All For NC Fellowship Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are some of the kinds of ideas that the Foundation is looking to fund and support?

The Foundation is looking for a wide array of proposal ideas. We anticipate everything from artistic endeavors, to technological innovations, to public/private/nonprofit sector initiatives, to community-based projects, to efforts to improve racial equity, and beyond. The Foundation is placing very few limits on proposal ideas in hopes that many young people will see their ideas as qualifying for this Fellowship. Preference likely will be given to projects that have moved beyond an initial idea and have some momentum.

This is a new initiative of the Foundation, so Fellowship applicants will be leading the way and pushing the boundaries of our thinking. We are looking for ideas that are innovative, bold, visionary, creative and/or entrepreneurial.

Proposed ideas also must have an anticipated public benefit for North Carolina. In other words, applicants will need to describe how their idea has the potential to benefit other North Carolinians.

Read more about ZSR’s mission and core values.

2. What kinds of projects or ideas is ZSR not looking to fund?

We are not looking to fund:

  • Academic research or academic writing, unless it is connected to a significant plan of action;
  • Artistic projects that do not have significant public or community engagement components;
  • Books/writing projects that do not have an associated plan of action and clear public benefit;
  • For-profit business start-ups, unless there is clear evidence of an authentic contribution to making life better for the people of North Carolina; or
  • New and existing programs of nonprofit organizations that would qualify for organizational grant funding.  

If you are unsure whether your project or idea would qualify, please contact the Foundation at

3. Is this Fellowship the same as the ZSR Fellowship?

The Foundation has two very different Fellowship programs. The All For NC Fellowship is a 12-month program designed to provide funding, coaching and mentoring to North Carolina residents ages 21 to 35 who have a vision and plan that could contribute to a better life for people in North Carolina. It should not to be confused with our internal Z. Smith Reynolds Fellowship, which is a two-year paid Fellowship to work on staff at the Foundation.

4. What is the outcome the Foundation is looking for? What does the Foundation expect to get out of this program?

Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation has a long track record of investing in organizations that tackle our state’s toughest problems and we will continue to do so. But as part of our new framework for grantmaking and learning, we also seek to invest in individuals as a means to step beyond the norms of traditional philanthropy. We want to invest in young North Carolinians who have a vision for the future and who seek to build the North Carolina in which they would like to live.

We want to learn from young innovators about what can and will work for our state going forward. We do not expect all of the projects to achieve a prescribed outcome, but we will expect all Fellows to share their lessons learned with us, in hopes that those lessons can help ZSR and others as we plan for the future.

Ultimately, the Foundation wants to unleash the creative, innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of young North Carolinians with big ideas for how to make the state a better place to live, work and play. The financial resources and professional development we will provide are intended to help accelerate those ideas.

5. How will ZSR handle intellectual property of what Fellows develop?

While all projects are expected to provide public benefit, ZSR recognizes there might be individual ownership and intellectual property questions. ZSR plans to handle these questions and concerns on a case by case basis.

6. What do I get out of the Fellowship, in addition to the $75K?

All For NC Fellowship recipients will receive access to mentors, coaches, and advisers along with educational opportunities to help you grow in your role as a change agent and innovator. You will also build relationships with, learn from and teach the other Fellows in your cohort.

7. Will you remain connected to me over time, beyond the term of the Fellowship?

We hope so! Yes, we hope to stay connected with you beyond the term of the Fellowship. In addition, there may be opportunities to convene you with other future Fellows. Once we are in relationship with you, we are hoping to always be in relationship with you. We seek to understand from you what we can offer that will be most supportive within our capacity to assist. 

8. What is my financial obligation in this program — will I be compensated for travel, time off from work, and other expenses required for participating?

The $75K stipend is intended to cover project and personal expenses during the term of the Fellowship. You will also receive compensation for required travel and lodging associated with Fellow cohort meetings. Expenses associated with your individual project, including travel for your work, will come out of the $75K. We strongly encourage you to discuss this Fellowship opportunity in advance with those to/for whom you are responsible – family, employers, and other organizations to whom you are obligated – to consider jointly the impact of this Fellowship on your available time. You will need to work with your family and job colleagues to arrange for leave, assistance, or other considerations during the time of the Fellowship.

9. Do I have to give up my job for the full term of the Fellowship?

We expect that each Fellow’s project and life circumstances will be considerably different from one another. As such, the Fellowship does not require you to give up your job, although some Fellows may choose to do so. The amount of time that Fellows will need to spend on their projects will depend heavily on what they are proposing to do. We expect that all Fellows will expend a large portion of their time engaged in the project or initiative that the Fellowship is intended to fund. Your work/life balance might be disrupted, and we acknowledge this challenge.

Part of the selection process will involve sharing an understanding of the needs and other commitments of individual applicants. We will engage together in discussion and negotiation to determine how you plan to manage your project development. If selected, you will be expected to be fully present for the opportunities afforded by this Fellowship.

10. What if I have to drop out of the Fellowship before it is completed? Do I have to pay back all or part of the funds?

The Foundation certainly hopes to be able to support Fellows in ways that would prevent dropping out. However, we recognize that some circumstances are unavoidable. We will be co-creating with each Fellow an individualized plan for the disbursement of the funds, given the individual circumstances and unique project ideas of each Fellow. There will be accountability measures for the funds you receive, and the Foundation reserves the right to withhold or extend funding as it chooses in collaboration with each Fellow.

11. By whom and how will my success be measured?

"What does success look like?" is a question we hope that each individual can answer and share with the ZSR team. Applicants will be asked to reflect and create your own measures of success and, if selected, to collaborate on a refinement of your personal plan with ZSR.

12. Is this Fellowship intended for people who are starting their own business to sell a product or service, or should I have nonprofit status?

You do not need nonprofit status – this program is for individuals. The purpose is to create something that will benefit the people of North Carolina. We want candidates who are clear about a project idea they want to advance and clear about how this initiative will benefit a community, a region or the entire state. 

13. Should I have already started my project or have an organization ready to do this project with me?

You do not need an organization. We are looking for candidates to come in with a reasonably fleshed out idea, clarity about intended impacts on specific people and communities, and a plan for how the $75K and our collaborative supports can move it forward. The project idea may or may not already be fully developed, but preference will be given to Fellows whose projects have moved beyond an initial idea and have some momentum.

14. Can I apply again if I am not accepted this round?

Yes. We recognize this program will be very selective with a maximum of five individuals selected in each of three cohorts. We hope, however, that the application process will be seen as valuable, even to those who are not selected. We want to develop relationships with innovative young people across the state, beyond those who are selected in this program.

15. Are undocumented persons eligible to apply?

If you think this question applies to you, click here for further details.

16. Can two or more people apply together?

Only one person can apply, receive the funds and participate in the Fellowship. Fellows may use their $75K to contract for assistance with discrete tasks in advancing your project.

17. What if I have multiple “bold ideas” that I’d like to submit for consideration? Should I submit one application with all of my ideas or multiple applications?   

ZSR understands that applicants may have multiple ideas and multiple projects in mind for which they would want spend their time exploring during the Fellowship. However, we are asking that applicants focus their application on one main project/idea, recognizing that the one main project/idea could have multiple related components. Applicants should not submit more than one application.

18. Is the $75,000 taxable income?

You will be issued a 1099 for the income received, which is also reported to the IRS and is taxable according to your individual income level and deductions.

19. When can I next apply for an All For NC Fellowship?

The first cohort of All For NC Fellows was awarded in May 2019. The group is expected to wrap up their Fellowships by the end of 2020. The next round of applications will not open until 2021. Please check our website at the end of 2020 for more information.  

20. Who should I contact if I am having technical difficulties with my application?

Please contact or Gloria Puckett at or call 336-725-7541, ext. 109.