Rotary Charities believes that leaders come from all directions in our community and leadership in these rapidly changing times is evolving from the traditional, command-and-control leader to someone who reflects the criteria embedded in our grant making strategy. They are inclusive, adaptive, collaborative, resourceful and reflective. They work on themselves as much as they work on the big issues in our community. We seek to support leadership at all levels of organizations, networks and communities and the Changemaker Fellowship is one way we do that. We are looking for folks who are interested in skill development, but much more – behavior change and helping others along the way are key components of what we seek to support. If you are awarded one of our fellowships, we’ll ask you to develop a curriculum to share with others in a learning environment we’ll create. We’ll also ask you to join one of our Communities of Practice, where you’ll learn and share along with other colleagues. We are excited to see where you’ll go!

Our Changemaker Fellowship is made possible by a generous bequest from Charles Fultz.

Please refer to the Grant Guidance Document for all guidelines and a full list of required attachments. Click here to view the Changemaker Fellowship Grant application questions.


Supporting breakthrough learning and sharing that will expand understanding about how we might work differently to make durable and broad community progress.

Expectations: Fellows will commit to share what they learn through a local workshop and quarterly Community of Practice meetings with other fellows and grantees.


Costs associated with learning activities, including, but not limited to:

  • Registration fees
  • Travel
  • Bringing trainers/trainings to our region for community-wide or group/issue learning
  • Participant’s absence from work
  • Local application of learning

This funding is not intended for issue-specific training (e.g. a national affordable housing summit), but rather something that can be generalized and shared with other changemakers.


We’ve curated some examples of learning opportunities that we believe could help lead to more durable and broad community progress. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. Bring us your ideas too!

Cities Reducing Poverty, Tamarack Institute

Community Change Festival

Community Heart & Soul

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, ERRACE Training

Doing our own work: An anti-racism seminar for white people, Allies for Change

EmcArts Community Innovation Labs

FrameWorks Institute

Forum for the Future School of Systems Change

Foundations for Leadership, Society for Organizational Leadership

Greater Good Nonprofit Leaders Program, Allstate Foundation

Group Facilitation Certification, Marlboro College

Harwood Public Innovators Lab

Healthy Neighborhoods, Health Cities: Assets Based Community Development: May 28-30th in Edmonton, Alberta

Human Systems Dynamics Institute: Adaptive Action Labs

Interaction Institute for Social Change

Network Leadership Training Academy

Participatory Budgeting

Public Interest Communications Training – Frank Academy

Systems Thinking Certificate Program – Cornell University

Technology of Participation Facilitation Training

Warriors For the Human Spirit: Training to be the Presence of Insight and Compassion

Whole Communities Fellowship


A great Fellow will be a proven or emerging leader in an issue area of importance to the region (an official leadership position is not required).

The Fellow and sponsoring entity must have some demonstrated experience in criteria below or a desire to improve in the criteria areas.

  • Aligned: Work is aligned with other work in the larger system to maximize impact.
  • Inclusive: Key stakeholders are meaningfully engaged, including those most affected by the problem and those who have the most ability to affect change.
  • Collaborative: Key stakeholders continue to be involved at the level that is best for initiatives – anywhere from an advisory capacity to a joint venture where ownership and decision-making is shared.
  • Resourceful: Existing resources and assets are used creatively to make the most out of what the system already has.
  • Reflective: Strategies and actions are based on insights from regularly learning from three directions: looking outward at global and national trends; around at the local ecosystem around the issue; and inward at the culture, mindsets and practices of  self, staff, board, volunteers and members.
  • Adaptive: New insights are regularly turned into actions that quickly prototype and test upstream solutions to downstream problems.

The learning opportunity must have general applicability to other regional changemakers working on other issue areas.

We do not expect applicants to excel in all criteria. We certainly do not. We do believe that these are important aspirational goals and we are hoping to encourage changemakers to grow into these criteria over time. If an applicant is weaker in an area, it would be viewed favorably if they are honest about that in an application and genuinely want to grow in that area.

Other potential areas for strength building that are aligned with our vision of “People working together, sharing resources and negotiating differences in healthy ways towards building a thriving, prosperous and fair region” will be considered.


Eligible applicants for funding include all 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, units of government and local school districts serving Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska or Leelanau Counties. Partnerships and networks are encouraged to apply using an eligible organization as a fiduciary.


15th of the month, the Board makes decisions at their monthly board meeting, typically the first Thursday of the month.


Up to $20,000, 1 year

Individuals must present what they have learned at a workshop hosted by Rotary Charities and they must also participate in one of the two Communities of Practice that will meet quarterly for the year. The two Communities of Practice are based on two of our grant types: Assets for Thriving Communities or Systems Change Accelerator.


First, contact Freya Bradford to discuss your request: or (231) 941-4010 ext. 203.

View grant application portal instructions here. Access the online application HERE.