Meet the 51 Finalists for our spring 2021 FellowshipRead More

Fellowship Application

The application for the 2021 Fellowship is now closed. Sign up below to receive updates on future application cycles.

Application Resources

Materials to help you prepare

Download these guides to help you through your application.

Who we’re looking for

Social innovators are more than just their business plan. We’re looking for visionary leaders who are committed to upending structural oppression and creating change in their communities so that all people can thrive. We strongly encourage change-makers who identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of color to apply. Below are some criteria we use to evaluate your application.


  • Leadership Skills: You have the ability to drive ideas forward, build support for your vision, and lead an organization toward its goals.
  • Purpose Alignment: You can demonstrate a deep conviction and passion for the issue you are committed to addressing. You can also illustrate your dedication to solving the problem will not waiver even if your organization’s form shifts over time.
  • Relationship to and Expertise on the Issue: Social innovators who are closest to their communities possess the ideas and authenticity to affect the greatest change — your proximity is one of your most significant assets. You can showcase an understanding of root causes and your relationship with the community impacted by the issue you are addressing.


  • Innovation: Your organization seeks to bring about dramatic, not just incremental, change. You can communicate how your organization builds upon or makes improvements to an existing model or introduces an innovation into a new context.
  • Changing Systems: Social innovators know that big problems require audacious thinking, even when the solution is simple. You can define how your solution can directly impact many lives, shift a community’s trajectory, or change a system and structures.
  • Racial Equity: Racial equity is an end-state that requires ongoing actions to build a world where all people have equal opportunity and resources to thrive. Your organization centers racial equity in its work, repositions communities of color in relation to power and resources, and emphasizes transformative solutions that impact multiple systems. To achieve your mission you center the knowledge, visions, and prioritization of the leadership of people most impacted by structural racism.


Applications received


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

Applications Reviewed

Receive Feedback as You Advance

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

Finalists chosen


If you’re chosen as a Finalist, you’ll interview with expert panelists.

Fellows Notified


If you’re chosen as a Fellow, you’ll embark on your Fellow journey with guidance from us every step of the way.


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 full-time to your organization. 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 must be the primary decision-maker and have ultimate authority over the growth and strategic vision of your organization.
  • You do not need to be based in the United States or be an American citizen. Echoing Green does not sponsor American work permits for any foreign nationals.
  • You are welcome to reapply in future cycles if you do not receive a fellowship.
Organization Eligibility
  • The organization must be the original idea of the applicant, in its start-up phase, and independent and autonomous.
  • An organization can be structured as a nonprofit, for-profit, or hybrid.
  • An organization does not only have to be run by one individual, but only a single applicant is eligible to apply for an Echoing Green fellowship starting in 2021.
  • 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 organization 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.
  • No members of an organization’s founding team and no individuals in a leadership position at the organization can already have been awarded an Echoing Green Fellowship.
  • Tuition or scholarship funding, or research projects; lobbying or faith-based organizations; and existing organizations that have grown past their start-up phase are not eligible to apply.
Writing Your Application
Give yourself plenty of time

Our application is open for two weeks, 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

Echoing Green wants to know what your organization does and how, but, most importantly, we want to understand what inspired you to address your 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 and 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 your industry.

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.

Application Materials
  • Below is an outline of information you’ll be asked to provide in the Echoing Green Fellowship application:
    • General information about you
    • Information about your organization including but not limited to: general information, financial overview, and how you think about and categorize your work
    • Short answer questions about the problem you are trying to solve, the approach you are taking, and your proposed impact
    • Information about you and your leadership, which includes sharing some of your past experiences and short answer questions
    • A series of questions to learn more about how you think about your work and the organization you are building. This will include short answer questions and a collaborative analysis where you will be asked to identify other organizations similar to yours
    • You will be asked to upload a 60-second video answering the question “Why do you do what you do” while sharing your personality, energy, and passion.
Application Cycles & Timing
Application Cycles

Applicants who are selected for the Fellowship will be notified in August 2021. Our next application cycle will launch in fall 2021. Sign up to be notified about new application cycles.

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 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.
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 You will usually receive a response within two working days.