Young Leaders Scholarship and Grant Opportunity

August 16, 2016

NOTE: Application deadline has been extended to Monday, October 17 at 11:59pm ET.

Woman being interviewed on videoYoung leaders across the country are doing great work to engage people in their communities and create positive change. Our goal is to attract 20-40 of those young leaders to take part in learning and networking at our upcoming national convening. Participants will learn, connect, and share their insights with changemakers of all ages.

Up to ten young leaders will be awarded scholarships to enable them to attend the convening, and will have the opportunity to compete for grant money to support their leadership and organizing efforts in their local communities.


What we hope to accomplish:

  • Highlight the work of young leaders at our national convening
  • Provide opportunities for learning and networking among young leaders
  • Provide support for the critical work being done by young leaders across the country
  • Build our network among young changemakers


Young leaders scholarship and grant competition:

Young leaders (ages 18-30) will have the chance to compete to win an all-expense paid scholarship to Everyday Democracy’s national convening in Baltimore, Md., December 8-10, 2016. Five finalist groups will present their work at the convening and compete for grants to support their work in their local communities.

You are allowed up to two people per application, as long as both of the applicants are within the specified age group and able to travel to Baltimore during the convening. If selected as finalists, both applicants would receive the all-expense paid scholarship to the convening.

By participating in this grant competition, young leaders will gain access to our tools, resources and coaching, as well as a national spotlight for the work they are doing. 

Who is eligible to apply | How to apply | Judging criteria | Timeline | Application | FAQ's



Five groups (up to 2 people per group) will receive an all-expense paid trip to attend Everyday Democracy’s national convening December 8-10 in Baltimore (an estimated $2,400 value per group). At the convening, you’ll have the opportunity to learn with other community leaders, get coaching from our associates, gain knowledge and skills to strengthen your community change work, network, and showcase your project at an evening reception.

In addition, the five finalist groups will be eligible for the three top prizes to continue the great work they’re doing in their community. The prizes are:

  • First place: $2,000
  • Second place: $1,500
  • Third place: $1,000


Who is eligible to apply:

Anyone living in the U.S. who will be between the ages of 18-30 on December 1, 2016 who is doing great work to change their communities is eligible to apply. Everyone who applies must be available and able to travel to the convening December 8-10, 2016 in Baltimore, Md. Applicants must be working to change their community within the U.S.


How to apply:

Submit a completed application and include a link to a video showcasing the work you’re doing in your community by Monday, September 26 at 11:59pm ET.

Video submission criteria:

  • No longer than 4 minutes
  • Does not contain copyrighted materials used without permission
  • Does not contain inappropriate materials
  • All original work
  • Must be a publicly accessible video uploaded to YouTube
  • Completed application form

Entries that don’t comply with the above criteria will be disqualified.

The video should illustrate the following:

  • What your vision is for your community
  • What actions you are taking to work toward making that vision a reality
  • The strategies you use to get people involved, build momentum, and engage different sectors of the community
  • How you demonstrate a commitment to equity, racial equity in particular

It’s important to spend time planning your video and to pay attention to lighting and sound quality. However, your video doesn’t need to have a high production value – no professional video equipment or editing software necessary! We’d rather see a creative video with a compelling story than one that has a lot of special effects but doesn’t address the points outlined above.

Please be aware that YouTube is not a sponsor of this contest and YouTube is released from any and all liability related to the contest.


Judging criteria:

The following criteria will play a factor in the judging process:

  • How the project addresses issues of equity, racial equity in particular
  • The use of organizing and engagement strategies
  • The impact attending the convening and receiving the prize money would make
  • How the project incorporates elements of Everyday Democracy’s approach to change
  • Originality and creativity of the video
  • Quality of the video

Download the judging rubric.


Timeline for the competition:

August 16: Video submission opens

September 26: Video submission closes at 11:59pm ET

October 17: Video submission closes at 11:59pm - Application deadline extended!

October 26: Finalists are announced

December 8-10: Everyday Democracy’s national convening in Baltimore, Maryland






What exactly is included in the scholarship to attend the convening?

The scholarship to attend the convening includes the following:

  • Transportation to the convening (airfare, train, or gas reimbursement depending on your location)
  • Hotel stay for up to 3 nights
  • All meals during the convening
  • Registration fee for the convening


Do I need to be connected to a 501(c)3 to be eligible to receive the grant?

No, you do not need to be associated with a 501(c)3 to be eligible to enter or to win. Individuals and groups of activists who are not associated with a 501(c)3 are encouraged to apply.


I already submitted an Intent to Apply. Do I still need to fill out this application to be eligible for the scholarship and grant?

Everyone who is interested in the scholarship and grant must submit an application, even if you already submitted an Intent to Apply.


Can I submit my application or video after the deadline?

We have extended our deadline to Monday, October 17 at 11:59pm ET is the hard deadline for the application. Applications received after that will not be considered – we will move on to the next phase of the competition at that time. However, the registration for our national convening will still be open, and we’d love for you to attend. Click here to access the registration form and view the fees.


If I’m working on a project outside of the U.S., can I still apply?

At this time, we are only accepting submissions for people working on projects within the U.S. This is the geographic focus of Everyday Democracy’s work, and we want to support people working on projects in that area.


I work with more than one person on this project. Can we all apply for the scholarship?

Only two people can receive the scholarship per project. More people from your organization or project are welcome to come to the convening by registering separately, but only two people will be eligible to receive the scholarship.


Can my colleague/friend who is not in the age range you specified (18-30) apply for the scholarship with me?

To be eligible to apply, all scholarship recipients must be between the ages of 18-30 as of December 1, 2016. People of all ages are welcome to attend the convening by registering separately. Click here to access the registration form and view the fees.


If I’m not selected as one of the finalists, can I still attend the convening in December?

Absolutely! Even though you didn’t receive the scholarship, you may still attend by registering. Click here to access the registration form and view the fees.


I’ve never made a video before. Do you have any tips or advice?

Check out this article for tips on creating a video.


What are some free or low-cost video editing tools I can use?

Check out this page for some video editing programs.


I don’t have a video camera. Can I use my phone or webcam to take the videos?

Absolutely! No professional video equipment is required. Just make sure that we can clearly see and hear your video – your phone or webcam can easily pick up all of the noise around you and make it difficult to hear.


How many people can work on the video?

You can choose who you’d like to work with to create the video. You can create the video on your own, work with your co-applicant, or work with a group of people. It’s up to you!


How will my video be used?

The video will be hosted on your own YouTube channel and you will retain the rights to the video. Video entries will be embedded on Everyday Democracy’s site for voting and to announce the winners. We will feature a clip of the finalists’ videos in an evening reception at the convening.


In the community voting process, how often can people vote?

One vote is allowed per IP address per day.


Who do I contact if I have additional questions?

You can reach out to our communications team at

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Dialogue to Change

Our ultimate goal is to create positive community change that includes everyone, and our tools, advice, and resources foster that kind of change. Whether you’re grappling with a divisive community issue, or simply want to include residents’ voices in city government, Everyday Democracy's Dialogue to Change process, using a racial equity lens, can help.