Seeking the World’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs

 

PROGRAM UPDATES

Whether you plan to submit an application or are simply interested in our process, subscribe here for information about the Fellowships, 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 cycle.

Program Components

During their first two years, Fellows receive up to $90,000, participate in leadership development gatherings, and will access the powerful network of Echoing Green Fellows, partners, and friends. Echoing Green’s Barclays Brain Trust Series, sponsored in part by Barclays, is a program of roundtable and mentorship opportunities for Fellows with leading professionals working in marketing, fundraising, business development, and technology. We continue to support our Fellow community long after their initial funding period with ongoing programs and opportunities at critical inflection points in their organizations or careers.

The Fellowships are awarded annually to individuals or partners who receive:

  • A stipend of $80,000 for individuals (or $90,000 for two-person partnerships) paid in four equal installments over two years
  • A health insurance stipend
  • A yearly professional development stipend
  • Leadership development and networking gatherings
  • Access to technical expertise and pro bono partnerships to help grow their organization, a dedicated Echoing Green portfolio manager, and support from Echoing Green chaplains
  • A community of like-minded social entrepreneurs, public service leaders, and industry leaders including the Echoing Green network of nearly 700 Fellows working in over sixty countries all over the world.
  • For more detailed information, review our Fellowship contracts for individuals and partnerships.

Sample Application

We recommend working on applications offline first, where you can spend the time you need when you have it, and get feedback from your supporters. Download sample 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. These guides are based on our 2016 Application, and are likely to change.

 

Key Dates (tbd)

  • Application Open: September 2016
  • Application Closed: October 2016
  • Finalists announced and interviewed in New York City: April 2017
  • Fellows announced: June 2017

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.

Eligibility

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. Types of organizations that 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 fellowship@echoinggreen.org.