Frequently Asked Questions

The Change Collective is a leadership community that empowers and enables local changemakers to bring people together, bridge divides, and solve problems at the community level. Our vision is to reinvent civic life to represent today’s reality. Through the Change Collective, we will listen to, invest in, and connect the next generation of leaders driving civic participation and change in their communities.

All Change Collective cohorts will be community or city-based. In 2023, we currently have programming in three cities — Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; and Jackson, MS — and we will expand to additional locations in the years ahead. By connecting our participants across the country with one another, the Change Collective will build a national community of local changemakers.

To apply to the Change Collective, you must live in one of these cities — Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; or Jackson, MS.  If you do not live in one of these cities, contact us show your interest in the Change Collective expanding to a city near you.

Each local cohort will be composed of 20–25 emerging leaders.

The Change Collective is geared toward emerging leaders with a track record of leading in their communities and a commitment to strengthening civic engagement. We are looking for participants representing a variety of identities, backgrounds, vocations, and ideologies. Some examples of being a local changemaker in your community could include, but NOT limited to:

  • An artist who uses the power of art to address social justice issues and to storytell in their community. 

  • A rural or urban farmer who is addressing the food security issues in their community.

  • An engineer at a private company who is passionate about closing the digital divide in their community. 

  • A student leader who mobilizes students to register to vote on their campus.

The following are requirements for applying:

  • You must live in a Change Collective city: Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI and Jackson, MS.

The following are qualifications we look for in strong applicants:

  • You have demonstrated your ability to lead in your community. 

  • You have a compelling community-based project that you want to take on and tackle through the Change Collective program.

Fundamental to this leadership community is the core principle of embracing difference as a source of strength, and training leaders to build bridges within their communities. We are committed to building diverse cohorts of participants. 

  • Change Collective cohorts will reflect diversity in race, ethnicity, religion and other forms of diversity. Our goal is to have cohorts that are gender balanced, invest in people and communities of color, and also represent other historically underrepresented groups.

  • Cohort members will span industries and professional fields, and educational backgrounds. College degrees are not required to apply to the Change Collective. 

The Change Collective is nonpartisan and non-political, but we value ideological differences. Cohort members across political ideologies are encouraged to apply.

Leadership journeys look different for different people.  We imagine many of our applicants will be in the 22–35 year old age range, but all potential participants ages 18+ are welcome to apply.

Members of the Change Collective will have access to training opportunities, leadership development, and a wide network of mentors both locally and nationally.  All Change Collective members will go through a six-month training and skill-building program that will include national and local in-person convenings.

The program will run between January and July 2024.

Local Change Labs will occur on the following Saturdays from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm:

  • 2/24/2024
  • 3/23/2024
  • 4/27/2024
  • 5/18/2024
  • 6/22/2024

The $950 tuition will support the training, resources and curriculum that are part of the Change Collective programming, as well as travel and lodging costs for convenings. At the Change Collective, we are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and removing barriers to access for any local changemaker. All accepted cohort members that have financial need will be able to cover the fee through a long-term payment plan, or can apply for a full scholarship.

The Change Collective leadership training program is a six-month program focused on providing participants with the skills, tools and resources they will need to lead change in their communities. The program will run from January 2024–July 2024. The program will begin with an in-person National Change Lab held in Chicago, IL in early 2024. 

In-person Local Change Labs will be held one weekend per month for five consecutive months from February to July 2024. The program will end with an in-person National Change Lab held in late summer 2024. National Change Lab convenings will be 3 days, and Local Change Lab Convenings will be held on Saturdays for 6 hours. The Change Collective curriculum will include:

  • In-person convenings and trainings.
  • Virtual trainings and skill-building sessions.
  • Virtual communities of practice that will connect changemakers across cities.
  • Individualizes coaching on Civic Action Projects.
  • Armchair and panel discussions with field experts and thought leaders.
  • Community dinners and community service projects.  

After completing the six-month training program, Change Collective members will be part of a dynamic, growing network of local changemakers, and will continue to participate in our continued-learning series and communities of practice. They will have access to a growing network of leaders to continue to elevate their work in communities.

The curriculum includes:

  • Robust learning modules. Each training will build to get participants ready to plan, organize, and execute their project over the course of the final months of the program. This includes hard skills to do the projects and key concepts to push their thinking of what is possible in their community and their place in that possibility. 
  • A collection of case studies. Examples of real people doing change work in their communities — fantastic ones to inspire and ones that have hit snags to learn from.
  • Practical exercises. Steps to apply the lessons learned to your specific project and to grow in your leadership.
  • A collection of resources. Structured to help you move through the content, take notes, and continue your learning outside of the program gatherings. 
  • Access to incredible guest speakers. Hear from the experts and address common questions and roadblocks.
  • Opportunities to connect. Engaging with each other to deepen their leadership practice and workshop content together.

To participate in the program, we ask that you make every effort to attend all of the sessions (one 6 hour session per month) and monthly virtual community of practice sessions (1 hour). We understand life gets in the way sometimes, but we ask that participants not miss more than 1 session over the course of the six-month program.

The program will run between January and July 2024. Candidates selected for the spring/summer 2024 cohort will receive a detailed program calendar prior to the start of their program.

Local Change Labs will occur on the following Saturdays from 10:00 am–4:00 pm:

  • 2/24/2024
  • 3/23/2024
  • 4/27/2024
  • 5/18/2024
  • 6/22/2024

To complete the program you will need to:

  • Attend the sessions and actively participate
  • Complete a civic action project plan (don’t worry we’ll provide you the skills and details on how to do this)

The Change Collective is a program and network connecting changemakers across cities, but not funding those projects directly. There will be some training around how to pursue funding and some best practices for fundraising. But not grants or financial assistance will be given to cohort members directly.

Questions about the Application Process

Applications were accepted until November 3, 2024 at 12:00 PM Eastern. Finalists will be invited for virtual interviews with Change Collective staff.

Applications will not be accepted beyond the application deadline. However, if you’d like to be notified when applications open for the next cohort, please join our interest list.

All of the following eligibility criteria must be met by applicants in order to be accepted into the 2023 cohort year:

  • Location: Must live full-time in Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; or Jackson, Mississippi, for the duration of the program
  • Time: Able to commit to full participation in in-person and virtual trainings 
  • Project: Will commit 4-6 hours each month to their individual civic action projects
  • Age: Program participants must be ages 18+

Aside from the specific eligibility criteria listed above, the ideal candidate:

  • Has a clear issue they are passionate and can describe the impact they have made/are working to make
  • Demonstrates a values-driven approach to leadership in their change work
  • Stands out for their commitment to their community
  • Demonstrates a willingness to learn and a commitment to curiosity
  • Has a desire to connect with a network of changemakersll

Absolutely! We have limited spots available for this round but will be growing in the future.

All applicants will be notified of their status via email on a rolling basis.

Change Collective Membership

The Change Collective community goes beyond the six-month leadership development program. You will be part of a national network of local changemakers who will be called on to continue their commitment to improve local communities, support each other personally and professionally, and be ready to mobilize to address pressing local issues collectively.

After completing the six-month leadership development program, you will join a national alumni network of local changemakers who will focus on sustaining and elevating impact in local communities, participate in alumni events, serve as mentors to future cohorts, and have access to special events, resources, job opportunities and leadership training.

There are many benefits to officially joining the Change Collective membership group, which include, but not limited to the following:

  • Access to national network of local changemakers
  • Resources to support pressing local efforts and long-term projects
  • Invitation to special in-person and virtual events 
  • Opportunities seek additional mentorship, provide mentorship and engage with future cohorts 
  • Host events in local cities  
  • Shared job and leadership development opportunities