How many hours will I need to commit to this?

If this is the way you are thinking about the Academy, let us suggest politely that you not apply. The Academy is not intended to be leadership development or a fun side-project. Rather, it’s intended to accelerate your progress toward one of the most important goals your organization aspires to achieve. You are using us to help you accomplish something you need to accomplish anyway. Chances are, you will spend an enormous number of hours pursuing your goal—and the Academy will make up a small and strategic subset of those hours.  

Can leaders from corporations apply?

Yes, but honestly you have a harder burden of proof. We’re only interested in social impact, not profit, so you’d have to convince us that you share the same motive (and that the social change challenge is one of your top priorities). Also don’t forget the CEO would have to attend.

Can government leaders apply?

Yes. But part of how we’ll analyze your application is to assess how likely it is that your group can accomplish the change challenge. So if there are major roadblocks to your success—political gridlock, slashed budgets, legal uncertainties, etc.—and if those roadblocks are out of your control (and ours), that will be a significant disadvantage to your application.

Can students apply?

No, not unless you are also a full-time employee of an organization.


Yes, so long as your change mission involves social impact rather than spiritual.

I have an idea for social change but I haven’t started an organization. Can I come to cultivate my idea?

No, this is not a good forum for seed-stage entrepreneurs. You are better off looking for options like the Echoing Green fellowship that are good at cultivating social entrepreneurs.

Is the Change Academy focused on some particular domain, such as health care, education, etc.?

Any domain is fine. Because the Heaths’ books are built around research in psychology, there will be a bias toward goals that are behavioral rather than structural or policy-oriented. For instance, a group that wanted to encourage parents to read to their children would be favored over a group that wanted to change the policies around charter-school formation. But this is a preference rather than an “iron law.” (It would ultimately be considered under the “Fit” criterion. See, ‘How will the application be evaluated?’)

Can I apply without the CEO or Executive Director?

No. This is an important filter for us. The mission you select should be so important that it’s inconceivable that your top leader would not attend.

I work at a local chapter of the YMCA/United Way/BGCA/Big Brothers Big Sisters/etc. Is it okay for my local chapter’s CEO to attend or are you talking about the national CEO?

If it’s a team from the local chapter applying, then the local CEO is who we want. But if the national team wants to bring a national goal to the program, we would love to have them (and we’d want the national CEO).

What if there are only two or three people in my nonprofit?

You must be able to bring a team of three from your organization to the Academy. If you only have 3 or 4 people total, we will not prohibit you from applying, but please understand that you will have an extra ‘burden of proof’ when it comes to the issues of Impact and Organizational Strength (See, ‘How will the application be evaluated?’)

Is there any ability to get a sponsorship for travel expenses?

Nope, sorry.

Will I get course credit/a degree/a certificate/continuing ed credits/life points?

No, you won’t get any of that. But what you will get is hands-on assistance to help you accomplish one of your most important organizational goals.

I’m worried that I will try really hard but fail to hit certain milestones and you’ll keep my money.

Don’t worry. We truly, truly do not want to keep your money. The milestones will be based on effort, not on outcomes—we can’t base them on outcomes, since outcomes involve a measure of luck. So if you try hard, you will achieve them. Also, don’t forget you will co-define the milestones; they will not be imposed on you.

Rather than pay you upfront, could we just agree that no money will change hands, and that if we miss one of our milestones, we’ll pay you the penalty at that point.

No deal. No one will be admitted without paying the fee, in full, before the first session. 

When would we actually receive our money back, assuming we earned back the full amount?

You will receive a check for the full amount that’s due to you at the conclusion of the final session on July 18.

What airport should we fly into?


Where should we stay?

If you are admitted, we’ll provide all the travel info you need. If you need to ballpark hotel costs, just visit your favorite travel site and search Durham, NC hotels on the dates of the sessions.

Just to double-check: It’s really free, in the end?

Yes, we mean it!


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