Stanton Fellowship

“The Stanton process made me a more fulfilling citizen of Los Angeles. I had the opportunity to get in the weeds on a host of issues.” -Marqueece Harris-Dawson, LA City Councilmember

The Stanton Fellowship allows leaders to test a hunch, pursue an inquiry, and leverage their knowledge and contacts.

We are seeking the most knowledgeable, inquisitive, creative, and highly networked thinkers and doers – the ones who are best positioned to identify and make headway on a big question facing Los Angeles.

The Durfee Foundation’s Stanton Fellowship provides up to six fellows with $100,000 each over a two-year period to think deeply about big questions, and to tease out approaches that will improve life for the people of L.A.

Peer learning is an important part of the Stanton Fellowship. Fellows meet regularly to share their work, learn from one another about their respective fields and projects, and discover more about LA from visits to different sites and neighborhoods and hearing from local experts. They come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, and bring curiosity and engagement to a cross-disciplinary network.


  • Enable Los Angeles changemakers to pursue an inquiry that seeks to improve the lives of people living in Los Angeles
  • Support open inquiry and intellectual stimulation for creative thinkers in LA, advancing ideas, expanding practice and deepening roots in the community
  • Create a cross-disciplinary network to share ideas and resources

What If: Insights from a Decade of Philanthropic R&D

This report outlines the benefits, learning, and success stories from the first 10 years of the Stanton Fellowship and provides a blueprint for how other organizations can foster open inquiry, leadership development, and cross-sector collaboration to advance big ideas and groundbreaking solutions.