An Investment in Change:
Towards Justice and Equality for All

In 1966, at a time of civil unrest and social upheaval, Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek and presented us with a future in which our differences made us stronger, our individuality was celebrated (not feared), and collaborative efforts on behalf of humanity yielded great outcomes.

Today, 50 years later, that vision is under threat. The strides we’ve made towards a more equitable nation, towards a future like the one envisioned by Gene Roddenberry, are increasingly in jeopardy.

To chart a different course, we need talented individuals from all walks of life to play a role in promoting a more tolerant and just society that serves the many, not just the few. The Roddenberry Fellowship has been created to support 20 of these individuals as they make strides to achieve this goal.

Civil rights
Climate change and
environmental justice
Immigration and
refugee rights
women's rights
About the Fellowship

We seek passionate, talented activists to take immediate action for long-term impact.

The Roddenberry Fellowship is a new 12-month program for activists from across the country who are working to protect the most vulnerable and to make the US a more inclusive and equitable place to live. Twenty Fellows will be selected to receive $50,000 each, as well as tailored support, to help implement a project or initiative in one of four areas:

  • Civil Rights
  • Climate Change and Environmental Justice
  • Immigration and Refugee Rights
  • LGBTQIA and Women’s Rights

The Foundation does not aim to dictate how Fellows plan to bring about change on a chosen issue. It’s up to each Fellow, but we are interested in impact. Increasing one’s Twitter following or getting 1,000 likes is not, in and of itself, considered impactful. We also favor innovative approaches: projects that push boundaries, are cross-sectoral, challenge tradition, seek new ways of approaching systemic and entrenched problems, or leverage specific (timely) opportunities in unconventional ways.

As a Fellow you will receive:

  • $50,000 to support an initiative that has direct impact in your field
  • One-on-one professional coaching and development opportunities
  • Virtual collaboration sessions to provide ongoing advisement, support, and training
  • An in-person three-day retreat in February 2018 with the entire cohort, community leaders, and coaches
Application Process

Applying for the Fellowship is a two-step process. In the first round, individuals provided some basic information about who they are and what they’re working on. If selected for the second round, individuals will be asked for a more detailed account of their plans and what they aim to achieve.

  • 2017
  • July 25 First-round application opens
  • August 22 First-round application closes
  • August 23-September 4 First-round selection process
  • September 5 Second-round applicants notified
    Second-round application open
  • September 25 Second-round application closes
  • October-November Second-round judging process
  • December Fellows announced
Eligibility & Criteria

The 12-month commitment is intended to help Roddenberry Fellows take an existing initiative (e.g., a campaign, an organization, an installation) to the next level and amplify its impact OR to launch a new initiative.


The Roddenberry Fellowship is open to US citizens, permanent residents, or current visa holders in the 50 United States who are 18 years of age or older and who meet the following conditions:

  1. Agree to all legal terms and conditions of The Roddenberry Fellowship;
  2. meet all submission deadlines;
  3. submit the application in English;
  4. primary focus of your initiative is US issues to include immigrant and refugee rights, civil rights, LGBTQIA and women’s rights, or climate change and environmental justice;
  5. you are available to make a twelve (12) month commitment to your initiative;
  6. you are affiliated with, employed by, or hosted by a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, academic institution, or established volunteer group at the time of your application;
  7. If initiatives, new or pre-existing, have an annual organizational budget of $1 million or less; and
  8. your initiative does not involve any attempt to influence legislation or the outcome of any specific public election or the carrying on of any voter registration drive.

Selection Criteria

We created this Fellowship to support individuals who are making a difference. We’re not interested in what school you attended or how many fellowships you’ve won (though congrats if you have!). You don’t need to be well known or have 50,000 Twitter followers. What we care about is what you’re doing, or planning to do, to create a just, sustainable, and inclusive society. And more importantly: we care about “the why.” Why does this matter to you? What steps have you taken on this issue? The selection process will take into consideration the following criteria to ensure a diverse and high-potential Fellowship cohort:

First Round

Personal Commitment

  • The entrant displays a strong commitment to creating impact
  • The entrant possesses relevant experience with a deep understanding of the chosen issue(s) the initiative addresses

Potential Impact

  • The entrant’s initiative will create clear, positive impact for its target community
  • The entrant has a clear vision for wider impact beyond the target community

Community Partners

  • The entrant has identified key strategic partnerships they will cultivate to ensure project success
  • Potential strategic partnerships are representative of the community and issue area(s) the initiative will address

Second Round

Strategic Impact

  • The entrant possesses a deep understanding of the broader community in which they work, and how the community’s varied issues are tied to underlying systemic problems that must be addressed
  • The entrant’s initiative is well thought out and can effectively impact the target community
  • The initiative has the potential to impact the greater landscape of the issue area(s) it addresses


  • Major risks are identified, with clear plans to address them effectively
  • The initiative has a realistic and feasible plan to move forward

Community Leadership and Trust

  • The entrant possesses a diversity of experience and background that has contributed to their effectiveness as a leader
  • The entrant has a meaningful relationship with the communities they work with
  • The entrant is an entrepreneurial team player who also inspires and collaborates with partners, funders, and other organizations
About the Roddenberry Foundation

Launched in 2010, The Roddenberry Foundation is committed to finding and supporting remarkable people and organizations that can disrupt existing dynamics, challenge old patterns of thought, and discover new ways to help us move towards a better future.

We provide grants to accelerate the development of great, untested ideas and invest in models that are challenging the status quo and improving the human condition. Together, our interconnected initiatives offer opportunities for original thinkers and innovators from all walks to life to pursue significant, lasting change.