Growing as food systems leaders takes time, intentionality, and investment. The tacit skills of leadership, and the technical and professional skills of non-profit management, cannot all be learned on the job. Taking the time to invest in your own professional development is an important part of developing new skills, discovering innovations, and connecting to the other change-makers in this work. However, the cost of registration and travel can make attending opportunities for professional development financially infeasible for many emerging leaders, especially those in historically disinvested and under-resourced communities.

The Food Systems Leadership Network seeks to facilitate access to professional development opportunities by providing financial support to help cover the costs associated with attendance at professional development trainings, food systems conferences, and leadership workshops.

Professional Development Scholarships of up to $500 are available on a bi-annual basis to emerging leaders in the Food Systems Leadership Network. Funding requests by emerging leaders of color will be prioritized. Scholarships will range from $300 - $500 and support the costs of registration, travel, lodging and per diem associated with conference, training, workshop and/or learning journey attendance.

Examples of eligible programs include:

  • Food systems conferences
  • Participation in a regional or national network meeting
  • Racial justice trainings
  • Training programs on nonprofit management and financial management 
  • Workshops on effective facilitation

Scholarships cannot be used for vocational training, formal degree programs, or attending Wallace Center events or conferences, and recipients are only eligible to receive one scholarship per calendar year.

Application Requirements

  • Applicants must be sponsored by a nonprofit organization
  • Applicants and their sponsoring organizations must both be members of the Food Systems Leadership Network
  • Required document:

Priority will be given to emerging leaders of color and preference will be given to those applications received at least 45 days prior to a conference or event date.

It is recommended, but not required, that sponsoring organizations provide matching funds of at least 33% of the total program cost. Organizations demonstrating match will be awarded up to 2 bonus points (out of a total 20 points) on the scoring rubric.

Application Instructions

To apply for the Professional Development Scholarships, you will be required to complete the scholarship application where you will be asked to upload the completed budget template. 

If selected, an Evaluation Report will be due to weeks after completion of the activity, all reports must be submitted by the final date of each grant period. You can download the Evaluation Report Template here. 

2018 Professional Development Scholarship Application Schedule

  • Round 1:
    • Application opens January 24 
    • Application closes at 11:59 PM Central Time on March 1
    • Grant activities between April 1 – July 31
  • Round 2:
    • Application opens June 1
    • Application closes at 11:59 PM Central Time on July 1
    • Grant activities between August 1 – December 31

Questions? Email with 'Scholarships' in the subject line.