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Apply to the CORE Fellowship Program

Equity-Centered Capacity Building

Information to Apply to the CORE Fellowship Program

CORE Benefits of Fellowship Partication

The Core Fellowship offers several benefits for fellowship participation, which includes the following:

• leadership development
• in-depth equity and/or organizational development assessment
• guidance from technical assistance consultant on the development of an equity-centered capacity building
• time to carry out an equity-centered capacity building project
• coaching
• and connection to a network of nonprofit leaders.

In addition to these benefits, the CORE Fellowship offers a $25,000 grant to each participating organization. Each organization will receive a $10,000 general operating award during the first year, $15,000 to support an equity-centered capacity building project during the second year, and coaching support during the third year, contingent upon meeting program requirements.


In order to qualify for a grant, the proposed grantee must be a qualified charitable organization. Grants may be recommended to any 501(c)(3) public charity or verified charitable entity (e.g., schools, colleges and universities, religious institutions, town and municipal governments, etc.) with services delivered in Lehigh or Northampton County.

Below are important factors to consider when individuals and organizations are applying for the fellowship. 

  • Two people must participate from the organization. The purpose for this requirement is to provide an adequate level of support for each fellow, both in the program and also at the fellow’s institution. Examples could include an executive director and board chair. It also could include an executive director and an emerging leader. 
  • If there is a barrier to the 2-person requirement, please reach out to Megan Briggs at sends e-mail)
  • At least one of the individuals applying to participate must be an individual who has the ability to make strategic decision-making at the organization. 
  • LVCF highly encourages emerging leaders that identify as Black, Latinx/o/a, Indigenous, Asian American Pacific Islanders, or a Person of Color, as well as LGBTQ+, specifically Transgender individuals, and/or People Living with Disabilities to participate as a fellow. 
  • The host organization must commit to following the recommendations of the fellows in selecting a capacity building project for the second year. 
  • In a traditionally white-led institution, if a Black, Latinx/o/a, Indigenous and/or Person of Color leader participates, LVCF requires that half of the general operating award ($5,000) in year 1 supports a program/project/initiative within the organization that the leader chooses. 

Fellow and Host Organization Commitments:

Both the CORE Fellow and their host organizations must commit to being a part of the CORE Fellowship program for two years. In addition to the commitments listed below by year, the Community Foundation and our partners view this work as a learning opportunity, therefore will regularly integrate ways to receive and give feedback throughout the process. The Fellow and their host organization must be willing to participate in this feedback loop. 

Year 1 Commitments:

The CORE Fellow must commit to: 

  • Attendance at an orientation, and during 25-30 hours of cohort work throughout the program cycle. The meetings will be held in a hybrid structure with both in-person and virtual convenings. All in-person convenings will be held with consideration of health and safety regulations. The planned schedule for the 2024-2026 cohort will be made available shortly.
  • Being available and prepared for coaching sessions with selected coach.  
  • Available for check-ins with LVCF.  
  • Participating in learning and evaluation activities (i.e. surveys, conversations, etc.).  

The host organization must commit to: 

  1. Undergoing an equity discovery process, which will be guided by a consultant, in order to help inform the project selection for year 2. 
  1. Following the recommendations of the fellows in selecting a capacity building project for the second year. 
  1. In a traditionally white-led institution, if a Black, Latinx/o/a, Indigenous, and/or Person of Color participates, the organization commits to allocating 50% of the general operating award in year 1 to support a program/project/initiative within the organization that the fellow(s) select(s). 
  1. Organizational leadership (including board members) will be available for a workshop on equity in nonprofit organizations. 
  1. Organizational leadership will be available for check-ins on progress of the program. 

Year 2 Commitments:

The CORE Fellow must commit to: 

  • Participating in a quarterly Fellow Cohort Community of Practice, which will be no more than 16 hours of time. 

The host organization must commit to: 

  • Working on an equity-centered capacity building project 
  • Organizational leadership (including board members) will be available for a workshop on equity in nonprofit organizations. 
  • Organizational leadership will be available for check-ins on progress of the program. 
  • Submission of a progress report 

Timeline for Grant Application

February 12 – April 8: Application Window; To access the application and apply during the open period, please go to LVCF’s grant portal Click here. 

To see an application preview | Click here.

March 4 10:00 – 11:30 AM: CORE Fellowship logistical and fellowship structure meeting – come to this event if you intend to apply to learn more about the structure of the fellowship and the logistics of submitting an application. Register here:

April 22 at 11:59 PM: Date of Application Submission

June 2024: Grant Notifications Sent to All Applicants

July 2024-June 2025: CORE Fellowship Year #1

July 2025-June 2026: CORE Fellowship Year #2

Key Notes for Application Process:

Please note this application requires responses from each individual fellow applicant, in addition to a response from the organizational perspective.It is a requirement that two fellows apply from each applicant organization. Instructions are included below: 

  • Organization responses are collected in LVCF’s grants portal. A preview of the application can be found here: Click here.

  • A link is provided in the application for each fellow’s individual response. LVCF is providing a separately linked form for fellow’s individual responses to uphold confidentiality in fellow submissions. Therefore, it is the individual fellow’s decision to share application responses with their organization. LVCF will not share individual fellow applicant responses with organizational contacts.

    To view the form for the fellow application, please visit here. You may preview all fellow questions for planning purposes here, although final answers must be submitted in the linked form.  The application will be evaluated by looking at both the fellows’ individual responses and the organization’s response. 

  • Organizations who wish to apply for this grant MUST complete an Organization Profile Form prior to the Application. To access the profile form, log into Foundant. Click the Apply icon on your homepage and select LVCF Organization Profile Form. Here is a preview of the form: LVCF Organization Profile Form PDF

  • Video Responses: All applicants have the option to submit their answers to the narrative questions as a video or voice recording rather than written text.  Applicants should only submit one response to each question, either written OR video/audio. Applicants may choose to answer via written text for some questions and video or audio for others. Please be mindful of the time limits listed in each question when recording video or audio responses. To use this option, please see the 2024 Video Instructions | Download PDF.  

  • Each question specifies the character limits or video time limits. You do not need to fill the character or time limits. Simple and short answers are also welcome, as long as you have responded to the question. 

  • In filling out the application, it is an opportunity to engage among all levels of staff and board in application submission. Evaluators are looking for a level of organizational buy-in from both staff and board. 

  • 2024-2026 CORE Fellowship Video Instructions for Applying | Download PDF

Program Key Dates for 2024-2026

2024-2026 CORE Fellowship Key Dates | Download PDF

Evaluation Criteria

LVCF is looking for fellows that:

  • Have a demonstrated commitment to doing equity work, even if early on in their work.
  • Willing to champion their learnings at their host institution.
  • Are committed to the following values:
    • Actively engaging in self-reflection and personal examination
    • Embracing the full spectrum of human emotions, from joy to pain and everything in between.
    • Approaching learning opportunities with humility
    • Building deep relationships based on authenticity.
    • Adopting an abundance mindset and dropping the competition (scarcity) mindset

LVCF is looking for organizations that:

  • Have selected the two participating fellows with intention.  
  • Recognize that advancing racial equity is central to achieving their mission and integral to their strategy, programs, and operations, not as isolated activities.
  • Demonstrate sufficient desire and readiness to change, including:
    • The journey has already started.
    • The organization has a demonstrated commitment to and capacity for collaborative processes.
    • Organizational staff leadership is fully involved; the board is at least informed, supportive, and prepared to engage when the time is right.
    • The organization is ready to dedicate the time necessary.
  • Are willing and able to support fellows through this process.
  • Have the capacity to participate in this required fellowship work.

Glossary of Terms

CORE Fellowship Glossary – Many of the terms used in the program description require definition, therefore we created a glossary that we consider a work-in-progress as a resource for applicants.