Frequently Asked Questions

The Nathan Cummings Foundation


Frequently Asked Questions

Fellowship Requirements and Deadlines

Who should apply to the Nathan Cummings Fellowship?

Passionate and visionary leaders with a game-changing idea that hold a deep understanding of their subject area, possess a clear analysis of their field and are able to demonstrate a proven history of professional accomplishment and risk-taking.

Will the Nathan Cummings Foundation consider Fellowship proposals that do not fall under the two core program issues and align with at least one of NCF’s four focus areas?

No. The Fellowship committee will ONLY consider proposals that relate to InequalityClimate Change or the intersection of the two issue areas and that align with at least one core focus area. Please refer to the Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellowship guidelines page for more details.

Is the NCF Fellowship a 12-month or 18-month commitment?

The Fellowship term is a commitment of at least 12 months. Upon successful completion of the first year, Fellows may receive an additional six months of support. The entire Fellowship term is up to 18 months.

What obligations will the Fellowship recipient have to the Nathan Cummings Foundation?

The main responsibility of Fellows will be to develop the various aspects of the proposed project, host meetings on the project's topic and produce content for the NCF website. Fellows will also be considered an integral team member at NCF during the Fellowship term, provide thought leadership on various institutional priorities, and participate in board meetings, Fellowship alumni activities and other events of the Foundation.

Is residency in New York City mandatory for applying for the Fellowship?

No. Residency is not an eligibility requirement for the Fellowship term.  However, Fellows will be required to work from the NCF headquarters in New York City one week per quarter. 

What does the $100,000 provided by the NCF Fellowship cover?

The Fellowship stipend covers living expenses, travel, website development, research and conference fees.

Is the full $150,000 award guaranteed? What does the additional $50,000 cover?

The NCF Fellowship awards an initial 12-month investment of $100,000 each to three individuals to assist them in turning an inspired idea into a game-changing reality.

Upon completion of the first 12 months, Fellows will submit a report that outlines the progress made toward accomplishing their project’s pre-determined markers for success. Based on that, an additional award may be disbursed to support the next phase of the fellowship work and to leverage additional funding.

How long is the review process?

Fellows will be selected within six months of the application deadline.  For your reference, the stages of the review process are listed below:

  1. Internal review
  2. External Review by field experts
  3. Semi-Finalist Review
  4. Site visit to top ten candidates
  5. Finalist training and presentation
  6. Selection of Fellows

When does the NCF Fellowship term begin and end?

Fellows selected in the spring of 2019 will begin the Fellowship term in June 2019. The Program runs through December 2020.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to be a Fellow?

Yes. Only U.S. citizens whose projects are focused on work within the U.S. are eligible for the Fellowship at this time.


Application Process

Can I reapply for NCF Fellowship?

Yes.  NCF welcomes and encourages all applicants with inspiring and impactful ideas to apply.  Please note, NCF has engaged a new application portal for the 2018/ 2019 application cycle – all applicants will be considered “new” in the application portal.

Can multiple members of a group or organization apply to the Fellowship Program for the same project?

No. The Fellowship Program is an opportunity for individuals. Multiple submissions for the same project will not be considered.

Do I need to answer all of the questions on the application form?

Please answer all of the required questions (indicated with an asterisk). If you are proposing an existing piece of work, please tailor documents to answer our specific questions.

What web browser should be used to complete the NCF Fellowship Application?

For optimal results, we recommend applicants use the most recent version of Chrome, Safari or Edge.  Do Not use Internet Explorer or Private Firefox.  These interfaces are not compatible with the NCF application portal.

How can I gain access to the application once I’ve completed the registration form?

If you have completed the registration form, please check the email inbox and spam folder to retrieve the registration confirmation email.  Once you click the registration confirmation link, you will be able to return to the application portal to begin an application.

What font and line spacing should I use for the application? Can I include charts in my narrative?

Please use Times New Roman 12-point font, 1.5- or 2-line spacing and 1” margins. Charts should not be included in the text fields.

What should I do if I would like to read more text in the application question fields?

Expand your view by dragging the edge of the window in the lower right corner.  You will be able to view up to six lines at once.

How can I gain access to the budget template located in the application?

Depending on your internet browser, the budget template may not appear in the view finder.  Please click the download button to complete the form and reattached the saved document to the application.

What letters of recommendation should I submit? Do you want our references to email you directly?

Do not submit letters of recommendation or ask references to email us. Please fill out the application and we will contact you at the appropriate time if references are required.

Can I provide supplementary materials with my application, such as a dissertation, article or video?

There are three fields in the application that can be used to provide supplemental information that will provide a holistic view of your project or leadership capability.  Each supplemental document must be attached as a link.

Does NCF grant meetings in advance of applying?

No. We encourage you to review the Application Guidelines for details about the application.

If you have additional questions that are not covered in these FAQs, please send all content-related questions to

For technical support questions, please contact

What resources are available if I have questions about or throughout the application process?

There are several resources available to support you with the NCF Fellowship application. Before beginning the application, please review the Guidelines and FAQs listed on the NCF website.

For a detailed tutorial of the application registration process, please review the application registration guide video

For a detailed tutorial of the application process, please review the application guide video.

If you have a content related question, contact

If your question is related to technical support, please contact and copy

Please allow 48 hours responses to all questions submitted to the Fellowship and Help inbox.


Fellowship Program Details

Will Fellows have a designated office space at the NCF headquarters?

Yes. Each Fellow will have full access to the office space and resources, including a computer, telephone, email, fax, printer and access to the NCF board room and atrium. Fellows will also have one-on-one support from the Fellowship Program Officer.

Can compensation be used to hire contractors for the project?

Budget specifics will be negotiated with Fellowship finalists.

Do Fellows have access to NCF benefits?

The Foundation does not provide health insurance or other benefits to Fellows.

Will Fellows be able to work with NCF grantee organizations if it relates to their project?

Yes, as long as the project benefits our grantee partners and is not unduly burdensome. Each Fellow will work closely with the Fellowship Program Officer to determine the best way to make those connections.

Is there an opportunity to continue at the Nathan Cummings Foundation after the Fellowship?

The Fellowship does not lead to a paid staff position at the Nathan Cummings Foundation after the Fellowship term.

What kind of support can Fellows expect after the 12-month term?

Fellows will have access to the NCF network of grantees, affinity groups and staff, fellowship alumni network and use of the NCF board room and atrium up to two times per year. Upon successful completion of the first year, Fellows may also receive an additional six months of financial support and in-house technical assistance.

Would I need to leave my current job for the Fellowship?

The NCF Fellowship is intended to be a full-time pursuit for the term of the fellowship. However, we encourage all interested individuals to apply for the Fellowship. If this expectation poses a significant barrier to selected finalists, we will discuss potential alternative options on an individual basis.


Contact Information

Who can I contact if I have questions related to the content of my Fellowship application submission?

Please feel free to send all content-related questions to When possible, please provide the Fellowship application reference number. We value all questions and will do our best to answer as soon as possible. However, we ask that you please allow 48 hours for a reply.