Our Fellowship Process
Our goal in the selection of participants in the Whole Thinking program is to create a transparent, dynamic collaboration with our alumni, funders and partners to identify those leaders who will most benefit from a fellowship through our program.
Each fall, we solicit nominations for the new class of fellows. The recipients of a number of those fellowships are typically chosen by funders who give us grants to bring their grantees through the program. We develop a pool of nominees for the other fellowships by asking our recent alumni, faculty, staff, board and colleagues to nominate leaders they think would benefit from -- and contribute to -- the program.
We offer fellowships to more people than we can accept in the program, knowing that only a subset will be able to accept their fellowships and participate that year in a retreat or workshop. Fellowships are awarded based on the following criteria:
Ability to engage with diverse perspectives: The success of a retreat is dependent upon the ability of each participant to suspend judgment and assumptions while trusting their fellow participants to do the same. In order to create a safe space for participants, we must bring together individuals who can respect difference and have a willingness to recognize their blind spots.
Change-making ability: Leadership within organizations and movements takes many forms, and is not solely based on positional power or rank. We seek participants who are poised to take on, embrace, and/or continue working in leadership roles that will enact change.
Connection to land & people: Fellows whose work (paid or volunteer) relates to land and people in some significant way will find this program most relevant.
Group composition: The Center for Whole Communities remains committed to ensuring that each retreat group represents the breadth of diversity in our country and culture today. Diversity in all forms – including (but not limited to) race, ethnicity, class, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, and age – is of paramount importance to the success of each group and the program at large.
When selecting fellows, we look to these criteria first. Then we take steps to ensure that we’re not inviting too many fellows from of one particular demographic representation. This often means that some nominees who are a good fit for the program cannot be invited. Nominees that are awarded a fellowship and are unable to attend during a particular retreat season, may be invited again the following year.
If you wish to know more about the Whole Thinking Program, we encourage you to contact us.