Home | Fellowships | The Morgridge Acceleration Program Fellowship for Emerging Leaders | Wirkish, 2021

The Morgridge Acceleration Program Fellowship for Emerging Leaders | Wirkish, 2021

Deadline: July 23rd, 2021

The Morgridge Acceleration Program (MAP) Fellowship matches nonprofit executives, called MAP Mentors, with emerging leaders, called MAP Fellows, looking to create positive impact while developing professional skill sets and networks. Through the program, MAP Fellows collaborate with peers and industry leaders to challenge the status quo, foster new and meaningful connections, and spark the sustainable change needed to achieve a profound and lasting impact.

While driving impact for nonprofit organizations, MAP Fellows gain elite mentorship, executive coaching, networking opportunities, travel, and access into a tight-knit group of peers. This year, Forbes called the MAP Fellowship “a powerful opportunity for collaboration and innovative thinking.”

Nature of Fellowship

Twelve leading nonprofit executives representing different industries have issued unique challenges designed to engage MAP Fellows in the intense and rewarding experience of change-making. Fellows remain in their current, full-time jobs while dedicating approximately 10 hours a month, or 60 hours through the duration of the program, toward solving the challenge posed. In exchange, MAP Mentors commit to sharing their expertise, industry knowledge, and professional network with their MAP Fellow. Explore the mentors, their organizations, and the challenges they’re posing.


  1. Collective Impact
    For the Future of Work Grand Challenge, an initiative of New Profit, catalyzing systems change within the workforce sector is the ultimate goal. Workforce system today and the labor market of tomorrow, left unimpeded, will leave millions of workers behind. The path towards an equitable future of work means the adoption of proximate expertise, the centering of worker voice, and uplifting inclusivity into workforce development practices. It also means listening to the recommendations of the people who know this work better than anyone else – the entrepreneurs who are solving the very problems they themselves have faced. A key component of New Profit’s larger goal of instilling equity into the workforce system involves scaling insights surfaced from proximate workforce entrepreneurs and workers as best practices.
  2. Data Communication
    The COMMIT Foundation seeks to provide high-touch transition support that becomes the standard nationwide so veterans in all communities can access services, helping them identify their passions, build strong networks, and leverage their skills in civilian careers. By showing impact in a data supported and creative way, the COMMIT Foundation will more deeply engage the ecosystem (mentors, stakeholder, donors, community partners, and others) and recruit a more diverse pool of program participants.
  3. Podcasting
    By curating a podcast that invites the biggest names in literature to both tell gorgeous stories and showcase the personalities behind their bestselling works, we’re creating an exciting platform to elevate Brink’s nonprofit mission. This challenge will act as the compass for this innovative step forward, carving a path for a podcast to build nonprofit brand awareness, reach enough listeners to open sponsorships opportunities, and—most importantly—allow Brink to stay on the cutting edge of elevating the voices of people living on the brink.
  4. Data Analysis
    MIT Solve has a wealth of data on the status of entrepreneurship globally. Understanding the data that they have will help to: 1) better refine the organization’s selection criteria and position MIT Solve as the preeminent marketplace for social impact innovation in the world, 2) better refine their Solver program to accelerate the growth of Solver teams, 3) better direct their philanthropic investment capital toward scalable solutions, and 4) help them to ‘coach-up’ all Solver teams to ensure that they are supporting under-networked and under-represented founders to promote entrepreneurship regardless of background.
  5. Partnerships
    An ABA education program hosted by local universities would allow Firefly to create a pathway for students to complete an internship within the organization, fulfilling practicum requirements beneath a board certified behavioral analyst (BCBA) and negating the need for an additional two years of supervised work after graduation. This would allow graduates to begin practicing immediately once they have passed their boards and receive their certifications, creating a more streamlined entry for new BCBAs in the field.
  6. Fundraising
    The fundraising plan will create long-term strategies and structure, will help align development efforts across all three CSU campuses (CSU, CSU Pueblo, and CSU Global) to maximize efficiency, will put transparent policies and procedures in place, and will leverage this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to engage with donors for the Spur campus. Funding will ultimately support programs designed to engage young people in topics and careers in STEM and the arts, and inspire Spur visitors to apply their talents to global challenges in food, water, health, and sustainability.
  7. Program Strategy
    Getting Out Staying Out offers programming on an individual therapeutic model administered by licensed social workers, which has made expansion to serve more participants difficult to design. They have also found that their participants’ needs may not be entirely met in their current model. By better understanding the experience of the population they serve, they will be able to expand their offerings to reach more young people who have been impacted by the criminal justice system in New York City.
  8. Policy
    Established in 2018, the Institute for Science & Policy at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science aims for science to become a second-nature consideration in public discourse and policy making. To do this, there is a need to create practical yet ambitious solutions that break down science barriers for legislative decision makers. By creating a framework to evaluate the scientific merit of policy issues, it will be possible to elevate the role of the Institute in bringing solutions to policymakers and create the foundation for better informed decisions in Colorado and beyond.
  9. Digital Programming
    In 2020, a penguin named Wellington made a huge impact, exponentially increasing Shedd Aquarium’s reach, engagement and awareness while the aquarium was closed due to COVID-19. Shedd Aquarium pivoted quickly to paid virtual programming, implementing virtual summer camps, encounters and even hosting virtual overnights. While paid digital programming has long been a part of the organization’s strategic roadmap, those efforts accelerated and shifted in the last two years. Finding effective and efficient business models to meaningfully scale similar digital programming could have a dramatic impact on the aquarium’s ability to spark compassion, curiosity, and conservation for our blue planet.
  10. Strategic Communications
    While the Baucus Institute has several established programs, it is relatively new and is still working to articulate their impact. The Institute has grown rapidly over the past three years and is poised for major milestones, including the creation of a 501(c)(3) and building out a physical space at the University of Montana’s School of Law. Having an inclusive and strategic communication plan will engage potential students, donors, and other partners in their work. Articulating what they do, why it matters, and their plans for the future will also help guide the Baucus Institute to even more success for years to come.
  11. Scale Strategy
    BYEP has transformed the landscape of youth opportunity in the Gallatin Valley of Montana, helping vulnerable youth gain the skills and perspectives to become happy, healthy, contributing members of the community. With teen suicide rates on the rise and a lack of opportunity for teens in Montana, the hope is to create an infrastructure and plan for BYEP to complete a statewide expansion starting with a second location in Livingston, Montana. They’re looking for a talented fellow to research and implement best practices for the expansion plan to ensure successful growth.
  12. Storytelling
    Storytelling has been a part of the DNA of Dr. Goodall’s career from the very beginning, and has been instrumental to how she and the JGI have inspired global audiences, constituents, and donors for decades. As a new global brand is launched publicly, and the institute proactively aims to align media with core brand messages, there is an opportunity for more powerful storytelling than ever before. The new brand roll out offers an opportunity to increase staff competency and confidence in their communications representing the institute.

Highlights & Benefits

From October 2021 through March 2022, MAP Fellows commit to opportunities that foster community, personal and professional growth, as well as leadership development. They’ll bring the lessons they learn and relationships they build back to their full-time positions, sharing the knowledge and networks they gain with their primary employer and colleagues.

  • Challenge
    Mentors identify a specific challenge facing their organization that fellows commit to solving over six months. Each fellow pledges approximately 10 hours a month to solve the problem at hand. Along the way, mentors provide hands-on guidance and knowledge.
  • Challenge Fund
    Up to $4,000, generously underwritten by The Rieschel Family Foundation, is available for each organization to test, explore, and further innovate their challenge solution with their fellow. Proposals for the funds must be received by November 15, 2021 and will be approved pending challenge relevance.
  • Kick-Off Event
    The kick-off event, hosted in-part by MindSpark Learning, is designed to be immersive, hands-on, and fun, challenging fellows to grow leadership skills and develop the strategies needed for their solutions to thrive. Mentors join to discuss their challenges in-depth and build community with their cohort. The kick-off event will take place in Denver, Colorado, in early October 2021, pending CDC recommendations.
  • Coaching
    Fellows work with an executive coach to develop and achieve their personal and professional goals in the program. They will also work with a public-speaking coach to prepare for their culmination event presentations.
  • Mind Melds
    Fellows meet monthly for a virtual brainstorming session that mines the collective thought of their peers. Each fellow will host a Mind Meld to pose questions they are navigating while solving their challenge. The diverse perspectives and experiences of the cohort drive dialogue that inspires an innovative course of action.
  • Cohort Convenings
    Fellows and mentors participate in two virtual events that facilitate community-building. In the past, these events have included speed networking wine-tastings and challenging conversations sparked by a behind-the-scenes tour with the Denver Art Museum.
  • Nonprofit Site Visits
    Fellows visit their mentors for two days to allow fellows and mentors to work together on-site, as well as to provide the fellow an opportunity to shadow and observe their mentor in action. The site visit will take place according to CDC recommendations. Fellows and mentors must schedule their site visit by November 1, 2021, and complete their site visit by February 15, 2022.
  • Culmination Event
    The program culminates with an event where each fellow presents to an audience of public, private, and social sector leaders, providing them a platform to share their MAP experience. The culmination event will take place in Washington, D.C. in late March 2022, pending CDC recommendations.
  • Alumni Access
    Upon completion of the MAP Fellowship, all Fellows and Mentors join a thriving and continuously growing community. The alumni ecosystem is a space for networking, sharing ideas, asking questions, and supporting each other’s growth and success. This lasting community is one of the MAP Fellowship’s greatest strengths.


The MAP Fellowship focuses on unlocking and unleashing the potential of the next generation of social sector leadership. They’re searching for individuals who have demonstrated remarkable accomplishments early in their careers and who crave opportunity for collaboration and coaching from esteemed leaders in their field.

  • Imagination
    You are an emerging social impact leader with skills that allow you to tactically and creatively solve the MAP Challenge to which you are applying.
  • Initiative
    You have a track record of being the driver on a foggy road: navigating the uncertain, understanding when to ask for directions, and ultimately finding your way.
  • Integrity
    You do the right thing and will rise to commitments of the fellowship.

How To Apply

To apply to the MAP Fellowship, please prepare the following materials and submit them through the form below by Wednesday, July 28th 2021. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and candidates are highly encouraged to submit their materials as soon as possible.

All final candidates will have an interview directly with the mentor associated with the challenge to which they’re applying. Some may have a preliminary interview with a member of the MAP Fellowship team.

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