Applicant FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Q: Could you provide guidance or tips on how to approach the narrative section, the prose, and the poetry in the application?

A: We do not give tips for answering the application questions themselves, but we suggest you look at our ideal applicants and their characteristics and frame your answers accordingly. We are looking for people who have a passion for health and racial equity, have been doing deep work in their community, and can align with one or more of the five pillars of the framework. The prose, poetry, and videos give you flexibility and creativity to express your work and community.

Q: If you’ve applied previously, can you apply again?

A: Yes, you are welcome to apply again. We encourage you to review your previous application and see how to improve it or update it with new information or achievements.

Q: Is there a size limit to any uploaded files?

A: There is no size limit, but if you have trouble uploading videos, pictures, or audio, we recommend you upload them to Google Drive or YouTube and put a link to that file in a Word document and upload that instead. Please note that there are criteria for the various pieces, such as three minutes for videos and word limits for questions.

Q: How do you define deep work in the community, and how do you consider the limitations or challenges some applicants may face in different contexts?

A: Deep work in the community means having at least three years of experience doing work that aligns with our vision of health and racial equity. We understand that different contexts may pose different limitations or challenges for applicants, such as geographic location, political climate, or social resistance. We view applicants within the context of their lived experience, where they work, and the communities they serve. We value diversity and want people working in different settings and facing other issues. We also look for passion, commitment, and engagement in their work.

Q: What are some of the challenges and strengths you are looking for in applicants working in areas with a lot of resistance or hostility to racial equity work?

A: We appreciate the courage and resilience of applicants working in areas with a lot of resistance or hostility to racial equity work. We are looking for applicants who can share their experiences and lessons learned from navigating these spaces, how they build partnerships and alliances to overcome these barriers, and how they stay true to their vision and values. We also want applicants who can learn from others who may have different perspectives or experiences and contribute to a diverse and supportive cohort.

Q: Is there a cap on the number of applications that will be accepted?

A: Yes, there is a cap of 250 applications. We will update how close we are to the cap on the program website and the call for applications page as we get closer to the deadline. You can see that information at the top of those pages.

Q: How do you define community, and is it exclusively place-based or geographically-based?

A: Community is not exclusively place-based or geographically-based. We recognize that community can be defined differently by identity, interest, affiliation, or network. We welcome applicants working in various communities, whether physical or virtual, local or national. We want to support a national movement involving all kinds of intersecting and interconnecting communities.

Q: Can planning or expanding existing work be part of the project that will be submitted?

A: Yes, planning or expanding existing work can be part of the project that will be submitted. We are not looking for applicants to create new projects for this program but rather to support ongoing work that aligns with our vision and framework. You should convey your engagement as a continuum in the application and explain how this program can augment and undergird your work.

Q: Will there be an opportunity for interaction between cohorts one and two and subsequent cohorts?

A: Yes, there will be an opportunity for interaction between cohorts one and two and subsequent cohorts. In March of 2023, there will be an opening retreat for cohort two and a second retreat for cohort one. You will meet during that time and have a chance to learn from each other. We hope to foster a network of leaders who can collaborate and support each other across cohorts.

Q: How do you address the needs of applicants who are retired or no longer in formal employment but still doing work related to racial equity?

A: We welcome applicants who are retired or no longer in formal employment but still doing work related to racial equity. It is not a requirement to be in formal employment but to be doing work connected to one or more of the pillars of the TRHT framework. You can do this work as a volunteer or a passion project. You should talk about your work with TRHT or any other organization or network you are affiliated with and how you are connected and committed to that work over the long term. We want a diverse, intergenerational cohort that reflects different experiences and perspectives.

Q: For someone who doesn’t have explicitly racial justice-oriented prior work experience but whose experience deals with racial justice issues, how should they approach their application?

A: You should be authentic in describing what you do, why you do it, and how it relates to racial justice issues. It’s unnecessary to have formal experience in racial justice-oriented work; what matters is your passion and commitment to transforming our country into one where everyone can thrive together.

Q: Is this program specifically for those who are doing independent projects?

A: No, this program is not specifically for those who are doing independent projects. You can be part of an organization and have been tasked to accomplish something within that organization and a broader network. That’s just fine. One of the things about this program is its diversity; we want to support people working in different contexts and settings. Some applicants will be individuals, and some will be part of organizations and institutions. That’s not a barrier. However, you have to apply as an individual applicant, not as a group or an organization.

Q: What is the Culture of Health Leadership Institute for Racial Healing? How is it different from the Culture of Health Leaders program?

The Culture of Health Leadership Institute for Racial Healing is an 18-month leadership experience and opportunity for health and racial equity practitioners to connect with a national community of like-minded people. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funds the program. We invite you to visit the program page to find out more.

Culture of Health Leadership Institute for Racial Healing is a program model informed by lessons learned from the Culture of Health Leaders program. The program emphasizes the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) framework.

The TRHT framework sees the foundational pillars of Narrative Change, Racial Healing and Relationship Building, Separation, Law, and Economy as central to impacting health and racial equity. This work continues to evolve and is informed by local innovation.

Learn more about TRHT here.

Q: How much will I have to travel throughout the program year?

Program participants must attend two convenings per program cycle (one in-person and one virtual). At least one convening will be in person. The first convening will be held in the Summer of 2024. Additional details and dates will be forthcoming. 

Q: How much time will the program require each month?

Leaders spend 8 to 10 hours each month on program activities. A significant portion of that time will be self-directed through online activities. 

Q: What are the participation and engagement expectations for the program?

Full participation is a requirement of the program. Leaders are expected to participate in one yearly convening, 8 to 10 hours/month of engagement during all live virtual monthly activities or asynchronously. Full participation​ also includes attending all live virtual monthly sessions. If you​ cannot attend a live virtual monthly session, you must document actions taken to attend the recorded sessions and provide reflections on learnings. Online participation on the Mighty Networks community platform, active collaboration with members of your Cohort, self-organized preparations for live sessions, and scheduled sharing experiences are also expectations of the program.

Award payments are based on full participation in the program. Participation is required from the payment date until the program’s end. If the leader fails to participate in the abovementioned activities, payment could be subject to repayment. Payments will be divided into two awards. The first award payment is issued 45 days after the program starts in May 2024.  

Completing an interim survey documenting your progress will be required at the midway point of your leadership experience, and the final payment will be issued upon completion of a survey documenting your action plans due before the program’s culmination.

Q: How many people will you select?

Up to 40 individuals will be selected for the program’s third cohort.

Q: How will finalists be selected?

The Culture of Health Leadership Institute for Racial Healing uses teams to review the completed applications received for the program. Once the semifinalists are identified, they will be invited for virtual interviews between March 18-25, 2024. After the interviews, the National Advisory Committee will select individuals for the 2024 cohort. These finalists will be vetted before final selection. Finalists will be notified of their selection in late April 2024. The first session of the program will be held in May 2024.


Q: Are you looking for people with only public health, health care, or medical experience?

No, we are looking for a wide range of experience. This program is designed to bring together people from many different industries and disciplines, including but not limited to individuals who work in journalism, entertainment, digital media, the arts, museums, racial healing practitioners, circle facilitators, community bridge builders, faith leaders, local civic leaders, activists, researchers, and policymakers in areas that address separation (health, education, housing, segregation, immigration, and migration, etc.), the law and democracy (voting rights, policing, incarceration, juvenile justice, etc.) and/or the economy (labor, employment, workforce development, wealth-building, etc.).

Q: Do I have to have a college degree to participate in the program?

No, applicants will be selected based on multiple factors, such as employment history, life experience, service, and leadership.

Q: Do I have to be employed to participate in the program?

No, applicants will be selected based on multiple factors, such as employment history, life experience, service, and leadership.

Q: Why does the application ask where I currently work? What if I am not working?

A: The question about where you currently work is meant to give us a complete picture of who you are and what your work might be in the world. It’s not meant to disqualify anyone not currently in formal employment but rather doing volunteer work or pursuing their passion projects related to racial equity. We do not contact any employers; it’s just trying to give our reviewers a sense of where you are and your work in the world.

Q: Government officials are not eligible for the program. Am I considered a government employee or an official?

For these purposes, a government official is defined as any person who holds one of the following:

  1. An elective public office in the executive or legislative branch of the Government of the United States.                   
  2. An office in the executive or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, appointment to which was made by the President.
  3. A position in the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States— (A) which is listed in schedule C of rule VI of the Civil Service Rules; or (B) the compensation for which is equal to or greater than the lowest rate of basic pay for the Senior Executive Service under section 5382 of title 5, United States Code.
  4. A position under the House of Representatives or the Senate of the United States held by an individual receiving gross compensation at an annual rate of $15,000 or more.
  5. An elective or appointive public office in the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the government of a State, tribe, possession of the United States, or political subdivision or other area of any of the foregoing, or the District of Columbia, held by an individual receiving gross compensation at an annual rate of $20,000 or more, and a significant part of whose activities include “the independent performance of policymaking functions.
  6. A position as personal or executive assistant or secretary to any of the foregoing or                                                     
  7. A member of the Internal Revenue Service Oversight Board.

If you are eligible for the program, we recommend applying. All individuals who advance to the semifinalist stage will submit additional paperwork. The program will further review the semifinalist’s status as government officials and decide at that time.

Q: Is it okay to have intersectionality when describing the work around racial equity?

A: It is okay to have intersectionality when describing the work around racial equity. You should express your work holistically and show how it intersects with different domains such as government, community, neighborhood, mental health, etc. We don’t want you to silo your work but rather demonstrate the authenticity, clarity, impact, and meaning of your work. We value intersectionality and want to see how your work connects with different aspects of racial equity.

Q: Are we applying as independent professionals who work for different organizations or applications in direct connection with the organization we work for?

A: You are applying as an independent professional who might work for different organizations. You don’t need a sponsoring institution to receive the funds on your behalf or anything like that. These funds go to you as an individual, and you are responsible for any associated tax implications. Some of you may want the second payment to go to an organization you are affiliated with regarding your ongoing work. That is your choice, but it is not a requirement.


Can I apply to the program multiple times?

You may only submit one application per Call for Applications cycle.

Can I save my application before I submit it?

Please plan to submit your application in one sitting. We suggest that you download a copy of the application and complete drafts outside of the Google Form platform. Once you have all your materials in a final draft form, you may complete the application in one sitting and submit it. 

How will I know if my application is submitted?

Once you have submitted your application, you will receive a notification that your application has been submitted, and a copy of your submitted application will be emailed to you.

How do I request accommodations for a disability during the application process?

In the application, you will find a question related to access. The program will make reasonable accommodations to ensure that individuals with disabilities who are selected are able to participate in program activities.



What types of organizations can be a sponsoring institution? 

  • The two things to remember when identifying a sponsoring institution are that the institution (1) must be an organization and (2) must be based in the United States or its territories.
  • They must possess the administrative and financial capacity and experience to accept the award.
  • Sponsoring institutions may be for-profit organizations (i.e., LLC, Inc.), governmental entities, or nonprofit organizations.
  • The sponsoring institution could be your employer, your business (unless organized as a sole proprietorship), or an organization for which you serve as a volunteer. While selecting an institution with which you already have a relationship is better, this is not required. 

Q: How will communications about the cap be handled?

A: Once the cap is met, we will notify the listserv. You will be notified about the program in any future communications.

Q: Do I have to pay for travel?

The program will arrange and pay for hotels and flights to and from the Culture of Health Leadership Institute for Racial Healing events, not including local transportation and meals. Leaders can use their award funding to cover meals and local transportation not designated by the Program.

Q: Will I need technology to participate in the program?

Leaders will need a computer (with built-in or separate webcam and speakers), high-speed internet access, and a cell or landline. The award may be used to purchase this equipment.

Q: How does funding for the program work?

Participants will receive A $65,000 award in flexible funding to advance the leader’s work and the space to learn from others and experiment with innovative solutions to entrenched social problems. 

Q: How does flexible funding work, and what can it be used for?

A: The flexible funding is given during the 18-month window of the program. You get your first payment within 45 days of the program start, and then there will be a second payment about three-quarters of the way. The flexible funding can be used for anything supporting your work and well-being outside of direct lobbying. For example, you can use it for mental health support, childcare, travel, equipment, training, or anything else you need.

Q: How will I receive my program award?

Leaders will receive payment for their time in the program as individual contractors with New Venture Fund (see reference to NVF below). The consultant agreement with NVF will require participants to complete a W9 and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) forms. It can take up to two weeks to fully execute a contract with NVF.

We recommend that you talk to a tax professional to help you navigate the tax issues related to receiving payment as an individual. You must contract with the New Venture Fund (NVF), NCHE’s fiscal sponsor. You will receive a 1099 form at the end of the year. Indirect costs should be considered when deciding on a sponsoring institution. Indirect cost rates vary widely depending on the project’s specifics or the organization.

.Q: Will there be any support or resources for mental health needs or support?

A: There will be support and resources for mental health needs or support. This is a big part of the flexible funding that we offer. The flexible funding can be used however you see fit, outside of direct lobbying. If you need mental health support, you can use the flexible funding for that, childcare, or any other needs you have. We also provide coaching as another important asset in the program that can be used for any self-identified needs. We do not speak of healing in a deficit frame but in a collective coming together and identifying our interconnectedness and interdependence.

Q: What is the New Venture Fund (NVF) relationship to the National Collaborative for Health Equity (NCHE)?

Since 2014, NVF has served as the NCHE’s fiscal sponsor. The National Collaborative for Health Equity is the National Program Center for the Culture of Health Leaders program and the Culture of Health Leadership Institute for Racial Healing. NVF provides operational expertise and support to NCHE and other change leaders to optimize their resources for more significant impact—and free them to devote their talents to driving change. NVF will be responsible for processing payments for the program awards, reimbursements, and invoices to the Culture of Health Leadership Institute for Racial Healing participants.

Q: Does NCHE have a newsletter?

A: We do have an email newsletter that goes out periodically. We highlight some of the work we’re doing in communities and our partners, as well as some of our participants’ milestones and current events around critical race theory and other racial inequity.

You can subscribe to the newsletter on our website at

Q: If I have additional questions not answered above, who should I contact?

You can send us an email at [email protected].