Tierney Alumni Fellowship

One-Year Fox Leadership International (FLI) and Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society (PRRUCS) Alumni Research and Service Fellowship in New Orleans, Louisiana


BACKGROUND: Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, from 2006 through 2016, Penn’s Robert A. Fox Leadership Program sponsored one of the largest service-learning programs in New Orleans, Louisiana.  In 2005, the initiative was inspired by Marc H. Morial (C’80), then chairperson of the Fox Faculty Director’s advisory group, former New Orleans mayor, and CEO and President of the National Urban League.  Over the next decade, through week-long, summer-long, and year-long fellowships, hundreds of Penn undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni participated actively in the city’s human, physical, and financial recovery process.

Most distinctively, dozens of Penn alumni worked year-round in the service of diverse nonprofit organizations that co-led that recovery process.  As detailed and documented in Fox@20: Just Getting Started (University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts and Sciences, 2018), the decade-long effort was led and managed primarily by the Fox Program’s Executive Director, Joseph P. Tierney.  Tierney worked closely with several of the region’s top nonprofit leaders, including Gordon Wadge, then of Catholic Charities of Greater New Orleans, and presently of YMCA of Greater New Orleans.

PRRUCS was founded in 2000.  From 2006 through 2016, numerous PRRUCS-affiliated students representing Penn’s diverse communities of religiously affiliated organizations (Hillel, MSA, Newman, and others) did recovery-focused service and research work in New Orleans.  FLI was founded in 2014.  In 2017, Wadge invited FLI-sponsored students, most of them Chinese nationals, to visit YMCA of Greater New Orleans as part of a spring break trip during which the students also met the city’s mayor and other leaders.

FELLOWSHIP TERMS and QUALIFICATIONS: Tierney retired from Penn in 2020.  To honor Tierney’s service to Fox and other Penn programs including FLI and PRRUCS while partially reanimating the New Orleans fellowship program, FLI and PRRUCS, with YMCA of Greater New Orleans, are co-sponsoring a “Tierney Fellow” to serve for one-year on the staff of YMCA of Greater New Orleans in a direct-report relationship to Wadge and Halpern.   For a recent YMCA of Greater New Orleans annual report, visit:


The 12-month Tierney Alumni Research and Service Fellowship is for a qualified recent Penn graduate (Class of 2019, 2020, 2021, or 2022), and shall pay $35,000 plus benefits, plus a $10,000 travel/housing stipend.  Start date is flexible, but no later than January 2023.

The qualifications for this Fellowship are as follows:

YMCA of Greater New Orleans

Position: Tierney Alumni Fellow – Special Projects Coordinator

Location: Metro Office, Brown Foundation Center, 320 Metairie Hammond Highway, Suite 321, Metairie, LA 70005

Reports to: President & CEO

General Function:

The Fellow serves in a leadership development position and is a member of the YMCA of Greater New Orleans (YGNO) Leadership Team. The Special Projects Coordinator will serve as a member of the YGNO Leadership Team and the Metro Office Team. The Fellow will work both independently and as part of these teams and assist with a wide variety of projects including: development and fundraising projects; marketing and media activities and tasks; special projects execution; Board development; and community engagement. The ideal candidate will be a self-starter with strong communication skills and an ability to work both independently and with a diverse team.

Primary Responsibilities:

    • Participating as an active and equal member of the YMCA Leadership Team and Metro Office Team
    • Assisting with engagement and development of the YMCA Governing Board of Trustees including Board Committees – Finance, Strategic Planning, etc. Also assist the CEO with meeting preparation, organization, minutes and follow up
    • Assisting the CEO, Development staff and Marketing staff with research, social media, web site management, and special projects
    • Assisting the Development staff with donor research, tracking, data entry, grants management, and special events
    • Assisting the CEO with various tasks related to branch and program operations throughout the metro region
    • Assisting in oversight of the YGNO adult literacy program including interfacing with Louisiana State leadership, New Orleans Public Library staff, as well as service corps members and full-time faculty
    • Developing new business models including the multi-million dollar historic Hope Haven project in planning
    • Attending community meetings with YMCA Leadership

Skills and Qualifications:

    • Graduate of the University of Pennsylvania in the Class of 2019, 2020, 2021, or 2022
    • Strong interest in developing leadership skills
    • Creative and interested in working in an entrepreneurial environment
    • An ability to multitask and work as part of a team
    • A self-starter able to manage a task from start to finish
    • A quick learner with strong written and verbal communication skills
    • Strong organizational skills
    • Comfortable working with a diverse workforce and a diverse membership base
    • Must have personal transportation

Interested persons should send a brief cover letter and updated 1-page resume to PRRUCS Executive Director, Dr. Daniel Cheely (Cheelyjm@sas.upenn.edu), with the subject line “Tierney Fellow.” Application cycle now open and candidate review to begin September 15.