company logo
The Changemakers Everywhere Academy is now open for entries! Submit your application by September 27, 2021 at 11:59 PM EST.


Are you a visionary social innovator within the good governance space looking to learn how to scale your social impact and be a part of a global community of like-minded movement builders?

The Changemakers Everywhere Academy is an intensive online learning journey where high-caliber social entrepreneurs creating these better systems for good governance will learn powerful strategies for scaling their social impact and become part of a global community of movement builders. 

Participants will benefit from a deep dive into their systems changing strategy, expert guidance in leadership and network activation, and the space to workshop their ideas, as well as becoming part of an international community of like-minded changemakers. Participants will also access unique opportunities for advancement, including the potential to be considered for an Ashoka Fellowship, and access to a global network of over 2,000 alumni.  

Here’s how it works: Through the Changemakers Everywhere Academy, 125 rising change leaders from North America, Europe, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa will take part in a 6-month intensive learning journey. This program will take place virtually from October 2021 to March 2022*.  

*Please note, participants must take part in ALL sessions to receive recognition and certification for completing the program and to be considered for the Ashoka Fellowship. 

The program modules will be hosted through the community platform WeChangers, which will also serve as a collaboration space for participants. Participants will be organized into cohorts based on language, and the program will be offered in English, Spanish, and French. Academy modules will take part in 2-2.5-hour segments, occurring over the course of 6 months. 

Applicants will be selected to represent the diversity of good governance work globally and must demonstrate outstanding changemaking qualities, a deep commitment to their work and entrepreneurial journey, strong rapport with the communities they serve, and an interest in becoming part of a community of like-minded movement builders.  

We understand that some participants might need assistance to ensure that they attend all the sessions. For this reason, and in line with our focus on diversity and inclusion, we will be offering a stipend to participants that might need it. Please note that we will evaluate stipend requests on a case-to-case basis. 


Theme: Good Governance

Definition: Good governance is the intentional creation of systems to equitably and effectively meet the needs and ensure the wellbeing of all community members. In practice, this looks like community engagement, upholding human rights, advancing inclusive frameworks for governance, and elevating underrepresented voices.

Eligibility Criteria

To apply:

  • Candidates should have at least 1 to 2 years of experience developing a new idea—a new solution or approach to a social problem related to the theme of good governance—that will change the pattern in the field as it relates to the thematic focus areas. We will evaluate the idea historically and against its contemporaries in the field, looking for innovation and real change potential.

  • The candidate must have demonstrated proof of concept on their idea. The proof of concept could be an MVP or pilot program, for example.

  • Candidates should demonstrate a pattern from a young age of creatively addressing challenges related to the good governance thematic areas in their communities while rallying others around their vision of a new reality.

  • Demonstration of entrepreneurial devotion to their idea through a full-time commitment their social innovation during its launch phase.

  • Demonstration that their idea has the potential to change the field significantly and trigger nationwide impact or, for smaller countries, broader regional change. For example, we will not accept a candidate whose idea is to launch a new school or clinic unless it is part of a broader strategy to reform the education or health system at the national level and beyond. 

  • Demonstration of ethical fiber through anecdotal evidence of a deep rapport and trust between the candidate and the communities they serve.

  • The availability to participate in each session, and the openness and willingness to engage with a global community of movement builders and innovators who are tackling good governance. Please note, that it is mandatory that you participate in each session and complete all assignments to successfully complete the program. Academy participants who complete the full program have the potential to be considered for the Ashoka Fellowship, accessing a network of over 3,600 innovators in 95+ countries, propelling their leadership journey to the next stage, and will be recognized with a certificate of distinction validating their systems-change idea.


Additional terms: 


  • You must have incorporated as a non-profit, or hybrid organization (For profit organizations are not eligible).

  • Only one application per initiative will be accepted.

  • You must be over 18 at the time of application.

  • If your product has not launched, you must have a business plan and MVP (prototype, pilot, or another proof of concept).

  • We are open to entries operating with beneficiaries in the following markets: The United States, Europe, Mexico and Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa.  

  • You must be available to attend all sessions using a laptop or mobile technology and should have a connectivity plan in place if you live in a market with limited WIFI connectivity.

Evaluation Criteria

The selection committee will be looking for Changemakers who provide strong answers to a range of questions about what your initiative does, how it runs, and your changemaking story.

Remember, we are looking for innovative and creative ideas at the early stages of development (1-2 years). Entries will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Changemaker Quality: You identify as a Changemaker and are already taking steps to make a real difference, big or small.  

  • Creativity: Whether you’re tackling a new challenge or bringing a different perspective to an existing problem, you’re doing it in a fresh and innovative way that challenges the norm.

  • Connection: You are focused on making a difference in a community that is close to you and your experiences. You are open to connecting with others and working together to solve the problem you care about.

  • Commitment: You’re ready to stick to your project and leave a lasting impact. You may have mapped out a full plan or could just be in the initial development stage, but you are ready to go the last mile to make a difference for the community you seek to serve.


In addition to our evaluation criteria described above, participants will also be selected to represent the diversity of the field. We seek to be inclusive of gender, accessibility, class, ethnicity, race, religion, geography, and sexual preference. We also seek diversity for the target audience of participants projects and initiatives.

Participant Benefits

  • Receive an exclusive invitation to participate in the highly acclaimed Changemaker Everywhere Academy Program where you will receive guidance from Ashoka Fellows, Ashoka Staff, and a global community of innovators to refine and develop your systems change ideas related to good governance. You can learn more about the program here.

  • Receive peer feedback on your idea on our online platform, including the opportunity to view, review, and connect with other applicants of the Changemaker Everywhere Academy.

  • Receive feedback from the community managers throughout and at the end of the review process.

  • An opportunity to apply for an inclusiveness stipend.

  • Will have the opportunity to apply for an “inclusiveness” stipend. We understand that some participants might need assistance to ensure that they attend all the sessions. For this reason, and in line with our focus on diversity and inclusion, we will be offering an inclusivity stipend to participants that might need it. Please note that we will evaluate stipend requests on a case-to-case basis.

  • Become part of the American Express Leadership Academy Alumni network, joining a global group of 5,400+ leaders. This network offers continued leadership development opportunities, peer-to-peer networking with more than 3,000 leaders, an opportunity to apply for the annual Alumni Award, which includes a $25,000 grant to the honoree’s organization, and more!

Submission Closed
Timeline ( time)
  • Application Phase
    Started at 03 Sep 06:00
    Ended on 27 Sep 23:00
  • Review phase
    Started at 28 Sep 00:00
    Ended on 10 Oct 23:00
  • Cohort Announcement
    Ended on 07 Oct 18:00
  • Orientation
    Started at 12 Oct 08:00
  • Module 1 (System Change): Session 1
    Started at 15 Oct 10:00
  • Module 1 (System Change): Session 2
    Started at 29 Oct 10:00
  • Module 1 (System Change): Session 3
    Started at 12 Nov 11:00
  • Module 1 (System Change): Session 4
    Started at 19 Nov 11:00
  • Module 1 (System Change): Session 5
    Starts on 10 Dec 11:00
  • Module 2 (Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration): Session 1
    Starts on 14 Jan 11:00
  • Module 2 (Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration): Session 2
    Starts on 28 Jan 11:00
  • Module 3: Leadership
    Starts on 11 Feb 11:00
  • Module 4: Wellbeing
    Starts on 25 Feb 11:00
  • Module 5: Funding
    Starts on 11 Mar 11:00
  • Module 6: Evaluation
    Starts on 25 Mar 10:00
  • Program Commencement
    Starts on 08 Apr 10:00
    Announcement on 08 Apr 12:30
Open Timeline