Frequently Asked Questions

Change Collective is a dynamic leadership community created to train, connect and elevate local changemakers in communities across the country. Through a six-month training program, the Change Collective develops local leaders, helping them bring people together, bridge divides, and solve problems at the community level. Local cohorts are composed of leaders representing a range of identities, backgrounds, vocations, and ideologies. The program currently operates in five cities — Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; Jackson, MS; Memphis, TN; and San Antonio, TX.

All Change Collective cohorts are community or city-based. In 2023, we launched programming in three cities — Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; and Jackson, MS. In 2024 we are expanding to two new cities: Memphis, TN and San Antonio, TX. We will continue to add new cities and cohorts each year. By connecting our participants across the country with one another, the Change Collective will build a national community of local changemakers.

Change Collective cohort members must live in the cities where we are operating for that term. Our first two cohorts were in Chicago, IL, Detroit, MI, and Jackson, MS. Our current cohort is only open to residents of Memphis, TN and San Antonio, TX. If you do not live in one of these cities, contact us to 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 working 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 be a resident of the cities we are operating in for the term. For the Fall 2024 application cycle, we are accepting applications from leaders in Memphis, TN and San Antonio, TX,

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.

We understand that leadership journeys look different for different people. Although we imagine many of our applicants will be in the 25–35 year old age range, the Change Collective values age diversity. Therefore, we welcome all potential participants ages 18+ 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.

Applications for the Fall 2024 cohort in Memphis and San Antonio are open until Friday, May 31, 2024.

The program will run between September 2024 and March 2025beginning with an in-person National Change Lab held in Jackson, MS in September 2024..

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

  • Saturday, October 5, 2024
  • Saturday, November 16, 2024
  • Saturday, December 7, 2024
  • Saturday, January 11, 2025
  • Saturday, February 1, 2025

The $950 fee will support the training, resources, and curriculum that are part of the Change Collective programming, as well as event 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 have the option to pay their fee over a 6 month time frame, or can apply for a full fee waiver.

The Change Collective leadership training program is a six-month experience focused on providing participants with the skills, tools and resources they will need to lead change in their communities. The program will run from September 2024–March 2025. The program will begin with an in-person National Change Lab held in Jackson, MS in September 2024. 

In-person Local Change Labs will be held one Saturday per month for five consecutive months from October 2024 until March 2025. The program will end with an in-person National Change Lab held in March 2025. National Change Lab convenings will be 3 days, and Local Change Lab convenings will be held on Saturdays for 6 hours. Cohort members are also required to attend a monthly, online call on the Tuesday following their Local Change Lab. 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.
  • Individualized coaching on Civic Action Plan.
  • Armchair and panel discussions with field experts and thought leaders.
  • Community dinners and community service projects. 

After completing the six-month training program, graduates will officially join the Change Collective as Members of a dynamic, growing national network of local changemakers, and will continue to participate in our continued-learning series and community of practice sessions.

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 September 2024 and March 2025. Candidates selected for the Fall 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 local time:

  • Saturday, October 5, 2024
  • Saturday, November 16, 2024
  • Saturday, December 7, 2024
  • Saturday, January 11, 2025
  • Saturday, February 1, 2025

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.

The Change Collective considers multiple factors to determine which cities will host current and future cohorts. We prioritize locations with a diverse population across identities, backgrounds, vocations, and ideologies. We also focus on cities where we have an existing or emerging network of local partners excited to engage with the Change Collective and support our programming. We encourage you to contact us if you are interested in bringing the Change Collective to your city.

Questions about the Application Process

Applications were accepted until Friday, May 31, 2024 at 12:00 PM CDT. 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 program:

  • Location: Must live full-time in our cohort cities 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 about 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 changemakers

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