Fellowship Application

The application for the 2020 Fellowship is now closed.

APPLICATION RESOURCES

Prepare your application offline

Download this guide to start working on the questions now.

Who we’re looking for

If you have the ideas and vision to bring positive change to the world, we want to work with you. Don’t worry if your business plan or resume isn’t perfect. What matters is that you are committed to the problem you are solving and ready to make a big impact.

WHAT WE LOOK FOR IN APPLICANTS

  • Purpose & Passion: We want to understand why you care deeply about this issue and your community.
  • Resilience: Demonstrate how you foresee challenges, and avoid or bounce back from them.
  • Leadership: Can you lead this organization toward its goals? What unique skills and experiences will help you succeed?
  • Ability to Attract Resources: Show us that you can attract money, people and other resources to your cause.

WHAT WE LOOK FOR IN YOUR ORGANIZATION

  • Innovation: What about your approach is different from things that have been tried in the past?
  • Importance: Explain to us the problem you want to solve and why it matters now on a global, regional, or local scale.
  • Potential for Impact: We want to know if your project will directly impact many lives, or create systemic changes.
  • A Good Business Model: You do not have to have solved all the details of how your organization will run, but show us that you are considering this thoughtfully and realistically.

WHAT TO EXPECT

3000 applications received

SUBMIT DURING OPEN APPLICATIONS

Our application process is designed to be inclusive, constructive, and engaging; we offer extensive resources to help you while you build your application.

400 candidates selected

RECEIVE DETAILED FEEDBACK AS YOU ADVANCE

Our team of expert panelists closely reviews and scores each application. As you move forward, we’ll send you personalized feedback to help strengthen your idea, even if you aren’t selected for following rounds.

80 Finalists chosen

ATTEND INTERVIEWS AND WORKSHOPS IN NEW YORK CITY

If you’re chosen as a Finalist, you’ll be featured in our annual Social Entrepreneur Spotlight and flown to New York City for interviews, networking events, and workshops.

30 Fellows accepted

CELEBRATE AND BEGIN YOUR LEADERSHIP JOURNEY

If you’re chosen as a Fellow, you’ll embark on a two-year journey with guidance from us every step of the way. Fellows are introduced to our partners, donors, and friends at our annual benefit in New York City, and kickoff their Fellowship with a retreat.

APPLICATION DETAILS

Everything you need to know about rules and tips for applying to the Echoing Green Fellowship.

Eligibility Requirements
Applicant Eligibility
  • You must be over 18 years old, fluent in English, and able to commit a full 40-hour work week to your organization. The organization must be the original idea of the applicant(s), in its start-up phase (usually within the first two years of operation), and independent and autonomous.
  • If you are currently a full-time student or employee, you must agree to make your organization your full-time engagement if awarded a Fellowship.
  • You do not need to be based in the US or be an American citizen. The only limitation on work location is that if your project is based in the United States, then you must have American work authorization (i.e., citizenship, permanent residence status, or a work visa). Echoing Green does not sponsor American work permits for any foreign nationals.
  • You are welcome to reapply each year.
Organization Eligibility
  • An organization can be structured as a nonprofit, for-profit, or hybrid.
  • An organization does not only have to be run by one individual. Partners can apply for a Fellowship.
  • Organizations still in the idea phase are eligible. You do not need to establish 501(c)(3) status or register your organization before you apply.
  • The program must be independent and autonomous. It cannot be under the management of another organization. If you have a fiscal sponsor that provides support but does not control organization decisions, you are eligible.
  • Tuition or scholarship funding, or research projects; lobbying or faith-based organizations; and existing organizations which have grown past their start-up phase are not eligible to apply.
  • You are welcome to reapply each year.
Applying as Partners
  • An organization does not only have to be run by one individual. Partners can apply for a Fellowship. You will be asked additional questions in your application about your partnership.
  • Each individual within the partnership must meet all Applicant Eligibility requirements.
  • Only two founders may apply per organization. However, you do not need to change your leadership structure to suit Echoing Green. Even if only two founders can be Echoing Green Fellows, you can have as many people leading your organization as you see necessary.
  • We do not allow applicants to change their application type from individual to partnership during the application process. Nor can you swap out one partner for another during the application process or during the Fellowship period.
  • Partnerships must submit a joint application for their project. Applicants who choose to apply as part of a partnership must complete one application together. Partners who submit separate applications for the same project will be automatically disqualified from consideration.
Take the Eligibility Quiz

Not sure if you’re eligible to apply? We encourage you to use this quiz to find out.

Writing Your Application
Give yourself plenty of time

Don’t wait until the last day to start an application. The best answers are well-thought out, reflective, and concise. Build in time for several rounds of proofreading and review. Submitting your application before the due date gives you time to deal with any unforeseen technical issues.

Your application must be received before 2:00 PM (14:00) ET on the date of the application deadline.

Show why you are addressing the challenge

While Echoing Green wants to know what your organization does and how, we most importantly need to understand what inspired you to address this issue and why you are the right person for the job. Your application should demonstrate your personal connection to the community you will serve and the issue you’ll address.

Be as specific as possible

We know that you may not have all the answers right now – but many applications do not advance to the next stage of consideration because answers are vague and lack clarity. If you don’t have demonstrated results, that’s okay. Walk us through your thought process for what your goals might be and how you would measure them. For instance, don’t just write that you’re going to save the world – describe to us in detail how you plan to do it. Avoid vague generalizations in your responses. Instead, provide concrete examples, hypotheses, and statistics to establish a clear connection between the work you do and your goals and objectives.

Be straightforward – use plain language

While we need you to be descriptive, make sure you avoid the use of jargon when you write your responses. Assume they will be read by someone with limited knowledge of your field, the population you’re working with, or industry. 

Utilize all available resources

Read the Question by Question Guide to help you strengthen your responses. The help text provides clarification and offers suggestions on what you should and should not include in your response. Use the Worksheet to draft your answers offline; you can edit and refine your answers before submitting your application.

Ask for help

Get several people to proofread your application. Have a good editor read for mechanics (style, structure, spelling); have a content-area expert read for feasibility (logic and persuasion); and have someone who knows nothing about your idea read for coherence and clarity. After reviewing your answers, ask each person to pitch your idea back to you to see if your application is conveying your idea accurately.

Subject-Focused Fellowships and Program Areas
A Single Application

Our Fellowships are open to any social entrepreneur, from anywhere in the world, with an innovative solution for any issue.

If you are applying for the Black Male Achievement or Climate Fellowships, you do not need to submit separate applications. In our process, the majority of the application is the same for all Fellowship Programs. If you opt-in to consideration for the BMA or Climate Fellowships, you will receive additional questions pertaining to that Fellowship exclusively.

An applicant is not eligible for more than one Fellowship type in an application cycle. Our review process will determine which Fellowship seems the best fit for you and your organization, and if you qualify we will invite you to participate in the appropriate Final round.

The Black Male Achievement Fellowship

The BMA Fellowship is for social entrepreneurs creating solutions that support positive life outcomes for black men and boys in the United States. While your organization must focus on issues affecting black men and boys, the BMA Fellows are not required to be part of this population and will be chosen regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity. We do expect all applicants to be able to articulate clearly why they feel a deep and long-lasting commitment to making change in this particular community.

The Climate Fellowship

The Climate Fellowship is for social entrepreneurs interested in the full spectrum of mitigation and adaptation responses; this can be anything from a U.S.-based technological solution to a developing world-based community organizing solution. We expect that both your primary personal passion and the primary focus of your organization be on ways to address climate change. As long as you are able to demonstrate this passion and focus, it is acceptable to have other impact areas.

Program areas

On the Fellowship application you will be asked to select the program area category that best describes your organization. This will not affect your application or your potential Fellowship experience. This question helps in our internal review process, and is used in aggregate as a data point that allows us to see trends over time.

Review the examples below to help you determine which best fits your organization. The examples under each category are not exclusive or exhaustive, but are meant to give you a general idea of which category your organization fits into.

Arts & Culture

  • Media and Performing Arts
  • Preservation

Civil & Human Rights

  • Access to Legal Service
  • Humanitarian Relief
  • Legal Advocacy
  • Peacebuilding

Education

  • Programs/Services
  • Reform/Advocacy
  • Tools/Software
  • Mentorship/Leadership

Environment

  • Clean Tech/Alternative Energy
  • Green Building
  • Green Jobs
  • Protection/Conservation

Food & Agriculture

  • Agriculture
  • Food Systems
  • Nutrition

Health & Healthcare

  • Access/Health Service Delivery
  • Prevention/Treatment

Poverty Alleviation & Economic Development

  • Access to Capital
  • Employment/Job Training
  • Entrepreneurship

Public Service & Civic Engagement

  • Citizen Advocacy
  • Volunteerism
Supplemental Materials
When to submit supplemental materials

Echoing Green will invite you to submit supplemental materials if your application successfully advances to the next round of review.

Any extraneous materials submitted with your initial application will be discarded immediately and not reviewed.

Tailor your resume

Only submit these materials if your application has advanced to further rounds of review, and they have been requested by Echoing Green.

Make sure your resume or CV is relevant. The content of your resume should demonstrate your path to becoming the leader of this organization. Echoing Green does not expect applicants to have started an organization previously nor do we require they have any formal education in their program area. However, we do seek applicants who have demonstrated their interest, passion, and leadership abilities through their previous work as well as their academic and volunteer experience. Include relevant skills and experiences that demonstrate your qualifications.

Your best references

Only submit these materials if your application has advanced to further rounds of review, and they have been requested by Echoing Green.

Please keep in mind that letters of reference should come from people who can speak to your professional abilities. Individuals should submit provides two references and partners should submit three. Partners need a recommendation that speaks to each individual within the partnership and a third recommendation, which speaks to the relationship between partners. You must request all letters of reference through the online application portal.

Know your field

Only submit these materials if your application has advanced to further rounds of review, and they have been requested by Echoing Green.

A competitive analysis should demonstrate how well you understand the landscape that you are working in. Please choose organizations that are not only similar in organizational size or geographic area, but also similar in mission and type of constituents. A strong competitive analysis identifies organizations whose work is most similar to yours and then can clearly articulate what sets you apart.

We encourage you to look through the Echoing Green website and see if you can also include how you are different to any Echoing Green Fellows working on the same or similar problem. Choose the best 2-5 organizations that are most similar to yours, and tell us about your similarities and differences.

Include a video pitch

Only submit these materials if your application has advanced to further rounds of review, and they have been requested by Echoing Green.

A compelling video pitch is an opportunity to give us a sense of your personality, energy, and passion for this work in a different format. We strongly encourage you to share a video file of you telling us about your organization. Alternatively, you may upload an audio or written pitch.

Submission Policies
Policies for all applicants
  • Submit your final application using Echoing Green’s application website. Do not mail, fax, or email your application – Echoing Green will not accept it if it is not submitted through the application website. No exceptions! 
  • Any extraneous materials submitted will be discarded immediately and not reviewed. We will not accept or review any other documents (e.g., letters of inquiry, business plans) in lieu of the online application.
  • Your application must be received before 2:00 PM (14:00) ET on the date of the deadline. Without exception, if Echoing Green receives your application after this deadline, regardless of technical difficulty, your submission will not be considered for the Fellowship application cycle.
  • Applications cannot be revised once they have been submitted. Once you submit on Echoing Green’s application website, no changes can be made, even if time remains before the final deadline.
  • You may only submit one application. Any applicant(s) who submits multiple applications for the same project or single applications for different projects in the same application cycle will be automatically disqualified from consideration.
  • Partnerships must submit a joint application for their project. Applicants who choose to apply as part of a partnership must complete one application together. Partners who submit separate applications for the same project will be automatically disqualified from consideration.
Additional questions

Echoing Green has a small staff. Annually, we receive over 3,000 applications for our Fellowship programs. We cannot grant personal interviews to any applicant, either over the phone or in person. Please do not contact our office requesting an appointment for a personal interview.

If you have questions about the application process that are not answered above, you may email us at fellowship@echoinggreen.org. You will usually receive a response within two working days.