We are not accepting applications at this time.  We will only consider applications submitted during the stated application timeframe, and we will only accept one applicant per organization.

Community Application Period
Central New York closed
Cleveland, Ohio closed
Birmingham, Alabama closed
Albuquerque, New Mexico closed
Eastern North Carolina (Edgecombe,
Halifax, Nash, Northampton, Warren,
Wayne, & Wilson Counties)
Portland, Oregon closed
Mid South Region closed
Greater Newark Area closed
Kansas City Area (Kansas City, MO, Kansas City, KS, Jackson County, MO, Cass County, MO, Lafayette County, MO, Wyandotte County, KS, Johnson County, KS and Allen County, KS) closed

Fellowship Awards & Expectations

Up to 30 individuals will be selected to participate in the program from each of the eight targeted communities. Travel will be required for the three face-to-face program sessions conducted at a Center for Creative Leadership campus. All tuition and fees (including travel expenses) will be covered by the fellowship award. The selected fellows must be willing and able to commit the time necessary to fully participate in the program. Attendance at all events as well as participation in the program’s evaluation (occasional surveys and/or phone interviews or focus groups) is required if fellowship award is accepted.


Only one applicant from each organization will be considered. A qualified applicant must:

  • be an early- to mid-career professional with one to five years of supervisory experience;
  • be an employee of a community-based, health or health-related nonprofit or government organization that serves vulnerable populations;
  • work in one of the priority communities targeted by the initiative;
  • commit to the 16-month leadership development initiative and curriculum
  • have the support of his or her organization’s executive director or senior leader and its Board of Directors; and
  • be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its territories at the time of application.

Selection Criteria

We will chose applicants based on the following criteria:

  • demonstrated record of accomplishment within the nonprofit sector.
  • potential for assuming leadership roles in the nonprofit health and health care field as evidenced by prior experience, accomplishments, membership on external boards and committees, references; and
  • proven commitment to serving vulnerable populations and improving their health outcomes.

This program has a national advisory committee that makes funding recommendations to Foundation staff. RWJF makes all award decisions; the Foundation and National Program Office do not provide individual critiques of submitted applications.

Ladder to Leadership Curriculum and Time Commitment

The 16-month Ladder to Leadership program requires the following amount of time away from the office:

  • Kickoff meeting in targeted community – 1.5 days
  • Process orientation webinar (90 minute online meeting)
  • Three face-to-face program sessions at a CCL campus (please note, these time estimates do not include travel)
    • Session I – 4 days
    • Session II – 3 days
    • Session III – 3 days
  • Commencement ceremony & final program meeting in targeted community – 1.5 days
  • Action Learning Leadership Process (ALLP) – fellows will engage in a minimum of 5 community-based team meetings to work on ALLP projects throughout the 16-month program. The dates and locations for these meetings will be determined collaboratively by team members. Teams will be formed and projects selected during the kickoff meeting in the targeted community. Approximately five hours each week will be spent engaged in ALLP team work.

Application Instructions:

Complete application must be submitted via this website along with the following attachments: [NOTE: No application will be considered without all documentation and must be submitted via this website.]

To apply, please follow these steps:

  1. Download and complete this Application document (.doc) (save this Microsoft Word document to your local computer)
  2. Gather the following separate documents/information (you will be asked to upload these as enclosures in the application form)
    • Application document (see step 1 above)
    • Resume
    • Personal statement of desire and commitment
      • This statement should not exceed 500 words and should illustrate how you believe participating in this development process will help you, your organization, and the constituents you serve.
    • A verification of your organization’s 501(c)(3) tax status
    • Organization’s statement of commitment
      • This statement from your Executive Director should not exceed 500 words and should address the following:
        • Describe this applicant’s potential for assuming future leadership roles.
        • How will you support this applicant throughout the 16 month Ladder to Leadership program?
        • How will having this applicant participate in Ladder to Leadership help your organization now and in the future?
        • What do we need to know about your community that will help this applicant be successful in applying what he or she learns?
    • Two (2) letters of recommendation (as separate documents)
      • one from a board member, and one from someone other than your Executive Director
  3. Once you have gathered these documents, click here to submit your application.

For more information, please contact Christy Ezzell at 336.286-4580.