2023 NGen Fellows Program Details

Frequently Asked Questions

The NGen Fellows program provides changemakers throughout the country, 40 and under, an exceptional opportunity to participate in a leadership development program to strengthen their leadership capacity and grow their personal and professional network. For additional information, refer to About the 2023 NGen Fellows program.


The NGen Fellows program centers on six results designed to enhance the leadership capacity and personal and professional network of changemakers. At the end of the Fellows experience, changemakers will have enhanced  their ability to:

  1. Use self-awareness of their purpose, influence, values, leadership styles, assets, and support to engage and collaborate effectively.
  2. Analyze and address disparities using a racial equity lens of the “who, what, and how” of their social change work.
  3. Expand and share adaptive leadership skills to engage in difficult conversations; solve divisive, complex problems with others; and manage change.
  4. Understand how to use a results-based, data-driven practice to define impact, develop strategies, measure performance, and be accountable for results.
  5. Develop an analysis of system change levers, such as public policy, needed to achieve desired results, and tools and tactics for moving those levers.
  6. Engage a network of peers who support their leadership and results and gain access to influential leaders who can support their development and impact. 

Changemakers across nonprofits, foundations, corporations, academia, or movements are all eligible for application or nomination.

Leaders who are nominated or apply should:

  • Support unmet needs & advocacy for underrepresented communities,
  • Support small business or entrepreneurs with financial literacy or workforce development, and/or
  • Support nature-based solutions or climate-focused innovations on a community level.

Note: Applications are currently closed. If you applied for consideration, you will receive an auto-generated email with instructions. If you nominated a changemaker, that person should also receive an auto-generated email with instructions. As the nominator, it is important that you confirm that your nominee has received this email. Auto-generated emails are often blocked by spam filters. If the person you nominate does not receive the automated email, please resubmit the nomination form, or email ngenfellows@independentsector.org for support.


If you are an applicant with accessibility needs, or you nominate a changemaker with accessibility needs, we are available to provide accommodations to facilitate completion of the application. Please contact our team at ngenfellows@independentsector.org.


Submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee that includes staff from Independent Sector (IS), IS partner and member organizations, and NGen Fellows program alumni.

Our goal is for the 2023 Fellows to be a diverse cohort of highly talented changemakers across all sectors who are working to address critical societal challenges, but also want to expand their leadership capacity personally and professionally through a cohort driven fellowship experience. Our intention is for the cohort to include, but not be limited to: activists, community residents, organization leaders, community liaisons, youth development coordinators, program officers, case managers, community organizers, educators, human resource professionals, etc. 

Successful candidates should meet the following selection criteria through their application:

  • Demonstrate passion and leadership in the following areas:
    • Support unmet needs & advocacy for underrepresented communities,
    • Support small business or entrepreneurs with financial literacy or workforce development, and/or
    • Support nature-based solutions or climate-focused innovations on a community level.
  • Show self-awareness, vulnerability, and an openness to learning
  • Commitment and awareness of the impact of diversity, inclusion, and equity on social changework, and a willingness to engage on race equity in personal and professional conversations
  • Illustrate the potential to scale social impact and demonstrate the capacity for system change
  • Value collaboration and demonstrate their ability to collaborate on work with other changemakers within their sector or in cross-sector relationships  

Applicants will be notified of their selection status, and the 2023 NGen Fellows program cohort will be announced in May 2023. 
NOTE: Upon acceptance in the program, Fellows are required to sign and return an online commitment form within two business days. The form outlines program participation expectations and involves supervisor approval.

  • Changemaker applicants may come from all sectors, including but not limited to: nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, for-profit social enterprises, and government/public sector leaders.
  • As of Feb 27, applicants must be age 40 and under and reside in the United States.

Preference may be given to applicants who:

  • Are current Independent Sector members 
  • Have not previously participated in American Express Academy Leadership program
  • Identify as underrepresented or otherwise marginalized, including but not limited to:
    • Black, Indigenous, and persons of color
    • LGBTQIA+
    • Persons with a seen or unseen disability


The 2023 NGen Fellows program is a non-residential fellowship that includes seven virtual convenings, and one three-day in-person gathering. Please review the 2023 program schedule below.

Reading, assignments, and collaborative group work will require a time commitment in-between convenings. Fellows should expect a commitment of 3-5 hours per month outside of meeting times. Fellows are expected to complete pre-work in a timely manner and begin convenings ready to fully engage.

Fellows are responsible for arranging their schedule to meet time demands of virtual convenings. In a virtual world, your time is a major cost commitment to be proactively managed among your professional and personal duties.

Thanks to the generous support of American Express, acceptance into the program includes all fees, materials, and supplies related to the leadership development curriculum.

A stipend will be provided to honor your time and commitment to these convenings. Additionally, Fellows will receive complimentary registration to the three-day 2023 Upswell Summit in Dallas/Fort Worth, November 15-17, 2023, and travel and accommodation costs will be covered.