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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]

Contact us at least one week in advance of the deadline with any clarifying questions about your application.



Can a team, rather than an individual, apply for a Fellowship?
The project may be a team project, provided that the applicant to the fellowship is the Team Lead and meets the eligibility requirements. There are no restrictions on the size of the team, but if selected, only the Team Lead will be recognized as the LAF Fellow and participate in the fellowship. Teams may choose to share the $25,000 award.  

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 his/her 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.


Application Materials

Do references and citations count toward the maximum word count?
No. References and citations are excluded from the maximum word counts for the various application materials.

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.


Notification Process

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.

LAF Fellowship
Award & Expectations
Application Process
Fellowship FAQs
LAF Fellows

The LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership was launched in 2016 thanks to the generous support of donors to the LAF: 50 & Forward Campaign. We would like to specially thank the following organizations for their leadership and significant commitments to this campaign.