Host sites are selected through two processes: Pre-Confirmed & Applicant-Led.
Pre-confirmed hosts are communities that have applied to be a host, developed a project scope, and confirmed preliminary funding and structure to host. Lead For Minnesota then geo-targets our recruitment process to find Fellows to fill those placements. Applicant-Led placements are communities initiated by an applicant. Lead For Minnesota works with the candidate and proposed host to develop a match and structure for hosting.
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Co-Created Project Scope
Each Fellow's Project Scope is generated by the local community and adapted to take advantage of the Fellow's unique skills, passions, and talents. Fellowship applicants can initiate project scope and hosting conversations with a potential host in their hometown, and therein co-design a unique project scope that activates the passions of the Fellow as well as respond to a significant challenge facing the community. In pre-confirmed placements, Fellows work on community challenges specifically crafted by the Host Community for the purpose of the fellowship, and is further refined through a joint Envisioning Meeting between the Host and Fellow
Entrepreneurial Community Venture
Fellows conduct a Listening Tour of their community within the first quarter of their Fellowship, which inspires them to launch a Community Venture that is led by the Fellow and supported by community leaders. The Venture can be tangential to their Project Scope, or completely different. Fellows receive mentorship, inspiration, and model play-books from the LFA network to kickstart, implement, finance, and sustain their own Venture. Though localized to specific contexts, every Venture is designed with the aim of building relational and civic capacity within their community. Across the Project Scope and Community Venture, Fellows are empowered to do meaningful, imaginative, and transformative work.
By Year 2 of the Fellowship, each Fellow is expected to recruit an additional 5-10 young leaders to return, move to, or become activated to serve in their home community. This can look like attracting additional young leaders to apply for the Fellowship, get involved in your Community Venture, take on a full-time employment role in your community, bring their business to your town, etc.
Compensation + Financial Accessibility
Fellows receive a monthly scholarship that is calibrated to their community's average cost of living. LFMN anchors the base monthly scholarship off of the AmeriCorps Living Allowance guidelines per county. On top of the Living Allowance, Fellows are also guaranteed housing and health insurance. Opportunity for additional financial aid is available on a case-by-case basis. LFMN is also actively pursuing opportunities to provide education loan forbearance and financial awards to go towards loan repayment or future study.
Training + Education
Fellows receive training that grounds the fellowship in the relational foundation of community renewal & innovation. They begin their fellowship with a 4-day national summit (2021 was held in Shreveport, LA; 2019 held in Boston, MA) with all LFA Fellows, then a two-day orientation with their Hosts in Waseca, MN. They participate in four statewide retreats, discovering changemaking models in rural, tribal, and urban communities across Minnesota. Fellows receive professional development and civic engagement training from the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality, as well as technical support from community development organizations like Rethos MN Main Street, Dept. of Public Transformation, and Voices for Rural Resilience, as well as Land O'Lakes and Accenture. Each regional retreat focuses on a pillar of LFA's Convergent Leadership model, equipping Fellows with the conceptual and practical frameworks to bring to convergence the pillars of Foresight, Innovation, Service, and Justice within their change-making work.
Fellows are part of a national network and movement of bright young leaders from across the country. In addition to being together for a month of the Changemaker Summit and Catalyst Institute, they share learnings, challenges, and support one another through pod calls, retreats, fellow exchanges, and the building of lifelong friendships.
In addition, Fellows belong to the Luminary Network, an intimate community of dedicated mentors which include community development experts such as the New Localism's Bruce Katz, mayors and elected officials such as Ithaca, NY's youngest and first African American mayor Svante Myrick, Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Founder of RISE, Amanda Nguyen, and visionary social entrepreneurs like Baltimore Corps CEO Fagan Harris and Community Renewal International Founder, Mack McCarter. Mentors intimately support Fellows in launching their Community Projects, supporting the Project Scopes, and grounding Fellows in the larger call to holistic and transformative community and relational renewal.
Andrea Duarte Alonso presenting at Changemaker Summit
Suidi Hashi, Minnesota Fellow