Fellowship FAQs

What is the Tribe 12 Fellowship?

Entering its ninth year in Philadelphia, the Tribe 12 Fellowship is a leadership and entrepreneurial program which takes place from January through May 2019 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 101 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 2019 cohort open Monday, October 15th and will close Sunday, November 25th. Applicants should save the evening of Monday, December 3rd for interviews and Fellows will be selected and notified the week of December 10th with our Welcome to the Fellows event scheduled for December 18th.

When will the 2019 Tribe 12 Fellowship begin?

The program begins with a leadership retreat the weekend of January 18-20, 2019 and concludes at a closing event on May 14th, 2019. 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 will the program entail?

The Fellowship takes place over the course of five months (January-May 2019) 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.

What is the time commitment?

The commitment for the Fellowship is about 12 “classroom” hours a month, plus 2-4 additional hours a month 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 which 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 2019 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 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. Our partners at UpStart have developed a robust curriculum infusing design thinking, Jewish sensibilities, and personal reflection, and their trained educators teach our workshops.

How long has the Fellowship been around?

The Fellowship is entering its ninth year, with 101 graduates from our eight 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 at the Pearlstone Retreat Center in Maryland.

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.

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.

What is UpStart?

UpStart is a global network of innovators and entrepreneurs with the mission of inspiring and advancing innovative ideas that contribute to the continued growth and vitality of Jewish life. As a partner in the Fellowship, UpStart provides our top-notch curriculum and support for the Fellowship Coordinator and all trained educators.

Didn’t PresenTense provide the curriculum in past years?

Yes, and it still does (kind of)! In July 2017, the U.S. Programs of PresenTense, Joshua Venture Group, and Bikkurim merged into UpStart, creating a one-stop shop for Jewish innovation. UpStart is proud to now host a more robust platform to empower innovators and institutions to tackle today’s Jewish challenges with new ways of thinking, and to create meaningful access points to Jewish life. The original PresenTense curriculum is still a core part of the Fellowship and has only improved with this strategic merger.

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! Schedule a time to chat with our Fellowship Coordinator, Polly, and enjoy a coffee on us!

More questions? Contact Us!

Polly Edelstein, Tribe 12 Fellowship Coordinator
201 S. Camac St., Philadelphia PA 19107