Seeking the World’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs

The 2016 Echoing Green Fellowship Application is now closed. Continue below for more information on our selection process.




Whether you've submitted your application or simply interested in our process, subscribe here for information about the Fellowships and selection cycle, and other resources for aspiring entrepreneurs.


This list is only contacted during our fall application season. You will have the opportunity to opt-out before each next cycle.



Application Help

We recommend working on your application offline first, where it is easier to save your work and get feedback from your supporters. Download the short answer questions in this editable worksheet, as well as our help guide—a valuable resource for understanding each question, and help preparing your strongest pitch.


Key Dates


  • Application Opened: Monday, October 5, 2015
  • Application Closed: Tuesday, November 17, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. (14:00) ET
  • Finalist Interviews in New York City: May 2016*
  • 2016 Fellows announced: June 2016*

*Specific dates TBA


Selection Criteria 

Successful applicants not only present an innovative way of addressing social issues, but also explain why they as individuals have what it takes to succeed. Echoing Green is not a grant-making organization. We are a fellowship program because we believe in the importance of the individual social entrepreneur as well as his/her project.  As such, we look at both the applicant and the applicant’s idea.

Applicant Criteria

  • Purpose / Passion
    Show us that you care deeply about this issue or community and help us understand why. What experiences have compelled you to apply?  Show us how your work excites you and keeps you motivated every day.
  • Resilience
    Social entrepreneurship is tough; you will inevitably face obstacles along the way.  Demonstrate that you have bounced back or have the capacity to do so, as well as the ability to foresee any challenges.
  • Leadership
    You are the CEO of something big and important. Show us that you can lead this organization toward its goals. What unique skills and experiences do you have that will help you succeed?  Show us how you are constantly learning, reinventing, and exploring new things.  Highlight your achievements in the field, as well as your experience in the geographic region.
  • Ability to Attract Resources
    Show us that you can attract money, people, and other resources to your cause. What resources have you attracted to your cause in the past? Demonstrate to us that others are confident in your ability to make lasting change. This does not mean that you need to be the person on stage at a 10,000 person rally.  Some leaders are more unassuming and still able to get others to care about their cause and take action.

Organization Criteria

  • Innovation
    We are looking for ideas that have never been tried before. Explain to us how your approach is different from things that have been tried in the past.
  • Importance
    To be interested in your solution, Echoing Green must first understand why the issue your project will tackle is imperative. Explain to us the problem you want to solve and why it matters.  On a global scale, why is this issue important?
  • Potential for Big, Bold Impact
    Show us how your project will directly impact many lives or change a big system. Or, will your solution set an important example that it will have bold impact indirectly? Some models are so innovative and influential that they change big systems by being replicated by others. Explain to us what sets your organization apart and why you believe it is influential enough to be replicated.
  • A Good Business Model
    Great ideas fall flat without a solid plan. Your start-up plan – budget, timeline, staffing – should be well thought-out.  Be clear and concise in relating the details of how your organization will run. You do not have to have solved everything. We just want to see that you are considering these questions thoughtfully and realistically.

A note about innovation: Innovation is an important element of the Echoing Green Fellowship. What does Echoing Green mean by innovation?

  • An innovative idea is novel, it’s often untried, and it challenges the assumptions made by previous organizations working in the field.
  • Innovative ideas can build upon or make improvements to an existing model, or they can create their own unique solutions which have never been tried before.
  • Organizations utilizing a pre-existing model would benefit from elements of innovation. For example, bringing a traditional model to new locations, communities, or organizations which they have not been historically related to.
  • Innovative ideas bring about dramatic change, not just incremental change. Tell us how your approach will lead to increased change over other models or ideas.




In order to be eligible for an Echoing Green Fellowship, the applicant must be:
  • Over 18 years old
  • Fluent in English
  • Able to commit a full 35 hour work week to their organization.
In order to be eligible for an Echoing Green Fellowship, the organization must be:
  • The original idea of the applicant(s)
  • In its start-up phase, usually within the first two years of operation
  • Independent and autonomous
There are often some misconceptions about what types of organizations are eligible for the Echoing Green Fellowship. Here is some clarification about organizations that are eligible:
  • An organization can be either a non-profit, a for-profit, or hybrid.
  • An organization does not only have to be run by one individual. Partnerships can apply for a Fellowship
  • Organizations still in the idea phase are eligible
There are some programs we will not fund. The following types of organizations are not eligible to apply:
  • Students, scholarships, or research projects
  • Lobbying or faith-based organizations
  • Existing organizations which have grown past their start-up phase


Please note that we do not accept any phone inquiries regarding the Fellowship application. For questions not addressed on our FAQ page, please email