Our Model

What makes StartingBloc different from other organizations in the sector?
How would StartingBloc benefit my personal and professional growth?
What’s your theory of change?
Is StartingBloc a partisan organization?
What is the best part of joining the Fellowship?
How can I support StartingBloc?

Applications and Future Fellows

When are applications due?
How can I apply to become a Fellow?
Is there a fee to apply?
Are there age limits for applicants?
Do I have to be an entrepreneur?
I applied last time and did not get selected, can I reapply?
What are the selection criteria to become a StartingBloc Fellow?

Costs and Attendance

What is the cost for attending the Institute?
Do you offer financial aid?
If I need to cancel my attendance, will my tuition be refunded?
What if I am interested in attending a different Institute?
Can I attend the Institute as an international participant?
Do you offer payment plans?

Institute Logistics

What’s a typical day like at the Institute?
When does the Institute start and finish?
Is participation in all Institute sessions required?
Does StartingBloc cover the costs of travel?
Where do I stay during the Institute?
I have more questions, who can I ask?

Current Fellows

I just went through my Institute. What now?
I want to connect to Fellows in my city. How do I do that?
How do I describe StartingBloc on my resume and professional profiles?
How do I talk to my friends about StartingBloc?
How do I update my contact information with StartingBloc?

Partnering with StartingBloc

How can my organization or school partner with StartingBloc?
How can my company or organization sponsor StartingBloc?
What role do graduate school partners play in the Fellowship?


Our Model

What makes StartingBloc different from other organizations in the sector?

Other organizations focus on incubating ideas or projects. At StartingBloc, we focus on incubating the individual as part of a larger community. No matter what your goal is, be it changing careers or launching a start-up – we’ll help you get there. When you decide you want to quit the start-up and escape to an NGO in Brazil, weʼll help you get there. StartingBloc Fellows are Fellows for life, regardless of what they’re working on.

How would StartingBloc benefit my personal and professional growth?

We’ll tell you what our Fellows tell us. 76% of Fellows report greater clarity of purpose, passion & goals after attending an Institute. 84% agree that StartingBloc enhanced the social or environmental impact of their work.

21% of Fellows were promoted or took on a leadership role after attending StartingBloc and 80% report that StartingBloc contributed significantly to their professional growth.

If you’re ready to invest generously in yourself and in community (time, energy, resources), the StartingBloc Fellowship will meet you in your efforts.

What’s your theory of change?

StartingBloc fundamentally believes that people already have the capacity, the compassion and the wherewithal to begin to operate within different paradigms of being, working, and creating together.

Our theory of change posits that shared experience and community provide a basis for belonging, and that people are able to accelerate their own development faster when they feel that they belong. That’s why all of our Fellows share the experience of a StartingBloc Institute, and fundamentally why we believe that they are able to grow and develop alongside and with one another.

Is StartingBloc a partisan organization?

StartingBloc is a non-partisan organization. We are, at our core, opposed to discrimination based on any identity category. We uplift the values of radical inclusion, of shared power, and of love.

What is the best part of joining the Fellowship?

Hands down, that would be the other Fellows. We ask our Fellows every year, and they always give the same answer.

We hear stories of new best friends, roommates, mentors, and even romances. As a Fellow you have access to a network of 2,500 Fellows across the world and this community will host you when you travel to a new city, offer valuable career advice, and celebrate your greatest successes with you.

How can I support StartingBloc?

Time: If you’re a Fellow, come back and Mentor or Volunteer at an Institute. Lead your region’s meet-ups and support new Fellows in getting connected to the Fellowship. If you see an #ask from a Fellow on a Facebook group, respond. If you want to support the StartingBloc team on specific projects and have at least 10 hours a week for a month, let us know.

Energy: Show up for Fellows events in your region, and be present during Institutes. Talk about StartingBloc in your media interviews. If you’re a Fellow, help the team to nominate new Fellows (link) to join the Fellowship. Support the StartingBloc team by facilitating connections to potential funding opportunities, speakers, or sponsorships.  If you’re a Fellow, submit a testimonial (link to form), or be featured (link to wufoo – spotlight form). Complete Fellow-only impact surveys and contribute feedback to the StartingBloc team.

Resources: Invest in Fellows. Invest in their work, support their causes, and support incoming Fellows as they fundraise to join the Fellowship. Give monthly to grow the inclusivity of the Fellowship and the power of our programming.

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Applications and Future Fellows

When are applications due?

Applications are accepted for each Institute on a rolling basis. Please check the application page for more information.

How can I apply to become a Fellow?

Simply complete our online application. The application consists of a a few questions about you, asks you to submit a link to your LinkedIn profile (or a resume if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile) and 3 short answer questions (150 words).

Is there a fee to apply?

There is a $40 fee to apply to StartingBloc. This fee is used to pay for the time to review and accept incoming applicants.

Are there age limits for applicants?

You must be 18 or older to apply to StartingBloc.

Do I have to be an entrepreneur?

Absolutely not! Most candidates enter the Fellowship without ever having started a venture (and many never intend to). While we have many entrepreneurs come to StartingBloc, we intentionally encourage intrapreneurs to apply. We consider intrapreneurs to be people who are leading positive shifts within an existing system or company. For example, one of our Fellows founded a pro-bono branch at the consulting firm that she works for.

In addition to entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, we welcome lawyers, ballet dancers, and anyone else who wants to make a positive difference in any social sector. StartingBloc activates people; it is not a business incubator. Because of that, our focus is on the leadership potential of the individuals entering the Fellowship. We follow these leaders throughout their careers, whether they’re working at companies or organizations, or starting their own.

I applied last time and did not get selected – can I reapply?

Absolutely. The fact that a person has applied more than once certainly won’t hurt his/her chances of being accepted to the Fellowship. In fact, the Admissions Committee often looks favorably on the dedication of someone who applies again.

What are the selection criteria to become a StartingBloc Fellow?

Some examples of who’s in the room:

Women. 60% of the room is Female-identifying
Professionals. Think StartingBloc is only for entrepreneurs? We’ve certainly got ’em (and over 100 ventures started by our Fellows) but 56% of the room are self-identified professionals working in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors.
All ages. StartingBloc Institutes are intergenerational rooms, and we like it that way. We have folks from the age of 18-70 in the Fellowship.

What’s the common thread between everyone? A deep commitment to a different vision for leadership. To authenticity. To excellence. To competence. To community.

Applications are judged for demonstrated desire, potential, and capacity to effect positive change in the world.

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Costs and Scholarships

What is the cost for attending the Institute?

Institute tuition is $1,250. For more information, please visit our page on costs and scholarships.

Do you offer financial aid?

StartingBloc offers more than $25,000 in need-based scholarships for each Institute.

We’ve created a Fundraising Toolkit so that accepted Fellows can raise their tuition. For a step-by-step guide to getting it done, check out our Fundraising Toolkit.

If I need to cancel my attendance, will my tuition be refunded?

Currently, our cancellation policy for the Institutes is as follows:

We are able to refund everything but the $250 non-refundable deposit by this schedule:

We will refund you in full up to 60 days before the Institute.
We will refund you 50% up to 30 days before the Institute.
With less than 30 days before the Institute, we are not able to offer a refund, except under the circumstance of a visa denial.

What if I am interested in attending a different Institute?

StartingBloc does not allow Fellows to defer their Fellowship opportunity except due to extreme medical reasons, family loss or visa denials.

Given recent executive action in the United States, any new applicants to StartingBloc who are accepted with refugee status or citizenship in any banned countries will be eligible for indefinite deferral status without penalty of any kind.

StartingBloc reserves the right to evaluate each deferral request on a case-by-case basis.

In the case of an emergency, acceptees may only qualify for one deferral if the $250 deposit has been paid. If it has not been paid, the applicant will have to re-apply to a future Institute and forfeit their scholarship (if applicable).

Can I attend the Institute as an international participant?

Yes. Please visit the USCIS website for information on visas. Applicants requiring a visa are encouraged to apply as early as possible for a visa (and for the their Institute of choice) to allow time for visa preparations. Please note that visa processing times vary in different countries and you may be required to visit the U.S. consulate in your country. It’s the fellows responsibility to arrange for a visa interview directly with the U.S. consulate in their home country, as well as check all visa application requirements. StartingBloc does not provide legal immigration advice but can provide a visa support letter. If you are accepted to an Institute and require a visa to enter the U.S., please complete this form to receive a letter of support from StartingBloc.

Do you offer payment plans?

StartingBloc offers a variety of payment plan structures to break down the tuition costs in advance of Institutes. Please contact Annika at annika@startingbloc.org directly with all questions about payment plans.

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The Institute

What’s a typical day like at the Institute?

Each day of the Institute has a different theme: Off the Bloc, Owning Your Vision, Taking Action, Pass the Mic, and The Road Ahead.

Each day has a mix of speakers, interactive sessions, and time to collaborate with other fellows. Check out an example of one of our agendas here NOLA’17 Agenda to get an idea of what each day is like. At the end of each day we’ll host a reception at a nearby bar or restaurant where you’ll be able to relax with new friends.

Please find more information our Institute page.

When does the Institute start and finish?

Each Institute will begin Thursday at approximately 9:00am and will end Monday evening at 5:00pm. If accepted, please refer to your welcome packet for more details.

Is participation in all Institute sessions required?

Yes. In order to become a StartingBloc Fellow, accepted Fellows must participate in all sessions of the Institute.

Does StartingBloc cover the costs of travel?

No. All incoming and current StartingBloc Fellows are responsible for booking their own travel, lodging, and transportation to and from StartingBloc programs. StartingBloc assumes no liability or responsibility for these costs. We encourage all Fellows to evaluate risk in making arrangements to/from the Institute and to purchase travel and medical insurance for any flights or lodging to the U.S.

Where do I stay during the Institute?

StartingBloc does not provide accommodation for Fellows during the Institutes. Many Fellows, however, connect to one another and share housing in Airbnbs, hostels, and hotels. Once we receive your confirmation deposit, you’ll get access to your Institute’s online group and be able to coordinate with incoming Fellows. Otherwise, here are some ideas to get you started

I have more questions, who can I ask?

Please feel free to email answers@startingbloc.org.

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Current Fellows

I just went through my Institute. What now?

Congratulations! Welcome to the Fellowship. You can engage with StartingBloc in a number of ways, ranging from joining regional or affinity groups to applying for our pro-bono coaching program. This page has the complete list of options. While you’re thinking about it, consider leaving a testimonial here.

I want to connect to Fellows in my city. How do I do that?

Are you a current Fellow? If so, join the corresponding regional Fellows group on this page.

Are you interested in becoming a Fellow and connecting to current Fellows near you? Fill out this form and be sure to specify your current region!

How do I describe StartingBloc on my resume and professional profiles?

Fellows have been asking this question for years. A couple of ideas are “Social innovation fellowship program providing training in design thinking, polarity mapping, and transformative action.” or “Fellowship program for professionals across a variety of social impact careers that fosters cross-sector collaboration, learning, and capacity building.” 

For more information, check out some threads on the all-Fellows group here.

How do I talk to my friends about StartingBloc?

We thought you might ask that, so we made this to help you out

How do I update my contact information with StartingBloc?

Please fill out this form, and contact Annika at annika@startingbloc.org with your new information.

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Partnering with StartingBloc

How can my organization or school partner with StartingBloc?

Schools and organizations partner with StartingBloc in a myriad of ways. Typical partnerships are often a mix between cross-promotional opportunities and participation in essential parts of the Institute. There are also sponsorship opportunities to support recruiting goals. The StartingBloc team even travels to different companies and organizations to provide training and facilitation in leadership development. The sky’s the limit. Learn more here, and contact Annika at annika@startingbloc.org for more information.

How can my company or organization sponsor StartingBloc?

We have a number of different sponsorship opportunities for organizations, companies, and academic Institutions. Please take a moment to review this overview, visit our partner page, and then email Annika at annika@startingbloc.org with further questions.

What role do graduate school partners play in the Fellowship?

StartingBloc partners are top MBA, policy, law, and other graduate programs interested in fostering social innovation. Our partners often:

• Host sessions or receptions during the Institutes
• Designate special sessions to coach Fellows on their application processes
• Give scholarships or preferred admission to StartingBloc Fellows
• Waive Fellows’ application fees to their programs

Not all partners offer the entire suite of services. Instead, each partner works with StartingBloc to offer one or more of the above to our Fellows.

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Got a question not answered on this page? Send us an email at answers@startingbloc.org.