Changemaker Fellows are lifelong learners who adapt in the name of progress. They investigate new ideas to lay a foundation for a better future. And they commit to bringing us all along on the journey.



The Changemaker Fellowship is one way we support community leaders to develop their skills to change behavior, workplace culture, or systems when what’s established or expected isn’t what’s best for most. Changemaker Fellows are local leaders seeking breakthrough learning at the leading edge of changemaking work. Fellows may travel outside of the region for an opportunity, or bring an opportunity here for community-wide or group/issue learning. Then, fellows share what they’ve learned with the community to expand the conversation about how we might work differently to make progress toward a fair, thriving and resilient region. We work with fellows to design the community learning experience that best suits their skills – for example, a local workshop, a video or blog series, an event.

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.


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 changemakers working in other issue areas.


Here are examples of some learning experiences that would be a good fit. You don’t have to pick one of the following – bring your ideas! We want to hear what you’re excited about and how it might contribute to community transformation.

Workshops to make community change work easier and more effective with Tamarack Institute

Biomimicry for Social Innovation: Living Systems Leadership – July 22-26, 2019

Community Change Festival, September 30-October 3, 2019

Community Heart & Soul – on demand, a framework for community-led development & decision making

Trainings on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – ERRACE Training

Arts-based strategies for community innovation – EmcArts Community Innovation Labs

FrameWorks Institute

Grow your capacity for systems change at Forum for the Future School of Systems Change

Systems change workshops Society for Organizational Leadership

Greater Good Nonprofit Leaders Program, Allstate Foundation

Group Facilitation Certification, Marlboro College

Infusing community-driven decision making in your organizational culture, Harwood Public Innovators Lab

Human Systems Dynamics Institute: Adaptive Action Labs

Interaction Institute for Social Change

Participatory Budgeting

Systems Thinking Certificate Program – Cornell University

Technology of Participation Facilitation Training

Whole Communities Fellowship


We’ve learned from our grantees over the years that projects most likely to achieve long-lasting results involve deep collaboration, resourcefulness and the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. We support changemakers who can demonstrate some experience and/or interest in building their capacity in these areas. We do not expect applicants to excel in all criteria. These are aspirational goals and we 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.

Inclusive: “Nothing about me without me.”
Those closest to an issue or opportunity have strong solutions for a way forward. Involve those most affected by an issue or opportunity as well as those who have the most ability to affect change.

Collaborative: “Do what you do best, partner for the rest.”
We are stronger and smarter together. Collaboration can take a variety of forms, from an advisory team to a joint venture where ownership and decision-making are shared.

Resourceful: “Make the most of what the community has”
Creatively leveraging the knowledge, capital and infrastructure that is already available makes for sustainable, relevant initiatives.

Reflective: “Learn from looking out, around and in”
Learning does not take time away from work, weaving learning into the everyday IS the work. We must learn from what is happening globally and nationally; in our local contexts and ecosystem; and within the culture, mindsets and practices of our organizations, teams and ourselves.

Adaptive: “Take action on what you learn”
Building flexibility into strategies helps us use what we are learning to adapt to what’s needed, when it’s needed. Principles of Prototyping and Adaptive Leadership can help.

Aligned: “See & situate your work in relation to others”
Our systems are interconnected and demand interconnected, not piecemeal, solutions – including changemaking and community asset building. Get to know others who are working toward a similar vision. What part of the problem are they most familiar with? Work in ways that complement each other.


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.