Castanea Fellowship


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Castanea Fellowship is an environmentalist organization which is part of the left-leaning advocacy and policy organization Arabella Advisors’ network of groups. Its money comes from the Windward Fund, an environmental advocacy group within the Arabella network; Windward Fund grossed over $12 million in 2017 and grossed over $15 million in 2016. 12

Castanea Fellowship significantly incorporates left-leaning race and social policy advocacy into its fellowship and overall mission.


Castanea is funded by Windward Fund, through which it is fiscally sponsored. 3 This legal status allows Castanea to legally work under Windward’s umbrella without making its own separate nonprofit disclosures. 4

Castanea also lists a number of left-leaning organizations as funding partners. The groups, which include the 11th Hour Project, Warsh Mott Legacy, McKnight Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, are largely oriented toward left-wing social policy and focused on left-leaning environmentalist priorities. 5


Castanea provides two-year fellowships to environmental activists, training them on strategies. Race and sex are important components of its fellowship considerations; Castanaea targets at least 50 percent of each year’s fellows to be non-white and female. 6

Castanea’s fellowship includes meetings every four months across the country which provide different leadership lessons and skills. Its 2019 fellows had their first retreat in June 2019 and intend to focus on finance, policy, and organization in November 2019. Other meetings will focus on similar topics. 7

The fellowships are based upon the relaunched W.K. Kellogg Foundation fellowships. Kellogg fellowships focus on the environmental and include racial-based goals. 89

Committees and Leadership

Farzana Serang is the only listed staff member on Castanea Fellowship’s website. 10 She has spent her professional career in left-wing activism. She managed a multimillion-dollar initiative for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation before coming to Castanea Fellowship.

Castanea Fellowship’s Steering Committee is made up of leaders of left-leaning environmental, food, and social policy groups, including funders of the Fellowship. 11

The organization’s fellowship Selection Committee is made up of a similar group of left-leaning individuals who are leaders with independent organizations and focus on social justice issues as part of an overall left-leaning environmental mission. The Fellowship’s formal group of Advisors includes financial experts as well as traditional environmental and social-liberal activists. 12


  1. ProPublica, Windward Fund 2017 990, Accessed October 4, 2019.
  2. Windward Fund, Project Directory, Accessed October 4, 2019.
  3. Castanea Fellowship, FAQs, Accessed October 4, 2019.
  4. Grantspace, “What is fiscal sponsorship? How do I find a fiscal sponsor?” Accessed October 4, 2019.
  5. Castanea Fellowship, Funders, Accessed October 4, 2019.
  6. Community Food Funders, Castanea Fellowship, December 4, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2019.
  7. Community Food Funders, Castanea Fellowship, December 4, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2019.
  8. Community Food Funders, Castanea Fellowship, December 4, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2019.
  9. W.K. Kellogg Foundation, “WKKF launches new fellowship program making a reentry into leadership development,” November 22, 2013. Accessed October 4, 2019.
  10. Castanea Fellowship, Farzana Serang, Accessed October 4, 2019.
  11. Castanea Fellowship, About, Accessed October 4, 2019.
  12. Castanea Fellowship, Advisors, Accessed October 4, 2019.
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