have left an indelible imprint, including the late 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Mathaai and the late Barack Obama, Sr.

About the Council on Foundations 

The Council on Foundations exists to help philanthropy be a strong and trusted partner in advancing the common good. Building on our 70-year history, we are charting a course for the field where funders display high integrity, earn and maintain the public’s trust and serve as excellent stewards of philanthropic resources. We imagine a world where givers of all kinds are sophisticated and vital players in creating more equitable communities and a better world.

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