The Forward Promise Fellowship for Leaders

About the Fellowship

The Forward Promise Fellowship for Leaders is an 18-month, intergenerational experience that will bring together both emerging and elder (experienced) leaders who have a vision of healing for boys and young men of color (BYMOC) and their communities. The Fellowship has a unique focus on the creation of an intergenerational cohort of youth-engaged community leaders whose visions align with our “Heal, Grow, Thrive” model, with a commitment to the use of culturally responsive healing practices. Forward Promise defines healing as recovery from trauma (all forms), growing as protection and help-seeking while facing health risks, and thriving as maintenance of healthy decision-making across the lifespan.

The Fellowship builds upon the RWJF Leadership for Better Health programs that are working to develop strong, interdisciplinary networks of leaders from every sector who have a shared vision of what shapes health — and a desire to work together.

Why Leadership

The influence of leaders can span in multiple directions to impact individuals, families, organizations and systems. Forward Promise recognizes the need to support and uplift leaders who are often pushing forward against tremendous resistance on many sides, and with far too few resources. Visionary leaders striving to improve the lives of boys and young men of color and their communities often feel isolated in their journey. Leaders need safe spaces to reflect, share ideas and improve their effectiveness. As a result of the Fellowship experience, leaders will be better equipped to work across generations in their communities, to effectively incorporate culturally responsive, healing-centered practices into their vision for healing, and to expand their national support network with like-minded leaders in their Fellowship cohort.

Who Should Apply

Forward Promise is seeking leaders who are working in their local with the following characteristics:

A vision and practice of healing – We are looking for Fellows who are working in their local communities to create a vision for, and incorporate, the practice of healing. Fellows will be able to show how they use their institution, influence, program, skills, art, or other levers to help boys and young men of color in their communities to heal, grow, and thrive. Forward Promise defines healing as recovery from trauma, growing as protection and help-seeking while facing health risks, and thriving as maintenance of healthy decision-making across the lifespan.

Gender – Forward Promise encourages individuals of all genders and gender identities who are working on behalf of the health and well-being of boys and young men of color in their local communities to apply.

Race or Ethnicity – Individuals of all racial and ethnic identities who are working to provide opportunities for BYMOC and their communities to develop culturally responsive healing practices and programs are invited to apply.

Age – Candidates 18 years of age and older are invited to apply. Forward Promise seeks to have an intergenerational cohort representing a broad range of experience, comprised of both emerging and experienced leaders.

Field or Expertise – Fellows may be organizers, advocates, artists, clinicians, faith leaders, or practitioners, or may work in any other field or community role.

Education – There is no college or minimum education requirement.

Any U.S. location – The Fellowship is open to US citizens, permanent residents, and people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status in the US and its territories.


Fellowship Goals and Experience

The Fellowship will:

  • Receive a $10,000 cash prize (may be taxable; 50% provided upon acceptance and 50% provided at the conclusion of the Fellowship, contingent on full participation. Consult tax professional for potential impact);
  • Participate in four in-person retreats (all expenses covered by Fellowship) over an 18-month period beginning October 1, 2018 thru April 30, 2020;
  • Participate in web-based leadership development training and workshops;
  • Full participation in Fellowship activities is required. Fellows should expect to invest approximately 250-300 hours over 18 months (October 1, 2018 – April 30, 2020) to gain maximum benefit from the Fellowship experience.


Application Requirements:

  • Basic information about yourself
  • Name and contact information for two references
  • A brief essay (500 words or less)
  • A video that can be recorded on a phone or mobile device (3 minutes or less)
  • Responses to a series of short-answer questions (200 words or less)
  • A letter of support from their affiliated institution, organization or employer (where applicable)

Sorry, we are no longer accepting applications for the Forward Promise Fellowship for Leaders.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you missed our informational webinar about the Fellowship on July 10th, you can watch the recording and/or view the PowerPoint slides

Key Dates

July 2-20, 2018: Application Period
July 20, 2018: Application Deadline
August 31, 2018: Fellows Notified of Acceptance by this Date
October, 2018: Announcement of Fellows
October 1, 2018 – April 30, 2020: Fellowship Period
October 2018: First Virtual Convening
November 16 & 17, 2018: First In-Person Retreat