14 Social Innovation Fellowships You Need to Know
(Original article / crossposted from: Ashoka U. July 25, 2016)
If you are looking through your five year telescope and feeling uninspired by what is lying ahead, you are not alone. Many people are looking for a meaningful career “spark”!
In the social impact space, fellowships are a great way to fuel that spark and build theskills crucial for high impact changemakering careers. Whether you are a recent graduate, a leader of a functioning social venture or a professional looking for a complete career shift, there is a fellowship out there for you.
Check out our list of 14 social impact fellowship opportunities that vary in format, length, requirements, benefits, and social causes to help kick start your search. PLEASE NOTE: Majority of the application deadlines in this article are oriented for the 2017 application cycle. Please consult websites to confirm.
Application Deadline: November 1
Focus: Poverty, Systems Change
Description: The Acumen Global Fellows program is a twelve-month fellowship best suited for those who are passionate about solving the world’s most pressing poverty problems. The program seeks individuals who already have experience in their career and who approach their work with a systems change mindset. The program consists of an eight-week training program, a nine-month social enterprise placement, and closing debrief.
Applicant Criteria: Available to those with four to seven years of work experience
Application Deadline: Rolling Application
Focus: Civic Engagement, Economic Development, Environment, Health, Human Rights, and Learning/Education.
Description: The Ashoka Fellowship begins with a rigorous nomination process that only accepts those who fulfill the five criteria. This enduring selection process challenges Changemakers to scrutinize their own work and develop personally and organizationally. Once accepted, fellows have access to the expansive Ashoka Fellows network and targeted funding support for life.
Application Deadline: TBD (early Spring 2017)
Focus: Leadership Development, Social Justice, Racial Justice, Baltimore’s Social Impact Sector
Description: The Baltimore Corps Fellowship connects talented professionals to the most innovative and groundbreaking work in Baltimore City. While working with their organization over a period of one year, Fellows will benefit from professional development and programming that focuses on equity and social justice. This Fellowship will build your network, your skill-sets, and your personal growth.
Applicant Criteria: Available to early career professionals
Application Deadline: October 2016
Focus: Social Innovation, Economic Development, Education, Environmental Sustainability, Health, Justice and Human Rights, Hunger and Poverty Alleviation, Racial and Gender Equality
Description: The Echoing Green Fellowship is a two year program in which fellows are given guidance, mentorship, and professional consulting in order to propel their organization to success. Echoing Green fellows reject the status quo by innovating the world around them in order to create positive social change.
Applicant Criteria: Available to those with established organizations
Application Deadline: March 6
Focus: Higher Ed
Description: The Fellowship in University Innovation is specifically for individuals interested in transforming the role of higher education. As part of the University Innovation fellowship, individuals spend thirteen-months working within the university. During this time, fellows develop the hard and soft skills integral to re-defining higher ed, including research, grant-writing, collaboration, team organization and leadership. Fellows are paid a competitive salary. This Fellowship was inducted into the Ashoka U –Cordes Innovation Hall of Fame in 2015.
6) Global Good Fund & Diana Davis Spencer Foundation Leadership Development Program Benefitting Adults (aged 50+) in the United States
Application Deadline: Part 1: September 30
Focus: Social Entrepreneurship
Description: The Global Good Fund & Diana Davis Spencer Foundation Fellowship supports entrepreneurs creating jobs for the 50+ population. The selected entrepreneurs are paired with executives who serve as coaches and are provided with leadership assessment resources, a network of peer leaders, content expertise, and targeted financial capital. The Fellowship duration is fifteen months.
Applicant Criteria: Available to those leading a business in the U.S. that will create jobs for people over 50 years old who are underemployed or unemployed
Application Deadline: Part 1: June 1 (Applications for 2017 closed)
Focus: Social Entrepreneurship
Description: The Global Good Fund Fellowship pairs young social entrepreneurs with executives who serve as coaches and are provided with leadership assessment resources, a network of peer leaders, content expertise, and targeted financial capital to support leadership development. The Fellowship duration is fifteen months.
Applicant Criteria: Available to those Under 40 years of age with a 1+ year old startup that has one employee other than the applicant
Application Deadline: Early February 2017
Focus: Health, Social Justice
Description: Throughout a yearlong fellowship, GHC Fellows work to solve the world’s most pressing health problems. They live in Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, the United States, and Zambia developing their leadership skills and working with communities to make an impact every day. The fellows are provided with a stipend, housing, health insurance, professional development grant, and travel coverage. Learn more from GHC’s publication, AMPLIFY.
Applicant Criteria: Available to those 30 years or younger, proficient in English, with an undergraduate degree
Application Deadline: January 1, 2017
Focus: Social Entrepreneurship, Climate Change Mitigation, Climate Adaptation
Description: The Wild Gift Fellowship is focused on kindling the wild spirit and raw energy it takes to be a social entrepreneur. The fellowship begins with a three-week wilderness expedition to unplug and re-center. Then they enter into a sixteen-month program where they are given support and guidance to jump start their own social venture with help from their own mentor and the Wild Gift network at large. They also receive $10,000 in seed money.
Applicant Criteria: Available to ages 21-35
Application Deadline: October 1
Focus: Social Intrapreneurship
Description: The IDEX fellowship is a six-month immersive experience in the social enterprise/development world where aspiring social intrapreneurs get selected from across the globe. Fellows get placed with a social enterprise in their sector of interest (such as education, healthcare, impact investing, gender, etc.) and get an opportunity to build their skills, networks and a professional portfolio through an intensive curriculum and a strong element of peer engagement. The fellows are placed mostly in Bangalore, India. Each year IDEX runs two fellowship cycles of six months each: January-June and July-December.
11) Kiva Fellowship
Application Deadline: TBD – See Kiva’s website
Focus: Microfinance, Social Impact
Description: Kiva Fellows serve as Kiva’s eyes and ears on the ground, helping extend limited resources to maximize impact. Fellows have a unique opportunity to witness the realities of microfinance firsthand by working directly with Kiva’s international field partners in over 80 countries. The fellowship is designed to increase Kiva’s global impact.
Application Deadline: January 20
Focus: Human Rights and Democratic Institutions, Shared Society and Combating Racism, Social and Economic Justice, Religious Freedoms
Description: The New Israel Fund (NIF) Social Justice Fellowship is a one-of-a kind post-graduate experience. Over the course of ten-months, fellows spend four days a week on the front lines of social change in Israel at a premiere Israeli non-governmental social change organization. Fellows can elect to work with Shatil, the action arm of the NIF, or another NIF partner.
Application Deadline: Round 1: January 15
Focus: Social Innovation
Description: The ProInspire Fellowship places professionals in existing nonprofits and social enterprises in the Washington DC area and the San Francisco area. The fellows lend their expertise to their respective organization for a twelve-month period. In return, they are given a generous salary, health benefits, a professional development course, a mentor, and access to the ProInspire network.
Applicant Criteria: Available to professionals with 2-5 years of experience
Application Deadline: February 2017
Focus: Startups, Community Building
Description: Venture for America is a nonprofit fellowship program empowering recent college graduates to launch their careers as entrepreneurs and revitalize American cities. After five weeks of training, VFA Fellows spend two years working for a startup in a U.S. city with an emerging startup ecosystem. Throughout the fellowship, they learn how to contribute to a high-growth business and gain access to mentorship, ongoing training, and the nationwide VFA community. When Fellows and alumni are ready to build companies of their own, VFA provides the resources they need to become entrepreneurs.
Applicant Criteria: Available to recent college graduates
For more information about fellowships, including application tips and other opportunities, check out this PCDN resource, and the rest of their website.