Prize Application Deadline: 3 days
Application Deadline 298 days 18 hours 14 minutes

A Call to Action, A Way Forward

Launched in 2016, the Roddenberry Fellowship is a $1mil investment in the activists, community leaders, and organizers leading the efforts for a more just and equitable country.

Learn More

The Roddenberry Fellowship

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.

Issue Areas

Civil Rights

African-Americans are imprisoned at more than five times the rate of white Americans. Black women are three to four times more likely to die during pregnancy or due to delivery complications than white women. Latinas earn roughly 54 cents for every dollar earned by a non-Latino man.

These are a few examples of the bias and institutional racism that hamper our public schools, criminal justice system, places of work, political structures, and financial systems. Coupled with more overt displays of racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism across the country, there are a host of systemic and current issues that we must continue to find ways to overcome.

Prospective Fellows applying in the Civil Rights issue area will work to protect and advance the civil rights of minorities and people of color, including but certainly not limited to:

  • Supporting equality in education, healthcare, housing, voting, and social services
  • Fighting for fair and equal policing
  • Ending mass incarceration
  • Leveraging litigation and the court systems to protect civil rights
  • Supporting voting rights and mitigating voter suppression
  • Dismantling or weakening alt-right, anti-black, and racist groups

Environmental Protection

The threat to our natural resources has continued unabated over the past eighteen months. Deregulation and rollbacks have benefited the fossil-fuel industry and corporate interests ahead of environmental impact and those most affected by polluted environments. City, state, and federal climate rules, policies, programs, and offices are disappearing or being weakened across the US while attempts to discredit the scientific consensus on climate change remains an important part of these efforts.

Prospective Fellows applying in the Environmental Protection issue area will work to raise awareness and develop strategies that lead to increased sustainability and environmental resilience, including but certainly not limited to:

  • Holding politicians and decision-makers accountable for environmental policies
  • Tackling environmental health/exposure
  • Addressing unfair land use, urban sprawl, and zoning
  • Fighting against corporate environmental damage
  • Supporting access to clean water, air, and land
  • Promoting science-based research, data collection, and reporting

Immigration & Refugee Rights

More than six million Latino children live in poverty, the majority of whom were born to immigrant parents. Exploitation and discrimination, long detentions, the separation of families, and human trafficking are features of an immigration system driven by political interests and racial biases. We need to secure the rights of newcomers to the US so that they have full opportunities to integrate into our communities and lead prosperous and productive lives.

Prospective Fellows applying in the Immigrant & Refugee Rights issue area will work to champion the rights of DACA recipients, immigrants, and refugees to increase their possibility for success and wellbeing, including but certainly not limited to:

  • Supporting services, programs, and the rights of DACA recipients
  • Fighting for state and federal accountability to protect the rights of immigrants and refugees
  • Ensuring equitable access to education, healthcare, housing, and other basic services
  • Protecting migrant workers from abuse
  • Aiding refugee resettlement
  • Defending deportation and providing related legal services

LGBTQIA & Women’s Rights

In the last few years, gender rights have taken a significant step forward: Over 3 million women and girls in the US gathered and marched for their rights. The #metoo movement exposed sexual violence and assault across all strata of society and forced a long overdue public reckoning. And in 2018, the most racially diverse and most female group of representatives was ever elected to the House of Representatives.

Given all that transpired, this is the year we sustain the current momentum and build on these successes. Now is the time we increase the numbers of LGBTQIA and female candidates, particularly people of color, in politics, boardrooms, STEM fields, and high-tech.. It’s the year to narrow the wage gap, fight workplace discrimination, ensure equal rights for women, and the LGBTQIA community at all levels of society.

Prospective fellows applying in the LGBTQIA & Women’s Rights issue area will work to defend the rights of women and LGBTQIA individuals to secure their health and wellbeing, including but certainly not limited to:

  • Supporting more women in leadership positions, including the election of women to higher office
  • Fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Supporting LGBTQIA individuals in health care, jobs, military, housing, and family rights
  • Ensuring LGBTQIA students can attend school without fear of bullying and harassment
  • Gaining better maternal and infant health care, parental leave, and child care
  • Fighting for “equal pay for equal work”
  • Preventing and supporting victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and sexual harassment

Timeline and Applications

Fellowship Launch

May 8, 2019

Between May 8 and June 13, 2019, you are invited to learn about the Fellowship, register, and apply.

Round One Deadline

June 13, 2019

Complete registration and submit your application no later than Thursday, June 13, at 5:00 PM Pacific.

Round One Review

June 17–July 25, 2019

The Roddenberry Foundation 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

July 29, 2019

Round Two applicants will have three weeks to submit their Round Two application.

Round Two Deadline

August 23, 2019

All Round Two applications are due by Friday, August 23, at 5:00 PM Pacific.

Round Two Evaluation

August 23–October 9, 2019

The Roddenberry Foundation team and a panel of judges evaluates applications using the scoring criteria and finalizes the 2020 cohort.

Fellows Announcement

October 2019

The 2020 Fellows will be announced on this website, The Roddenberry Foundation website, social media, and via press release.

Evaluation and Criteria

Fellowship Criteria

While there are many ways to effect change, we are looking for individuals who have experience in and an ability to:

  1. Develop a well-thought out plan with clear goals, specific metrics, and measurable impact
  2. Innovate on existing models for change
  3. Inspire by articulating an alternative future that is more just and fair
  4. Offer ways for the community members to engage in and participate in their work
  5. Understand and engage with the communities they work on behalf of
  6. Address a recognized issue that affects a significant percentage of people
  7. Offer an audacious vision and a sustainable strategy for driving change

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

Learn More


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

  • United States citizens, permanent residents, DACA recipients, or current visa holders who reside in the 50 United States or its territories.
  • Individuals who are the principal of their initiatives or organizations, including Founder, Co-Founder, President, CEO, or Executive Director.
  • Individuals who are 18 years of age or older.
  • Individuals employed by or affiliated with organizations or institutions with a budget of $2mil or less.
  • Individuals whose primary focus of their work is either immigrant & refugee rights, civil rights, LGBTQIA+ & women’s rights, or environmental protection.
  • Individuals who are based in and whose work is focused solely on communities in the United States.
  • Individuals who can devote 100% of their time in 2020 to their project or initiative.

Meet Our Current Fellows

The 2020 Roddenberry Fellowship cohort is comprised of extraordinary activists, leaders, and disruptors who are responding with urgency and creativity to structural inequities and a climate of increasing enmity and blame.

Crystal Huang
People Power Solar Cooperative
Art Reyes III
We The People - Michigan
Lorenzo P. Lewis
The Confess Project
Rachel Johnson-Farias
Esq. Apprentice
Samuel Sinyangwe
Police Scorecard
Conchita Cruz
Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP)
Meg Jamison
Southeast Sustainability Directors Network
Andy Marra
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund

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, or current visa holder who resides in the 50 United States and 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: June 13, 2019, 5:00 PM Pacific
  • Invitation to Round Two Application: July 26, 2019
  • Round Two Application Deadline: August 23, 2019, 5:00 PM Pacific
  • Announcement of Fellows: October 2019
  • Fellowship Duration: January 1 - December 31, 2020

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.

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 2018 to 2019?

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

If I applied last year, 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 last year.

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 with my co-founder?

While we recognize that this work is collaborative, the Fellowship is designed to support individual activist 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 $2mil budget cap?

We created a $2mil organizational budget cap to help us find leaders of early-stage ideas, new projects, or long-standing but small 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.

Want to stay up to date?

The Roddenberry Fellowship

We are thrilled to announce the 2020 Roddenberry Fellows! This year’s cohort is comprised of 17 remarkable activists creatively fighting and lighting the way towards greater equity and justice.

If you'd like to receive updates on the Fellowship and get notifications of the 2021 application launch, sign up here:

Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.