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GivingTuesday Opens Applications for Global Fellowship of Grassroots Leaders

15 Jul 2021 by GivingTuesday

The Starling Collective offers coaching and shared learning plus microgrants to support leadership development and catalyze generosity

GivingTuesday, the groundbreaking global generosity movement, announced the opening of applications for the 2021 cohort of the Starling Collective, an experimental learning lab and innovative fellowship designed to support creative, passionate grassroots leaders working to accelerate innovative approaches to catalyzing generosity, empathy, equity and justice. The program offers coaching, peer learning, and connection to GivingTuesday’s global community of movement leaders. Applications are open July 15 through September 1, 2021.

Applicants selected for the 2021 Starling Collective cohort will each receive microgrants of $2,000 USD to support leadership development or accelerate on-the-ground work. Participants will also have the opportunity to pitch their idea or initiative for a chance to receive additional funding at the end of the program. Selected participants will be announced in early October.

GivingTuesday launched the Starling Collective in the spring of 2020 as a response to the upheaval of the pandemic and the demands for social justice. Nearly 2,000 applications were submitted from 93 countries, and the inaugural cohort included 50 grassroots organizers, activists, artists and changemakers representing 29 countries, speaking 33 languages, and ranging in age from 11 to 71. These leaders created extraordinary impact through efforts that included creating new systems to combat food insecurity in Brazil, using art to fight racial injustice in the U.S. and raise awareness for disability rights in South Africa, engaging youth in philanthropy in Hong Kong, using technology to increase blood donations in Kenya, promoting a global campaign to end child labor, and organizing mutual aid networks and community care around the world. In the program’s first year, 100% of participants said the Starling Collective helped them achieve their objectives.

“We continue to see extraordinary leadership arising from within communities. Individuals are organizing grassroots efforts, mutual aid networks, and other community care activities to meet needs and provide healing. Much of this work is taking place beyond the bounds of traditional nonprofit organizations, yet it remains critically important for a thriving and connected society,” said Asha Curran, GivingTuesday CEO.  “Too often this kind of proximate leadership is underrecognized and undersupported. We created the Starling Collective as a way to celebrate and support these leaders while also breaking down common barriers that leave diverse voices and nontraditional movement builders on the sidelines.”

The Starling Collective connects leaders from around the world through skill-building, coaching, and peer-learning as well as microgrants to support leadership development and  accelerate on-the-ground work. The fellowship is a collaborative and supportive community of diverse grassroots changemakers. Barbara Kimigisa, an Ugandan HIV activist and founder of S.H.E. (Safe, Healthy and Empowered) ambassadors—an initiative that mentors young girls to speak up and step out to be the change in their communities—credits the Starling Collective experience in providing the support and tools to become a more vocal and active leader in her community. Barbara is an active participant of the Starling alumni community and continues to collaborate with leaders around the world to exchange ideas and encouragement. “It is a relief to know I can walk this journey with someone.”

To manage the program more effectively and equitably, GivingTuesday is expanding its team of global regional directors who will review and select applicants and also serve as mentors/coaches to participants. GivingTuesday’s Starling Collective Regional Directors include:

  • Catherine Mwendwa, Research and Stakeholder Engagement at Wasafiri and former GivingTuesday Kenya country leader, will serve as the Regional Director for Africa
  • Charlotte Arnø Storebakken, Project Manager for Norges Innsamlingsråd and GivingTuesday Norway country leader, will serve as the Regional Director for Europe
  • Cherisse Faith Beh, Senior Manager at Special Olympics Asia Pacific and former GivingTuesday Singapore leader, will serve as the Regional Director for Asia 
  • Esteban Oyarzo, former organizer of #UnDiaParaDar regional movement, will serve as the Regional Director for Mexico, Central and South America
  • João Paulo Vergueiro, CEO for the Brazilian Fundraisers Association (ABCR) and GivingTuesday Brazil country leader, will serve as the Regional Director for Brazil
  • ZJ Jallah, Operations & Partnerships Manager for YesLiberia! and GivingTuesday Liberia country leader, will serve as the Regional Director for Canada and the United States

To learn more and apply to be a part of the Starling Collective, visit  www.givingtuesday.org/starling


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