GivingTuesday Opens Applications for Global Fellowship of Grassroots Leaders

GivingTuesday’s Starling Collective is a global learning lab and innovative fellowship for grassroots organizers, activists, artists, and changemakers. The program recognizes, supports, and uplifts the extraordinary leadership arising from within communities to meet needs and provide healing, leadership that is often under-recognized and under-supported. Applications are now being accepted through September 1, 2021.

GivingTuesday Opens Applications for Global Fellowship of Grassroots Leaders
New York, NY, July 15, 2021 --( Today GivingTuesday, the groundbreaking global generosity movement, announced the opening of applications for the 2021 cohort of the Starling Collective, an experimental learning lab and innovative fellowship designed to support creative, passionate grassroots leaders working to accelerate innovative approaches to catalyzing generosity, empathy, equity and justice. The program offers community building, movement learning, peer support, and connection to GivingTuesday's global network of movement leaders. Applications are open July 15 through September 1, 2021.

Applicants selected for the 2021 Starling Collective cohort will each receive microgrants of $2,000 USD to support leadership development or accelerate on-the-ground work. Participants will also have the opportunity to pitch their idea or initiative for a chance to receive additional funding at the end of the program. Selected participants will be announced in early October.

GivingTuesday launched the Starling Collective in the spring of 2020 as a response to the upheaval of the pandemic and the demands for social justice. Nearly 2,000 applications were submitted from 93 countries, and the inaugural cohort included 50 grassroots organizers, activists, artists and changemakers representing 29 countries, speaking 33 languages, and ranging in age from 11 to 71. These leaders created extraordinary impact through efforts that included creating new systems to combat food insecurity in Brazil, using art to fight racial injustice in the U.S. and raise awareness for disability rights in South Africa, engaging youth in philanthropy in Hong Kong, using technology to increase blood donations in Kenya, promoting a global campaign to end child labor, and organizing mutual aid networks and community care around the world. In the program’s first year, 100% of participants said the Starling Collective helped them achieve their objectives.

“We continue to see extraordinary leadership arising from within communities. Individuals are organizing grassroots efforts, mutual aid networks, and other community care activities to meet needs and provide healing. Much of this work is taking place beyond the bounds of traditional nonprofit organizations, yet it remains critically important for a thriving and connected society,” said Asha Curran, GivingTuesday CEO. “Too often this kind of proximate leadership is underrecognized and undersupported. We created the Starling Collective as a way to celebrate and support these leaders while also breaking down common barriers that leave diverse voices and nontraditional movement builders on the sidelines.”

The Starling Collective connects leaders from around the world through skill-building, coaching, and peer-learning as well as microgrants to support leadership development and accelerate on-the-ground work. The fellowship is a collaborative and supportive community of diverse grassroots changemakers. Barbara Kimigisa, an Ugandan HIV activist and founder of S.H.E. (Safe, Healthy and Empowered) ambassadors, an initiative that mentors young girls to speak up and step out to be the change in their communities, credits the Starling Collective experience in providing the support and tools to become a more vocal and active leader in her community. Barbara is an active participant of the Starling alumni community and continues to collaborate with leaders around the world to exchange ideas and encouragement. “It is a relief to know I can walk this journey with someone.”

To manage the program more effectively and equitably, GivingTuesday is expanding its team of global regional directors who will review and select applicants and also serve as mentors/coaches to participants. GivingTuesday’s Starling Collective Regional Directors include:

• Catherine Mwendwa, Research and Stakeholder Engagement at Wasafiri and former GivingTuesday Kenya country leader, will serve as the Regional Director for Africa

• Charlotte Arnø Storebakken, Project Manager for Norges Innsamlingsråd and GivingTuesday Norway country leader, will serve as the Regional Director for Europe

• Cherisse Faith Beh, Senior Manager at Special Olympics Asia Pacific and former GivingTuesday Singapore leader, will serve as the Regional Director for Asia

• Esteban Oyarzo, former organizer of #UnDiaParaDar regional movement, will serve as the Regional Director for Mexico, Central and South America

• João Paulo Vergueiro, CEO for the Brazilian Fundraisers Association (ABCR) and GivingTuesday Brazil country leader, will serve as the Regional Director for Brazil

• ZJ Jallah, Operations & Partnerships Manager for YesLiberia! and GivingTuesday Liberia country leader, will serve as the Regional Director for Canada and the United States

Created in 2012 at New York’s 92nd Street Y and incubated in its Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact as a day to do good, GivingTuesday has grown into a year-round global generosity movement with hundreds of leaders who have launched more than 240 community campaigns across the U.S. and national movements in 75 countries. At the grassroots level, people and organizations participate in GivingTuesday in every single country in the world.

To learn more and apply to be a part of the Starling Collective, visit

About GivingTuesday
GivingTuesday is a movement that unleashes the power of radical generosity around the world. GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past nine years, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity year-round. The movement is brought to life through a distributed network of entrepreneurial leaders who lead national movements in 75 countries and hundreds of communities worldwide, including more than 250 community campaigns across the U.S. alone.
Caryn Stein
Chief Communications Officer, GivingTuesday