Application Deadline 957 days 14 hours 12 minutes

A Call to Action,
A Way Forward

Launched in 2016, the Roddenberry Fellowship is a U.S.-based fellowship awarded to extraordinary leaders and advocates who use new and innovative strategies to safeguard human rights and ensure an equal and just society for all.

The Roddenberry Fellowship is a 12-month program that offers Fellows $50,000 to take an existing initiative (e.g. campaign, organization) to the next level and amplify its impact OR to launch a new initiative.

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A New Reality

COVID-19 has and will continue to severely exacerbate existing and long-standing social inequities in marginalized and underserved communities. Individuals and families already experiencing housing instability, unemployment, limited health care access, and food insecurity will undoubtedly feel the pain more than others. For these communities, COVID-19 will amplify and compound economic, health, and racial inequities and reveal in stark and terrible terms the consequences of the historic disparities in which we live.

This year, in addition to seeking to support efforts that will mitigate and alleviate the new realities for these communities, we are also introducing a new issue area – Health + Wellness – to identify solutions that address health inequities in underserved communities, such as access to basic care, affordable treatment, and mental health services.

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Issue Areas

Up to 20 applicants working in one of five issue areas will be selected as 2022 Fellows:

Timeline and Applications

The period to apply to the 2022 Roddenberry Fellowship is now closed.

Fellowship Launch

April 12, 2021

Between April 12 and May 7, you are invited to learn about the Fellowship and complete the Round One application.

Round One Deadline

May 7, 2021

Complete registration and submit your application by 5:00 PM Pacific.

Round One Review

May 10–June 25, 2021

The Roddenberry Foundation team reviews submissions to ensure they comply with Fellowship eligibility and rules, and a panel of vetters evaluates applications using the scoring rubric.

Round Two Opens

June 28, 2021

A select number of applications will be invited to submit an application for Round Two of the Fellowship. Only those who are invited to Round Two will remain in consideration for the 2022 Fellowship.

Round Two Deadline

July 23, 2021

Round Two applicants will have four weeks to submit their Round Two application. All Round Two applications are due by Friday, July 23, at 5:00 PM Pacific.

Round Two Evaluation

July 26–September 3, 2021

The Roddenberry Foundation team a panel of judges evaluates applications using the scoring criteria and finalizes the 2022 cohort.

Fellows Announcement

October 2021

The 2022 Fellows will be announced on this website, The Roddenberry Foundation website, social media, and via press release.

Fellowship Begins

January 2022

The 2022 Fellowship will officially begin in January 2022 with a cohort-wide call to kick things off.

Evaluation and Criteria

Fellowship Criteria

Roddenberry Fellows push boundaries, seek new ways of approaching systemic problems, and leverage specific opportunities in unconventional ways. They know how to shape public discourse, inspire action, and challenge the status quo. As importantly, Fellows offer a bold vision for the future and inspire others through their work.

More specifically, the selection process will take into consideration the following key criteria: commitment, impact, eco-system, and vision.

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The Roddenberry Foundation welcomes Fellowship applications from individuals who meet all of the following:

  1. United States citizens, permanent residents, DACA recipients, individuals with a valid grant of employment authorization or immigration status, or current visa holders who reside in the 50 United States or its territories.
  2. Individuals who are the principal of their initiatives or organizations, including Founder, Co-Founder, President, CEO, or Executive Director.
  3. Individuals who are 18 years of age or older.
  4. Individuals employed by or affiliated with organizations or institutions with a budget of $2M or less.
  5. Individuals whose primary focus of their work is: immigrant and refugee rights, civil rights, LGBTQIA+ and women’s rights, environmental protection, or health and wellness.

Meet Our Fellows

Roddenberry Fellows are an extraordinary group of activists, leaders, and disruptors who are responding with urgency and creativity to structural inequities and a climate of increasing enmity and blame.

Anza Becnel
Growing Real Alternatives Everywhere (GRAE), Warrant Clinic
Ariam Ford
Gaining Ground Vacant Land Justice initiative
Ariel Koren
Respond Crisis Translation
Armin Salek
Youth Justice Alliance
Asha Owens
BestFit, Inc.
Elise Schuster
Gabriella Wong
Jaime-Jin Lewis
Wiggle Room

Questions & Answers

What initiatives or individuals are eligible to apply?

Anyone over the age of 18 who is a United States citizen, permanent resident, DACA recipient, individual with a valid grant of employment authorization or immigration status, or current visa holder who resides in the 50 United States or its territories is eligible to apply. All proposals must be for charitable, educational, or scientific purposes and may not be for political or legislative purposes. 501c4 organizations are not eligible, but if you have a 501c3 arm of the organization, we can fund you as long as your work is legally separate from the 501c4 and the grant is earmarked as such. Please see our Rules for more information.

What are key dates?

Here are important dates to keep in mind and please review the timeline for more details.

  • Round One Application Deadline: May 7, 2021, 5:00 PM Pacific
  • Invitation to Round Two Application: June 28, 2021
  • Round Two Application Deadline: July 23, 2021, 5:00 PM Pacific
  • Announcement of Fellows: October 2021
  • Fellowship Duration: January 1 - December 31, 2022

How must the $50K be used by the Fellows?

Fellowship funds will be awarded as grants to achieve impact described in the application, including but not limited to salaries, project development, and technology. Funding received from The Roddenberry Foundation must be used for the project’s purposes and to ensure success. Please see our sample agreement for more information.

Do initiatives need to be incorporated as a 501c3?

No, 501c3 status is not a requirement and we accept applications from individuals who are affiliated with movements, institutions, networks, or loosely structured organizations. However, The Roddenberry Foundation does not fund 501c4 organizations. Please see our Rules for more information.

Are you looking for only new organizations?

No, definitely not. Whether you’ve been doing this work for one year or a decade is less relevant than how you approach the issues, your vision for change, track record, and the impact you’ve made.

How has the Fellowship changed from 2020 to 2021?

The core of the Fellowship is unchanged. We are still focusing on five key issue areas – Civil Rights, Immigration & Refugee Rights, LGBTQIA and Women’s Rights, Environmental Protection, and Health & Wellness – and the duration, benefits, and award are the same. We have made changes to the applications and adjusted the criteria for the Fellowship to refine the process by which Fellows are selected.

If I applied previously, can I apply again this year?

Yes, absolutely. There’s actually a question on the application where you can tell us how your ideas and initiative have evolved since you last applied.

Will applicant information be kept private?

All information submitted in applications and supplemental materials is confidential and will be used solely by the Foundation for judging and selection. Please see our Privacy Policy for detailed information on how submitted information will be used.

Can I apply as a team or w/my co-founder?

While we recognize that this work is collaborative, the Fellowship is designed to support individual activists and organizers. We know you work with other amazing people and that social change is a collective endeavor, but you must apply as an individual.

Why is there a $2M budget cap?

We created a $2M organizational budget cap to help us find leaders of early-stage ideas, new projects, or long-standing but smaller organizations. We are interested in individuals and organizations that are on the cusp of growth rather than larger, more established organizations that generally have more access to resources.

What are you looking for?

Generally speaking, we are interested in ambitious, creative initiatives likely to affect a significant portion of a target population, geography, or community. Hyper-local initiatives or those small in scope are great but not aligned with our Fellowship goals. You also don’t need to be well-known or have 50K twitter followers – we want individuals with a track record of success, a bold vision for the future, and initiatives with potential for large-scale change.

Can I get feedback on last year’s application? Can I reapply with pieces of last year’s application?

Unfortunately, due to the volume of applications we receive, we are not able to provide individual feedback on applications. Our program is competitive. Oftentimes, this means that even strong applicants are turned away.

Because we know the kind of investment required for these proposals, we do our best to make sure that re-application is as easy as possible. Please contact us if you need access to your previous application from 2020.

Can you explain your funding limitations, as it pertains to advocacy and lobbying?

The laws around what private foundations can fund regarding advocacy and lobbying are complicated. One of the core regulations though is that private foundations cannot earmark funds for lobbying. While Roddenberry Fellowship grants are general operating, the fellowship application explicitly asks what the grant will be used for. So if lobbying is a core part of a fellowship application, and that application is awarded a fellowship, that could be seen as the foundation earmarking funds for lobbying. To that - we strongly discourage applications that are primarily focused on lobbying. If you want more information on what exactly is advocacy or lobbying, the regulations around funding either, or how to get for grants from private foundations if you engage any sort of advocacy work, this is a great place to start: https://bolderadvocacy.org/resource/foundation-advocacy-grants-what-grantees-need-to-know/

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