October 1, 2019

Institute Awarded Major Grant to Launch Mentoring Platform

Participants in GLI's 2019 NextGen program.
Museum executives in the making: Participants in GLI's 2019 NextGen program.

The Getty Leadership Institute at Claremont Graduate University has been awarded a prestigious grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to fund “POLARIS: The Museum Mentor Network,” an innovative online mentoring platform for museum professionals.

POLARIS is one of 15 projects selected from a highly competitive pool of 70 applications in the IMLS “National Leadership Grants for Museums” program. The grant of $483,764 is among the top five largest amounts awarded in this category. This is a first-time award for the Getty Leadership Institute from IMLS. POLARIS will draw on the institute’s alumni network across the United States to develop its mentor base for the platform.

POLARIS invests in the talents of people who work in museums. Museums are specialized organizations, changing with the economy, and grappling with complex cultural issues,” explained Toni Guglielmo, the institute’s associate director. “Through the network, museum professionals can create new pathways for themselves by being mentored or mentoring others that can lead to personal and organizational growth.”

Among the robust offerings, POLARIS will provide active recruitment of mentors/mentees, mentor training modules, quarterly newsletters, leadership development resources, and year-end evaluations and action plans.

The grant award will enable the institute to invest even more in the talents of people who work in museums.

A premier feature, the annual program cycle allows emerging or mid-level staff to connect online with peer or senior-level executives for a year-long mentoring program. In the second and third years, the project will also include two in-person regional summits to explore best practices around inclusion, diversity, equity, and access, as well as new thought leadership around mentoring and professional development. Museum professionals can join POLARIS for free.

“The program will reach across the sector, promoting greater inclusivity, and offering new opportunities for ongoing professional development to those with limited resources,” said GLI Executive Director Melody Kanschat.

To implement POLARIS, GLI is partnering with the LeAD Labs at CGU and Graduway.The LeAD Labs will support development of the mentoring curriculum while Graduway, a leader in alumni networking platforms, will help develop the platform as well as the algorithms tailored for museum professionals.

Visit here to learn more about the grant and about the Getty Leadership Institute at CGU.

Read the full award announcement here