SoCF Cross

Propose Your Idea – Apply to Be A Fellow

We seek fellows who are passionate problem solvers. You see the possible where others may not. You want the time and resources to think about, cultivate, and implement tangible solutions for Cleveland residents who live in poverty.

You work in the non-profit, for-profit, or government sector. And as a seasoned professional, you don’t want to quit your day job or move to another city.

Applicants will propose their innovative idea to fight poverty. The project should be grounded in a strong understanding of a significant problem that can and should be addressed in an innovative way.

Given the complexity of poverty, these ideas may move the needle in any field, such as (but not limited to) education, housing, health, food challenges, or economic development.

The solutions can take any form – a program, a technology, a communications campaign, a policy, etc.

Fellows keep their current job* and commit at least 12 weeks over the 18-month fellowship. In the first year, fellows will research and validate their idea, build an implementation strategy, and make the case for investor support. In the final six months, fellows will apply for seed funding and launch their idea, with foundation help to connect with possible partners and funders.

Fellows can seek up to $15,000 to support activities in the research and development phase. A successful pitch can earn up to $20,000 in seed money to launch their now-developed big idea.

*Employer endorsement is critical to ensure the fellows’ participation does not create an unacceptable burden on their employers. In consideration of the fellow’s time away from the office, the employer can seek up to $15,000 in financial support.

The four fellows will be notified in September, with orientation scheduled for Oct. 19.

Information Sessions

You are invited to attend an information session to learn more about The Innovation Mission:

  • Friday, May 5, 2017, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. > RSVP now. SOLD OUT.
  • Monday, May 15, 2017, from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. > RSVP now.
  • Thursday, June 15, 2017, from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. > RSVP now.
  • Monday, June 19, 2017, at 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. > RSVP now.

Project Summary Review (Optional)

Due Monday, May 22, 2017

Create a project summary and receive feedback on its viability from the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland by June 2.

In 750 words or less, describe:

  • The problem facing residents in the City of Cleveland living in poverty that you propose to address
  • How your innovative approach will address it
  • Why you are the right person to bring this idea to fruition

You also are asked to include a current resume.

Formal Application Submission

Open Friday, June 2, through Monday, July 17, 2017

The full online application is now open and can be accessed here.

Applications will be evaluated based on the idea’s innovative nature and viability, potential impact, feasibility, and the applicant’s qualifications.

Final Round

Finalists will be notified of invitation to interview the week of August 18, 2017.

Interviews with finalists will be scheduled August 29 and 30, 2017.

The four fellows will be notified in mid- to late September 2017.

Key dates for the application process:


Contact Margaret Eigsti, program officer at the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, at 216-357-4462 or