Young Leaders for Social Change Fellowship

Southern Partners Fund (SPF) is a regional community foundation located in Atlanta, GA, governed by people of color grassroots leaders from rural communities across 12 states in the Southeast. For 20 years, SPF has worked to increase the capacity of the grassroots movement by supporting community-based organizations working for political empowerment, workers’ rights, environmental justice, and an end to all forms of systemic oppression. SPF is pleased to announce a new fellowship program, the Young Leaders for Social Change Fellowship.

Young Leaders for Social Change (YLSC) was born out of the necessity to increase skillsets, advocacy, and civic participation amongst our youth. YSLC strives to give voice to young, rural-based, emerging community organizers, non-profit professionals, and philanthropic practitioners, aged 18-35, who are committed to social change in the Southeast.


Believing in the power of and strategic need for committed and skilled organizers, SPF is pleased to support individuals working to dismantle systems of oppression. This year will be the first class of Young Leaders for Social Change Fellows at SPF!  The applications/nominations process is now open for individuals who share SPF’s vision who live and work in one of the 12 states in the Southeast.


The Young Leaders for Social Change Fellowship Program is designed to help individuals become grounded and more effective leaders in their communities. This program is an opportunity for individuals to enhance their leadership skills, to learn new skills, and to apply those/these skills in their communities.

Each selected Fellow will receive a $10,000 stipend, paid quarterly, in $2500 disbursements to support their local community efforts.

Fellows will begin their one-year fellowship by attending a virtual welcome, orientation and community organizing for social change workshop October 2020.  A second training opportunity will be scheduled during the year. Throughout the year, fellows will be networked to each other through conference calls, provided other opportunities regionally and nationally to enhance their skills and to build relationships including:

  • Training on organizing, social justice, movement building & community mobilization
  • Organizational development training on budgeting, grassroots fundraising, board development and more
  • Networking and community-building opportunities
  • Support to implement final project
  • Professional development support and Mentorship during and after the Fellowship year

Fellows will be required to submit a quarterly update on their progress and challenges and complete a final project.

The final report can result in:

  • A 10-15-minute video compilation of the history and impact of movement building in your community
  • Establishing and Founding a new Grassroots organization
  • Obtaining employment in a non-profit or foundation
  • Select an issue and develop a position paper that needs to be researched or explored

Fellows will be supported by SPF staff and membership. An in-person gathering will be scheduled in Fall 2021.


Fellows must be living and working for social justice primarily in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Applicants must be 18-35 years of age.

Applicants must be available for the first activities of the Fellowship October 30, 2020.

The Fellowship will NOT fund the following:

  • Enrollment for degree or nondegree study at academic institutions, including dissertation research
  • Projects outside of the SPF 12 States
  • Lobbying activities



Fellows should submit a Statement of Interest and Intent with the support of 3 nominators who write a one-page nomination/reference letter.
Statement of Interest and Intent-In your own way and your own words, please let the selection committee know the following about you:

  • Your name, postal address, phone number(s) and email address.
  • Please describe your work for justice and community organizing experience.
  • Discuss the skills you would like to strengthen or develop and/or the things you would like to learn as a YLSC Fellow.
  • Describe how the fellowship could help you move forward as a community organizer.
  • What is your vision for how change happens?
  • What would be exciting to you about being a YLSC Fellow?
  • What might you find challenging about being a YLSC Fellow?
  • Please tell us about any additional information not yet mentioned including your paid work experience, volunteer experience or any awards or recognitions you have received. (submission of current resume may suffice)

Applications must be received in the SPF Office by 12noon EST, September 21, 2020. Only complete applications will be considered. A complete application includes the following:

  • A Statement of Interest and Intent (please see questions above)
  • 3 Nominator Reference Statements (reference statements can be sent separately as long as they meet the deadline)

Applications will be received any one of the following ways:
Via email to or mail to
Attn: YLSC Fellowship
Southern Partners Fund
1 Baltimore Place NW, Suite 150
Atlanta, GA 30308

A small committee of representatives of SPF Board and Membership will select the ten fellows. Virtual interviews will be conducted with the finalists.
September 21st | Applications due
October 15th | Notification of Fellows
October 30th | Welcome & Orientation
Quarterly | Check-ins via Zoom
FALL 2021 | In-person meeting