Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required





Frequently Asked Questions

Like any application process, there are multiple factors that contribute to an applicant being chosen.  As you consider if the BALLE Fellowship is the right fit for you, here are a few activities we strongly suggest you do before applying: (1) Review our application page and “What Does it Take to be a BALLE Fellow” section. If you meet all of the criteria listed under “What Does it Take to be a BALLE Fellow”, that is a strong starting point.  (2) Become familiar with the BALLE Fellows.  If your work is in alignment with our Fellows’ work, that is a great sign.  (3) Ask yourself questions such as, “What could I contribute to my cohort if I were chosen for the BALLE Fellowship?” “Can my organization support me operationally and/or financially if I’m chosen as a Fellow?”

Here are some of the key traits that we are looking for:

  • Proven track record: Minimum of three years' experience building local economy and community partnerships that yield results, including at least one year convening and coordinating locally owned businesses;
  • Commitment to current work: Commitment to stay in your current position or organization for a minimum of two years;
  • Confidence of your community: Recognition as a local economy leader from regional partner groups, nonprofits, the business community and relevant government agencies;
  • Representative of multiple cultures and experiences: Come from communities that represent the full diversity of North American society, with an emphasis on communities of color, low-income populations and regional diversity;
  • Bridge builder and fierce collaborator: Demonstrated examples of successful collaborations locally, regionally and/or nationally;
  • Clear vision: Clearly able to articulate your vision for what is possible, short and long-term, through your local economy work;
  • Financial viability: Proven track record with fundraising, financial management acumen, and ability to convene and maintain key partnerships;
  • Organizational viability:  Your organization is past the start-up phase, making it possible for you to attend eight convenings over eighteen months (six immersions and two national conferences)

Our fellowship program is only available to Local Economy Leaders in the United States and Canada.

While the focus of the program is peer-to-peer learning and the majority of the activities are in support of that, each immersion provides a mix of capacity-building training from world-class experts, experiential leadership development, peer learning, dialogue and hands-on collaborative work.  Fellows experience light coaching during and in between immersions.  

Over the course of two years, Fellows participate in six-eight gatherings during the program, which includes two BALLE conferences hosted in different parts of North America.  Fellows will also be expected to spend an average of four hours on BALLE Fellowship activities between immersions, which include calls and prep work to advance individual and collective goals.

BALLE Local Economy Fellows gain inspiration, skills, meaningful connection and impact in their communities.  Fellows walk away with:

  • Personal transformation and leadership development
  • Tools to activate their communities at home
  • Facilitation training
  • Communications toolkit
  • Skills to better work with racial/ethnic difference
  • Community capital tools
  • Impact and assessment tools
  • Expanded leadership role within the national Localist movement
  • Peer leadership network with BALLE fellows alumni, local economy funders and the broader BALLE learning community

Our immersions take place throughout North America.  Depending on location, most Fellows will be flying to attend the immersions and the two conferences that take place during the program.  For each cohort, we consider our Fellows’ home cities when planning immersion locations.

You can indicate your work with additional organizations in the application.

If you applied for a previous cohort and would like to be considered for a new cohort, we recommend you reapply drawing from your original application and update any information that has changed since you last applied.  (Once you apply through our website link, you will receive a copy of your application as an email attachment.  We recommend you keep that copy of your application for your records.)  If there has been an evolution or growth in your work and your organization, we want to know!

Fellows, or their organization, are responsible for travel costs (flights and ground transport). They are also asked to join the BALLE community of Champion Members ($500 annual fee), if they aren't members already.  BALLE pays for lodging, meals, training and support during immersion meetings. 

BALLE Fellows do not receive a stipend for their participation in the Fellowship.  BALLE offers Fellows entrance to a nationally-recognized fellowship program, lodging at retreat centers across the country for immersions, all meals at immersions, cutting-edge leadership training, national illumination of their work, and access to a network of key experts and leaders in the field.

We encourage early application, as Fellows will be selected on a rolling-admission basis, and selection will be closed when all Fellows have been chosen.

Selection process:

  • Submission of complete online application due July 31, 2015. (Application deadline extensions available upon request)
  • Review of online application by the review committee.
  • Finalists will be asked to provide three or four key partner references and participate in an interview.

We will have an informational session about the Fellowship during the 2015 BALLE Conference in Phoenix, AZ from June 10-12.  If you cannot attend the informational session or have additional questions that this FAQ page cannot answer, please contact Koy Hardy at or 510-587-9417 x104.