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The Saltwater Fellowship

The Miami Foundation

This article originally appeared at

The Saltwater Fellowship is a new initiative of The Miami Foundation that invests boldly in leaders who are moving the needle on the most pressing issues facing Greater Miami. This fellowship is designed by leveraging data and insights about our community’s needs with a goal to bring resources and support to those at the forefront of solutions.

This inaugural Saltwater Fellowship is inspired by our urgency to address the racial inequities we see in our community data. Research shows that there is persistent racial inequity across a wide variety of metrics, including graduation rates, wealth creation, maternal mortality rates, incarceration rates, and more. Despite the profound positive impact that marginalized Miamians have on our community at large, across each metric, these community members still experience deep inequities – for a stark illustration, see our 2024 State of Black Philanthropy report. At The Miami Foundation, we know that Greater Miami cannot reach its potential without a thriving community in which all of its residents have an opportunity to meaningfully participate and thrive, and we feel an urgency to invest deeply in those closest to the issue.

We’re pleased to announce the inaugural Saltwater Fellows, a group of 10 brilliant leaders with deep experience addressing persistent racial inequity in Greater Miami.

Zelalem Adefris

Chief Executive Officer

Catalyst Miami


The Saltwater Fellowship is a 12-month fellowship combined with a two-year unrestricted grant totaling $100,000 to propel the work of outstanding leaders. In its inaugural cohort, the Fellowship will invest in leaders with an extraordinary track record of leadership addressing racial inequity in the Greater Miami region.

To fuel the sustainability and ultimate success of our Fellows, the in-person fellowship program includes community-based skills training and equity labs, as well as coaching and wellness retreats.


The Saltwater Fellowship is made possible with the generous support of donors to The Racial Equity Fund at The Miami Foundation, a commitment to addressing and eradicating racism in all of its forms in Greater Miami. We are grateful to the 150+ donors, including catalytic investments from the Jorge Perez Family Foundation, Facebook and others such as –

Logos for: Jorge Perez Family Foundation Edward S. Moore Family Foundation William R Watts Foundation John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Robert & Jane Toll Foundation Meta


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