Below are frequently asked questions about eligibility, expectations and the application and selection process.
If you have questions about the LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership that are not covered here or elsewhere on our website, email Danielle Carbonneau at dcarbonneau [at] lafoundation.org.
Contact us at least one week in advance of the deadline with any clarifying questions about your application.
How will the coronavirus pandemic affect the fellowship?
Because leadership and innovation are most needed in times like these, the LAF Fellowship program will proceed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of the fellowship takes place remotely even without the pandemic. In terms of the three residencies and final symposium, LAF will monitor public health information and local guidance to determine whether it is safe and appropriate to hold these as in-person events. For any residency that is held virtually, LAF will not provide the Fellows with a travel and lodging stipend. For any in-person events, the health-related circumstances of each Fellow will be taken into consideration and virtual alternatives will be provided, as appropriate.
Depending on the course of the coronavirus pandemic, my proposed project may look very different. What happens if I am selected but cannot pursue my project as planned?
The ability of applicants to pursue their projects during the pandemic will be considered in the selection process. As such, projects that center around in-person events, activities, or mass gatherings may not be as competitive for the 2021-2022 fellowship year. That being said, the point of the LAF Fellowship is to take a step back to reflect and gather input, and as a result, many of the Fellows’ projects evolve or shift from what was originally envisioned. Not pursuing a project exactly as planned is a natural part of the process.
Can a team, rather than an individual, apply for a Fellowship?
Only individuals, not teams, can apply for the LAF Fellowship and participate in the residencies and monthly calls. However, the proposed project may be a team or group project, provided that the applicant is the team lead and meets the eligibility requirements. If selected, the LAF Fellow may choose to share the $25,000 award among team members.
If I applied in the past but was not selected, may I reapply?
Yes, definitely. If you were not selected in the past, please review the fellowship description, project guidance, and Selection Process criteria to better understand what makes for a strong application. Each year, we review and refine our descriptions and guidance so that applicants can better prepare their applications.
Are selected Fellows required to take 3 months off of work?
Each Fellow is expected to devote the equivalent of 3 months’ time to the fellowship and to realizing their proposed project. This time investment is made over the course of a full year, and the $25,000 award is intended to offset any lost wages. Since the distribution of this approximately 12-week break in employment is at the discretion of the Fellow, it does not need to be taken all at once.
How are fellowship payments made?
The financial award associated with the LAF Fellowship is paid to the individual Fellow. Each Fellow is responsible for paying any applicable taxes on this income. The intention of the financial award is to help offset any lost wages due to our expectation that Fellows devote the equivalent of 3 months’ time to the fellowship and to realizing their proposed projects. But there are no restrictions on how the money can be spent.
The award is distributed in three payments of $8,333.33 upon successful completion of each Residency. Attendance at residencies—whether held virtually or in-person—and the submission of all deliverables associated with each residency is mandatory for payment of funds.
Do references and citations count toward the maximum word count?
No. References and citations are excluded from the maximum word counts and page limits for the various application materials.
Does my budget have to be equal to $25,000?
The $25,000 award is to give Fellows the financial support needed to take the equivalent of three months away from their regular work. It is not required that Fellows use this money to fund their projects. At the same time, it is important for applicants to be able to demonstrate that they have thought through all of the financial requirements of their proposal and that they will have the funding necessary to carry out the project should they be selected.
What is the difference between a Reference Letter and the Employer Letter of Support?
Applicants are required to submit one Reference Letter and one Employer Letter of Support.
The Reference Letter should be submitted by a professional or academic reference (e.g., previous employer, client, colleague, community leader, professor) The letter should address the applicant’s capacity to complete the project and their ability to lead and mentor others.
The Employer Support Letter is a signed letter written by an applicant’s employer or supervisor acknowledging their support for the applicant taking time off (approximately 12 weeks) from work to devote time to the fellowship. The letter should also address the applicant’s capacity to complete the project and their ability to lead and mentor others. If an applicant is self-employed or unemployed at time of application, they should submit one additional Reference Letter in place of the Employer Support Letter.
Where should the Reference Letter and Employees Support Letter be mailed?
All application materials must be submitted through SlideRoom, LAF’s online application portal. Applicants obtain the letters and upload a PDF copy to SlideRoom.
If I am not selected this year, can I get feedback on my application in preparation to apply again next year?
Due to capacity limitations, feedback will only be provided to short-listed applicants, as requested. Although the LAF Fellowship jury members change from year to year, our advice to all applicants is to ensure that your application is complete and that your project proposal is clear.
Award & Expectations