Fellowship FAQs

Right now all of Tribe 12 programming is being held in the virtual sphere and will continue to be there for the foreseeable future. We will continue to follow all local and federal guidelines in regards to Covid-19 and will reassess any future in-person gatherings while keeping the safety of our participants at the forefront of all of our decision making.

When will the 2021 Tribe 12 Fellowship begin?

The program begins with a leadership retreat the weekend of January 15-17, 2021 and concludes at a closing event on May 11th, 2021. The program is designed to run concurrently with school or work obligations and is based in Center City Philadelphia. To view relevant dates, visit our Fact Sheet.

What is the Tribe 12 Fellowship?

Entering its eleventh year in Philadelphia, the Tribe 12 Fellowship is a leadership and entrepreneurial program which takes place from January through May 2021 and is designed to run concurrently with school or work commitments. Each Fellow is paired with a personal mentor and has access to a pool of subject matter experts and a Fellowship Coordinator to guide them through the program. Through a curriculum built on the themes of self-discovery, emotional intelligence, philanthropy, and entrepreneurship, Fellows will apply the tangible skills they learn to create a capstone project of their own design and launch their idea, small business, or nonprofit to the next level.

Who is eligible to apply?

Anyone in their 20s and 30s who is in the Greater Philadelphia area and considers themselves part of the Jewish community is invited to apply. We are proud that our 120+ alumni represent a range of ethnicities, sexual identities, gender identities, nationalities, races, and religions.

When will the next round of applications open?

Applications for the 2021 cohort open Monday, October 19th and will close Sunday, November 29th. Applicants should save the evening of Monday, December 7th for interviews, and Fellows will be selected and notified on or around December 14th with our Welcome to the Fellows event scheduled for December 17th.

What will the program entail?

The Fellowship takes place over the course of five months (January-May 2021) and is designed to run concurrently with work or school obligations. The program takes Fellows through a rich curriculum with a particular emphasis on entrepreneurial skills like prototyping, public speaking, financial management, goal setting, and environmental scanning. Throughout the program, each Fellow will work extensively with a personal coach to design a capstone project to execute and present at a closing event.

How is the program adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic?

In order to make the Fellowship as safe and accessible as possible, we have planned for the interview process to take place virtually. Small group activities, such as our retreat and meetings, are scheduled to take place in person in early 2021, however, we are closely monitoring the situation and will prioritize the safety and comfort of our Fellows. 

*Subject to change as we follow the CDC Guidelines for gathering. 

What is the time commitment?

The commitment for the Fellowship is about 12 “classroom” hours a month, plus additional hours spent meeting with your personal coach and working towards project milestones. Fellows are expected to attend the January opening retreat and attend at least 10 of 12 scheduled workshops. See all the dates on our Fact Sheet.

Is the Tribe 12 Fellowship just for entrepreneurs?

From 2011 to 2016, the Tribe 12 Fellowship was primarily for entrepreneurs seeking to start a socially responsible business or non-profit. In 2016, Tribe 12 piloted a separate leadership program built on the best aspects of the Tribe 12 Fellowship. Through extensive surveying and interviewing, we determined that our community would benefit most from a comprehensive leadership program that focuses on the individual, not just their business, and uses entrepreneurship as a tool to learn lifelong skills. The current Fellowship curriculum is the result!

What are the main differences between the 2021 Fellowship and past years?

The three main differences (first implemented in 2017) are: (1) a renewed focus on individuals as opposed to business ventures, (2) a condensed schedule (4 months vs 6 months), and (3) the inclusion of a weekend leadership retreat to kick off the program.

Can I still start my business as part of the Tribe 12 Fellowship?

Absolutely! Each Fellow executes a capstone project, and Fellows may choose to start a business or non-profit as their project. The Fellowship continues to teach all of the business skills that were taught in previous years — in fact, we’ve added more! Fellows will continue to be paired with a personal coach, many of whom are respected business people and educators, and will have access to a network of subject matter experts with an expertise in law, finance, marketing, and beyond.

What is a capstone project?

A capstone project is the end result of the Fellowship — a self-led event, business, program, non-profit or other project that each Fellow creates and executes. Since the Fellowship has transitioned from purely a business accelerator to a comprehensive leadership program, the sky is truly the limit as to what our next cohort of Fellows will create! What the capstone projects will have in common is that they will honor a shared civic duty to promote social change, give back, or positively impact a community. Our curriculum, based on the principles of design thinking, is designed to help Fellows flesh out their ideas and pursue one to see where it will go. You can see what all our past fellows have created here.

What is the curriculum of the program?

Design thinking, developed by Rolf Faste and David Kelley from Stanford University, uses the human-centered approach of designers to solve problems in the business, social, and educational sectors. You can watch a quick video about it here. At the heart of it, design thinking is a mindset — the confidence that everyone can be part of creating a more desirable future — as well as a process to take action in the face of difficult challenges. We have developed a robust curriculum infusing design thinking, Jewish sensibilities, and personal reflection.

How long has the Fellowship been around?

The Fellowship is entering its eleventh year, with 120+ graduates from our ten previous classes.

Can alumni of the Tribe 12 Fellowship apply to this new iteration?

Alumni are not eligible to go through the Tribe 12 Fellowship again. They are encouraged to be a part of our alumni-specific programming, attend public events, and volunteer their time to help the new class!

Is there a fee associated with this program?

Yes. The program fee is $360, half of which is a tax-deductible donation to a pool of granting funds — your cohort will work together to determine which Tribe 12 Fellowship alumni will receive the collective funds. The remaining fee covers a small part of Tribe 12’s expenses for workshops, speakers, meals, and a weekend-long leadership retreat.

What is the selection process like?

The application process is competitive and typically a third of applicants are chosen for each cohort. A selection committee, composed of community stakeholders interested in furthering innovation in Philadelphia, selects the Fellows. If you are interested in volunteering to help us with the exciting process of recruiting, vetting, and selecting Fellows, contact our Fellowship Coordinator at polly@tribe12.org.

Who can apply?

We are actively seeking entrepreneurial-minded folks who identify as Jewish, are exploring Judaism, or are in a committed partnership with someone who identifies as Jewish.

Can I apply with a partner?

Yes (kind of)! Since the program is designed to focus on fellows’ individual development, all applications are evaluated based on the individual, and not solely on the project or business. If you share an idea with another person, you can both apply to be Fellows and will be evaluated separately in the selection process. You should both fill out separate applications.

Other than applying as a Fellow, are there other ways to get involved?

Yes! The Tribe 12 Fellowship is always looking for volunteers who are committed to growing a stronger Jewish community and who believe in a vision of Philadelphia as a center of innovation and engagement. Please contact us if you are interested or would like to recommend volunteering to someone else.

I’m still not sure if the Fellowship is for me. Help!

No problem! Our Fellowship Coordinator Polly will host a virtual Ask Me Anything event to answer all your questions about the Fellowship on November 10th, 2020. Feel free to reach out to Polly with questions!

*Subject to change as we follow the CDC Guidelines for gathering. 

More questions? Contact Us!

Polly Edelstein, Tribe 12 Fellowship Coordinator
1900 Market St, 8th Floor, Philadelphia PA 19103