Applicants who meet the following
criteria are eligible for consideration for an Echoing Green
Applicants who are 18 years of age
Projects that are the original idea
of the individual applying.
Projects that are independent and
autonomous. Projects cannot be considered independent or
autonomous if they are started under the direction of or for an
existing organization. The applicant must be the primary
decision maker for the program's development and management.
Projects that are in start-up
phase. To be considered a "start up", the organization or
project may have been in existence for up to two years and Echoing
Green's financial support will qualify the foundation as a
major/primary early funder.
Applicants make a full-time
commitment to the project's development. A full-time
commitment is defined as a minimum of 35 hours per week; it is
expected that the fellow would resign from their current
employment to dedicate themselves full time to their
Applicants who commit to lead their
project for at least two years. Students who apply should
note that they will not be eligible for their fellowship stipend
if their project is put on hold due to time commitment conflicts
with their studies.
Applicants do not need to be US
citizens. However, if the applicant is not a US citizen, no
services in connection with their fellowship may be performed in
the United States.
Partnerships (no more than two
individuals) may apply. Both partners must make a full-time
commitment to the development of the project.
organizations or projects are not eligible for consideration for
an Echoing Green fellowship:
Plans for the expansion of an
Plans for research projects.
Plans for lobbying activities.
Plans for faith-based
Recipients of prior Echoing
Common Reasons Applications
Are Deemed "Non-Competitive"
The application process for the
Echoing Green Fellowship program is highly competitive. In
2002, we received 1,100 applications and awarded 19 fellowships;
in 2003 we received almost 900 applications for 12
fellowships. We employ a rigorous evaluation process and
carefully review every application we receive. Applicants
are evaluated against our funding criteria as well as against
their peers. The following are the most commonly cited reasons for
designating an application as "non-competitive."
Mission of the project is outside
our mission and funding guidelines: Echoing Green seeks out
proposals that are for more than simply creating great
programs. We are looking for innovative ideas for changing
systems and developing new approaches to old problems.
We are interested in proposals for high impact, sustainable
organizations with the potential to create lasting social change
beyond their immediate communities.
Mission of the project is
vague: Based on the application, it is difficult to
determine the specific objectives of the organization or services
the applicant intends to deliver. The mission of the
proposed organization is either too broad, lacking specificity, or
too inclusive, lacking focus. It is critical for start up
organizations to have a very clear mission and goals.
Addressing an issue on too many fronts or without clearly defined
objectives often results in resources stretched too thin and a
failure to make significant progress in any one
Need for the project is not clearly
demonstrated: Applicant stated the need without sufficient
statistics, sources or examples to support the claim or the
applicant presents a need that is a market opportunity but not a
true social challenge. A common approach among applicants is
to state that the need for the organization is that is does not
currently exist, which is insufficient to support a funding
request. Our evaluators are often able to gain insight into
how well the applicant understands the issues through their
presentation of the need they plan to address.
Program does not appear to be
unique or innovative: The Echoing Green "innovation test" is
by far the hardest test to pass. Our readers have extensive
experience across a range of program areas and a broad
understanding of existing approaches and programs for attacking
social challenges. When applicants propose projects that are
similar to programs that already exist, we read carefully to
identify how the applicant is seeking to improve upon existing
models in significant ways. Applicants often fail to
sufficiently present the innovative aspects of their
program. Or the applicant may not have done the research
that would have revealed that the program they are proposing is
already in existence. We suggest all
applicants spend time doing research.
Project plan is not
realistic: While Echoing Green seeks out individuals who
"dream big", our Fellows must also be realistic. We evaluate
applicants' project plans considering the objectives set forth in
the plan and their relevant experience to determine if the plan is
realistic. We also look at applicants' connections to the
communities they plan to serve since community support is an
Project does not appear
sustainable: There are a number of indicators that programs
are not sustainable. Examples include proposals for discrete
projects with defined beginning and end points, proposals so
ambitious that they would clearly require vast resources to
support the mission, and proposals where there doesn't appear to
be a viable, long-term funding stream.
There is no clear plan for
identifying or measuring impact: The applicant has
identified data gathering techniques but has not clearly
established a link between the data they plan to collect and the
impact of their program. While the applicant has a plan for
tracking activity, they do not have a plan for evaluating their
Applicant(s) have not demonstrated
sufficient relevant experience: Echoing Green does not
expect the applicant to have started an organization previously
and we don't require that they have formal education in their
program area. However, we do seek applicants who have
demonstrated their interest, passion and leadership abilities
through their previous work, academic and volunteer