Open Society Black Male Achievement Fellowship


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Black Male Achievement

Open Society Black Male Achievement Fellowship, powered by Echoing Green (BMA Fellowship)

The Open Society Foundations and Echoing Green have established a new fellowship program for individuals dedicated to improving the life outcomes of black men and boys in the U.S. It is the first fellowship program of its kind that targets social entrepreneurs who are starting up new and innovative organizations in the field of black male achievement.

The BMA Fellowship will include start-up capital and technical assistance over 18 months to help new leaders launch and build their organizations; access to technical support and pro bono partnerships; and a community of like-minded social entrepreneurs and public service leaders.

The online application for the Open Society Black Male Achievement Fellowship (BMA Fellowship) will be available on December 5, 2011 and closed on January 9, 2012. It will be awarded to up to eight fellows who are generating new ideas and best practices in the areas of education, family, and work such as initiatives related to fatherhood, mentoring, college preparatory programs, community-building, supportive wage work opportunities, communications, and philanthropic leadership.

The BMA Fellowship will run for 18 months beginning July 1, 2012, and will offer:
•   A stipend of $70,000
•   A health insurance stipend
•   A professional development stipend
•   Professional and organizational development conferences
•   A community of like-minded social entrepreneurs and public service leaders, including the Open Society and Echoing Green networks of alumni working all over the world


About the Campaign for Black Male Achievement

The Open Society Foundations’ Campaign for Black Male Achievement is a multi-issue, cross-fund strategy to address black men and boys’ exclusion from economic, social, educational, and political life in the United States. The campaign responds to a growing body of research that reveals the intensification of black males’ negative life outcomes. It builds on U.S. Programs’ mission to support individuals and organizations that nurture the development of a more democratic, just society, as well as the Open Society Foundations’ expertise and past work to reduce incarceration, promote racial justice, and support youth engagement and leadership development.


Application Cycle & Dates

Applicants interested in the BMA Fellowship will apply through the Echoing Green Fellowship application, available online December 5, 2011 through January 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm Noon EST through the “Apply Now” page. Application questions in the first phase will be the same for applicants of both Fellowships.

2012 Application Cycle Dates:
•    December 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm Noon EST: Phase 1 of application opens to all eligible applicants.
•    January 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm Noon EST: Phase 1 of application closes
•    Early February 2012: Semifinalists announced and invited to complete expanded application. All applicants notified of results by email.
•    Late February 2012: Semifinal applications due.
•    April 2012: Finalists announced.
•    Late April 2012: BMA Finalist interviews in NYC.


Fellowships are reserved for individuals who are launching organizations dedicated to Black Male Achievement in the United States. Fellowship projects should align with the Campaign for Black Male Achievement priorities focused on improving the life outcomes of black men and boys in the three core areas of: education, family, and work.

•    Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.
•    Applicants must have sufficient English fluency to participate in interviews and events.
•    Organization must be the original idea of the applicant.
•    Organization must be in a start-up phase. To be considered a start-up, the organization may have been in operation for up to two years, and the Fellowship’s financial support should qualify it as significant early funder. Applicants who have only worked on their organization on a part-time basis or have yet to start the organization are generally considered eligible.
•    Organization must be independent and autonomous. Organizations cannot be considered independent or autonomous if they are started under the direction of an existing organization. The applicant must be the primary decision maker for the organization’s development and management. Generally, organizations with fiscal sponsors are still considered autonomous.
•    Applicants must make a full-time commitment (minimum 35 hours per week) to the organization’s development for the duration of the two-year fellowship. It is expected that all selected fellows resign from their current employment to dedicate themselves full-time to their initiatives. Students will not be eligible for their fellowship stipend if their organization is put on hold due to conflicts with their studies.
•    Partnerships (organizations co-founded and led by two individuals) may apply. Both partners must meet all eligibility requirements and make a full-time commitment of no fewer than 35 hours per week to the development of the organization.
•    Applicants must be based in the US and have legal status to work in the US. If you are authorized to work in the US, but this status is granted to you through your current employer and you are only authorized to work for that employer, you are not eligible to apply.

Note: Organizations may be for-profit or non-profit.

The following proposals are not eligible for consideration:
•   Expansion of an existing organization that is past its start-up phase
•   Research projects
•   Lobbying activities
•   Initiatives that promote adoption of a specific faith or religion. (If your work has a spiritual basis but is not tied to any specific religion or faith, you may be eligible for consideration)

Assessment Criteria

Applications for the BMA Fellowship are evaluated on several criteria to assess both the strength of the applicants as well as the strength of the idea. Here are the main components of assessment:

1. The Applicant(s):

•   Purpose / Passion – Applicant exhibits strong passion and commitment for the program area in which they plan to work, as well as personal integrity
•   Resilience – Applicant has demonstrated ability to overcome obstacles
•   Leadership – Applicant has demonstrated leadership potential
•   Ability to Attract Resources – Applicant is a “Resource Magnet,” capable of attracting money, people and other resources to cause

2. The Organization / Idea:

•   Innovation – Organization is innovative and demonstrates new approach
•   Importance – Organization addresses serious social problem
•   Potential for Big, Bold Impact – Organization has clear potential for tangible impact to the beneficiary population and either has potential for effecting systemic change (e.g., policy change, societal change, influence in their field) and/or demonstrates potential for replication and growth
•   A Good Business Model – Organization has clear and compelling mission and objectives, and has given real thought to program development and delivery, ways to measure success, raising money, and other key factors indicating potential for sustainability, as well as the introduction of new Shiply delivery services.

Additionally, a fantastic read including the strength of the partnership and the commitment of both individuals to the organization PaydayChampion are evaluated for applicants applying as a partnership.

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