Who Should Apply?

The Community Revitalization Fellowship is designed for the unique needs of small and midsized communities. Individuals from communities with a population of 300,000 or less in the United States and Puerto Rico are eligible to apply for the Fellowship, including cities, suburbs, and rural municipalities. Population is determined based on the population of the legal jurisdiction as a whole, such as a city or a town. If the overall city’s population is greater than 300,000, it is ineligible for this program. For example, if your city has a population of 600,000, but the neighborhoods you hope to target have a population of approximately 50,000, your city is not eligible to participate in the Fellowship because the city’s total population is greater than 300,000.

Priority will be given to communities with serious challenges related to vacancy, abandonment, and disinvestment, particularly in low-income communities of color. The lead applicant must be a local organization, such as a community foundation, that has in-depth knowledge of the community’s neighborhood associations and resident leadership as well as a commitment to resident engagement, experience in community and economic development, and the willingness to serve as the Institutional Partner to the community’s cohort of Fellows.

Cohort Roles and Structure

Institutional Partner – Lead Applicant

The Institutional Partner provides support, mentorship, and logistical help to their community’s cohort of Fellows during the application process and, if chosen, over the course of the Fellowship. Community foundations are the preferred Institutional Partners. In the absence of an appropriate local community foundation, any established nonprofit organization with a 501(c)3 designation or a land bank authority with experience in revitalization and a deep commitment to resident engagement may apply. The Institutional Partner must have a demonstrated commitment to addressing community and economic development challenges and to ensuring that residents are meaningfully engaged in or leading these efforts. The Institutional Partner must show an understanding of racial and social equity issues related to land use, urban planning, and community investment. Institutional Partners must also demonstrate meaningful relationships with a range of local government, nonprofit, private, and philanthropic stakeholders who help to shape revitalization decisions. They should also be willing to help strengthen relationships between Fellows and these stakeholders.

Fellows – Grassroots Community Leaders

Each community chosen for CRF will have a cohort of six Fellows. This cohort should be comprised of grassroots community leaders representing a diverse range of skills, connections to the community, and neighborhoods across the community. CRF aims to serve not just community leaders who are well-known, but also the “rising stars” whose volunteerism and advocacy could be transformed through participation in CRF. Community Progress expects that most or all Fellows will be engaged in their neighborhoods as volunteers, not as career professionals. Squeezing in activism and volunteerism around job and family obligations is hard work, so CRF is designed to help Fellows make the most out of the time they are able to give to their communities. Grassroots community leaders who seek to be Community Revitalization Fellows must demonstrate current involvement in their neighborhood’s revitalization. Fellows could include, for example, leaders of block clubs or neighborhood watches, advocacy coalition leads, a member of a faith community that is active in neighborhood service, artists and designers of any artistic medium, culture bearers, members of arts and culture organizations, or other formal and informal associations. 

Program Structure and Timeline

The Community Revitalization Fellowship is a year-long program. During the course of the Fellowship, participants will join three in-person Learning Exchanges, four Local Cohort Gatherings, and one local Community Revitalization Workshop. The dates and locations of the three Learning Exchanges, as well as the Community Revitalization Workshop, will be developed in partnership with the cohort communities that are selected. More information about these events is below.

Learning Exchanges

When:One (1) two-day Learning Exchange will take place in each of the cohort communities for a total of three (3) Learning Exchanges in total over the course of CRF. Each Learning Exchange will be held on a Friday and Saturday.
Coordinator:Center for Community Progress
Additional Support:Hosting cohort community
Attendees:Fellows, Institutional Partners
What:The Learning Exchanges feature a mix of technical and leadership trainings by a faculty of national experts and local neighborhood tours of projects in the host community.
Additional Details:Costs related to travel, lodging, and on-site meals are covered by Community Progress.

Community Revitalization Workshop

When:A Community Revitalization Workshop will take place in each cohort community prior to the Learning Exchange in that community. The exact time will be determined in partnership with the cohort community.
Coordinator:Center for Community Progress
Additional Support:Hosting cohort community
Attendees:Residents and the Fellows from the hosting cohort community
What:The Community Revitalization Workshop is an opportunity for community members in each of the cohort communities to learn from national experts to increase their knowledge of practical, actionable ways to support revitalization on their own blocks. It helps to extend the impact of CRF beyond the community’s six official Fellows.
Additional Details:Community Progress will cover all costs associated with the training, including food and on-site licensed childcare for attendees.

Local Cohort Gatherings

When:Before the first Learning Exchange, and after each of the three Learning Exchanges (four times in total over the course of the Fellowship).
Coordinator:Institutional Partner
Attendees:Fellows
What:These gatherings are intended to help Fellows set and make progress toward goals and continue the momentum generated during the learning exchanges. The structure of these gatherings is flexible and could include, for example: a meeting to debrief from a Learning Exchange and plan next steps; a meet-and-greet with relevant local government officials; helping out at a neighborhood clean-up; or other formats that make the most sense based on the community’s and Fellows’ needs.

Tuition and Costs

Thanks to the generous support of the Oak Foundation and The Kresge Foundation, Institutional Partners and Fellows are not responsible for any direct financial costs of participating in CRF. All travel, lodging, and on-site meal expenses associated with each Learning Exchange are covered for Fellows and one representative from the Institutional Partner.

In addition:
  • Each Fellow will receive a $230 stipend following each of the three Learning Exchanges attended (up to $690 total).
  • The Institutional Partner will receive $14,000 in funding to support its participation in CRF. $4,000 can be used by the Institutional Partner to reimburse for time spent on providing guidance, mentorship, and logistical support to the cohort. The remaining $10,000 should be used to support creative placemaking on problem properties. We have intentionally left the description of the use of these funds flexible because we know that each community has specific needs. However, we do ask the Institutional Partner to share in their application their ideas for how these funds can best support the goals of this program. Funding will be provided in three installments, after the completion of each Learning Exchange. In exchange, Institutional Partners and Fellows are expected to commit the time necessary to full participation in CRF.