Philanthropy and Social Enterprise Fellowship FAQ

The Spirit of Detroit monument by Marshall Stacks.

How do I apply for the Philanthropy and Social Enterprise Fellowship?
To apply for Humanity in Action’s Philanthropy and Social Enterprise Fellowship, please fill out our online application.

When is the deadline for applications?
The deadline for submitting an application for the Philanthropy and Social Enterprise Fellowship has passed.

When will I be notified about the results of my application?
Humanity in Action contacted applicants in March 2015. 

I am currently completing my bachelor’s degree. Can I apply?
No. In order to be eligible to apply, candidates must have completed a bachelor’s degree. 

I am not a U.S. citizen, but I live and work in the United States. Can I apply?
Yes. All applicants must currently reside in the United States and intend to conduct research about American philanthropic or entrepreneurial trends. The program is not open to candidates living elsewhere or conducting research about other regions of the world. 

What are the program dates for the Philanthropy and Social Enterprise Fellowship?
We met in Detroit, Mich., from March 19-21, 2015. We reconvened in New York City for three more days of meetings from October 15-17, 2015. In the interim period, participants were expected to conduct research on their own schedules. Participants must submit brief reports to Humanity in Action in early September 2015.

I am not able to apply this year. Can I apply next year?
At this point, we do not plan to run the Philanthropy and Social Enterprise Fellowship beyond 2015.

What costs does Humanity in Action cover during the Philanthropy and Social Enterprise Fellowship?
Humanity in Action covers most costs of participation in the Philanthropy and Social Enterprise Fellowship. Humanity in Action covered all hotels and local transportation for Senior Fellows as well as airfare/train subsidies of up to $300 for travel to Detroit and up to $250 for travel to New York. In addition, Humanity in Action gave each Senior Fellow a stipend of $1,000 to cover expenses associated with the independent research period. Humanity in Action covered the costs of some meals.

What are the requirements for the research projects?
Your research project should explore a local trend in philanthropy and/or social entrepreneurship in your own community. You are free to choose the exact subject. We are particularly interested in projects that explore how the philanthropic and/or entrepreneurial landscapes have changed in the five years since the financial crisis. We are interested in innovations and new practices in both sectors that address the local context and challenges of your own community. 

We do not expect exhaustive research or comprehensive studies. We also do not expect quantitative studies, although quantitative work will be welcomed. What we do expect is the following: rigorous, thoughtful work that reflects the values and core inquiries of Humanity in Action and is built upon interviews and in-depth conversations with scholars and practitioners.

Can my research build upon my graduate research?
If your proposed project relates to your graduate research, please consult with Anthony Chase, Director of Programs (, before writing your proposal. In general, we expect participating Senior Fellows to conduct new and original research.

Do I have to conduct research in or about Detroit or New York?
No. These two cities provide the venue and the programmatic inspiration for the fellowship. However, we expect participating Senior Fellows to conduct research about other cities – the communities in which they reside.

What are Humanity in Action’s goals in relation to the research component?
The research component of the Philanthropy and Social Enterprise Fellowship serves to advance two goals. First, the research should enrich the participating Senior Fellows. It should provide personal and professional development as well as a venue for reconnecting with Humanity in Action and other Senior Fellows. The research component should provide an opportunity for Senior Fellows to engage in an inquiry that is of personal interest and that might be unrelated to their everyday careers or graduate studies. It should also provide the opportunity for Senior Fellows to meet with community leaders and leaders in philanthropy, government and social enterprise. Finally, we hope that the process of conducting research and engaging in the program’s discussions inspired a sustained commitment on the part of the Senior Fellows to public service. 

Second, the research projects introduced meaningful new ideas in the fields of philanthropy and social enterprise. The research should help philanthropic and community organizations better understand their own work and the efforts of other organizations. The Senior Fellows contributed to the organizations and social businesses that they study by sharing fresh perspectives and by connecting them to other, complementary organizations and social businesses. Humanity in Action disseminated the Senior Fellows’ research reports in an effort to spread knowledge about new and best practices – as well as local setbacks and challenges – in philanthropic and entrepreneurial fields.  

What will Humanity in Action do with the research reports?
We published the brief research reports on Humanity in Action’s website and share them with philanthropic professionals and entrepreneurs as well as Humanity in Action’s global network. The research conducted by Senior Fellows contributed to Humanity in Action’s growing library of Action Projects, policy memos, essays, podcasts, films and original research. Diverse in medium and intellectual approach, these important works advance Humanity in Action’s mission and mandate.