Foundation professionals have relatively few opportunities to discuss with each other their accumulated experience and expertise. The Senior Fellows Network program of The Synergos Institute identifies talented foundation leaders from vanguard philanthropic institutions worldwide and links them to a global learning and service network, with the goal of strengthening foundations in the developing world. Fellows serve as peer consultants to other foundations around the world; their work produces knowledge on trends and innovative models, which Synergos distributes to a wide audience. A Lodestar grant, which helped underwrite an annual meeting of the Senior Fellows, also supported the development of a marketing plan to promote the Senior Fellows Network program to the foundation community.
The Synergos Institute, with its expertise in expanding philanthropy around the world, wanted to create a culture of philanthropy in the former Soviet Union; the Eurasia Foundation has done extensive civic and economic development community work in the region. Pursuant to an invitation from Lodestar, Synergos and the Eurasia Foundation secured a planning grant that enabled both organizations to jointly assess the readiness of this region for philanthropic development. The grant led to a work plan, which can serve as the basis for an initial pilot project in the selected countries.