Skip to content

Learn about the 2024-2025 Fellows. Stay connected by subscribing to our newsletter.

Initiators Fellowship banner

Invest in Yourself. Invest in Your Community.

The Initiators Fellowship is a bold strategy that gives next-generation leaders the tools and resources to accelerate their entrepreneurial and leadership skills. Check out this two-year program to build your business and leadership capacity for the greater good of Greater Minnesota.

Broad-Based Support for Transformational Leaders

About The Fellowship

The program provides wrap-around training, mentoring and guidance—plus $30,000 annually for two years—to support Fellows and their social enterprise ideas to improve Greater Minnesota communities.

Am I Eligible?

The Initiators Fellowship is geared toward up-and-coming leaders and entrepreneurs served by the Initiative Foundation, Northwest Minnesota Foundation, Southwest Initiative Foundation and West Central Initiative. 

How Do I Apply?

The application for the Initiators Fellowship cohort is now closed. We will begin recruiting for the 2026-2027 cohort in the spring of 2025. Stay connected to the Fellowship by subscribing to the newsletter

Khalif Ahmed Bashir

Alex Ostenson

Daniel Barrientez

Brenna Rollie

Nora Hertel

Kristine Shelstad

Fardowsa Iman

Noreen Thomas

Minnesota Initiative Foundation Regions Served

Fellowship Coverage Map

The Initiative Foundation serves 14 counties and two native nations in Central Minnesota: Benton, Cass, Chisago, Crow Wing, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena and Wright counties and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation serves 12 counties and three native nations in northwest Minnesota: Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau counties and the Red Lake, White Earth and Leech Lake nations.

The Southwest Initiative Foundation serves 18 counties and two native nations in southwest Minnesota: Big Stone, Cottonwood, Chippewa, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Swift and Yellow Medicine counties and the Lower Sioux Indian Community and Upper Sioux Community.

The West Central Initiative serves nine counties and one tribal nation in west central Minnesota: Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse and Wilkin counties and the White Earth Nation.

Investing in a Lifetime of Greater Minnesota Leadership

Major funding for the Initiators Fellowship comes from a host of regional and statewide friends who believe in linking good people and good causes through diverse economic development opportunities.

Regional Foundations United in Goal to Enrich Greater Minnesota

Investing in the people and communities of Greater Minnesota has been a central tenet of the Minnesota Initiative Foundations. Through the Initiators Fellowship, four Greater Minnesota community foundations—the Initiative Foundation, Northwest Minnesota Foundation, Southwest Initiative Foundation and West Central Initiative—are continuing the legacy that began in the 1980s.
"I am so thankful that I am no longer afraid to take risks or try something different."
Annie Deckert
"You have a lot of opportunities for growth...and a lot of doors will open."
Hamdia Mohamed
Hamdia Mohamed