Call for Applications — Social Innovator in Residence at Grinnell College

Building on the Legacy of the Grinnell Prize

July 01, 2023

Grinnell College is thrilled to announce that applications are now open for the Social Innovator in Residence Program. The Social Innovator in Residence program is designed to provide world-class social innovators time and space for respite, renewal, and inspiration. During the five- to seven-week residency, the innovator also serves as an inspiration and mentor for our students, who are developing the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue their own civic interests. The residency is open to people from around the world who are addressing complex systemic challenges in an equity-minded, systemic manner. 

2024 Grinnell College Social Innovator in Residence Application

The Social Innovator in Residence will: 

  • Spend time reflecting in Grinnell’s rural prairie community; 
  • Explore next steps in their social innovation work while collaborating with campus and community constituents; 
  • Leverage research support from campus constituents; 
  • Amplify their social innovation message or model by taking advantage of the College’s networks and resources; and 
  • Build professional connections, support systems, and mentor relationships through participation in the Grinnell College Social Innovator Network. 

The Social Innovator in Residence will inspire Grinnell College students, faculty, and staff by: 

  • Sharing their model, strategies, and tactics for addressing complex social and/or environmental issues; 
  • Modeling how to apply a systems thinking approach to changemaking; 
  • Leading cohort discussions, individual consultations, workshops, class visits, research projects, and/or experiential learning opportunities; and 
  • Exploring post-residency collaborations 


The Social Innovator will receive an award and stipend up to $50,000, along with housing on campus during the residency. 

Social Innovator in Residence applicants will be assessed on their ability to: 

  • Address a particular social justice challenge within a distinct context; 
  • Use an innovation model that:  
  • Is systemic 
  • Addresses not only immediate but also longer-term needs  
  • Transforms/disrupts underlying structures 
  • Explicitly includes plans for sustainability and/or scalability 
  • Involves the agency of those most impacted by the challenge 
  • Demonstrates measurable impact and shows promise for future impact 
  • Express an interest and the ability to mentor students in a higher education context; 
  • Convey the ability to incorporate students into civic work; 
  • Articulate how College resources provided during a residency can help further their mission; and 
  • Benefit from a period of reflection and respite. 

Who Should Apply? 

Individuals working in any sector who meet the following criteria are strongly encouraged to apply: 

  • Changemakers working on the cutting edge of social innovation; 
  • Leaders creating solutions to social justice issues; 
  • Visionaries tackling complex and systemic challenges in a sustainable and equitable way; 
  • Mentors inspiring the next generation of social innovators; and 
  • Social innovators who would benefit from time and space to further their social innovation work. 

Applications and Deadlines  

Applications for the Social Innovator in Residence program are now open. The application period will run until September 5, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. (CDT). After the application window closes, the selection process will proceed, with finalists being chosen in late November. Ultimately, the winner will be announced in February 2024, and their residency will commence in the fall of 2024. The program is open to individuals from around the world, fostering a global exchange of ideas and experiences. 

Important Dates  

  • Applications open: July 1, 2023  
  • Applications close: September 5, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. (CDT)  
  • Semi-finalist selection: October 2023  
  • Semi-finalist reference letters and supplemental information due: October 16, 2023  
  • Semi-finalist interviews: By late October 2023 
  • Finalist selection: Late November 2023  
  • Finalist interviews: December 2023 – early January 2024 
  • Winner selection: Late January – early February 2024  
  • Winner announcement: February 2024 
  • Fall 2024 residency 

For More Information 

Grinnell College is excited to invite social innovators from around the world to apply for this transformative opportunity. Join us in our mission to create positive change, advance social justice, and shape a better future for all. 

If you have additional questions about the Social Innovator in Residence program or application process, please contact Vicki Nolton, assistant director for social innovation partnerships and education, at  

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