The Saltwater Fellowship

The Saltwater Fellowship is a new initiative of The Miami Foundation that invests boldly in leaders who are moving the needle on the most pressing issues facing Greater Miami. This fellowship is designed by leveraging data and insights about our community’s needs with a goal to bring resources and support to those at the forefront of solutions.


This inaugural Saltwater Fellowship is inspired by our urgency to address the racial inequities we see in our community data. Research shows that there is persistent racial inequity across a wide variety of metrics, including graduation rates, wealth creation, maternal mortality rates, incarceration rates, and more. Despite the profound positive impact that marginalized Miamians have on our community at large, across each metric, these community members still experience deep inequities – for a stark illustration, see our 2024 State of Black Philanthropy report. At The Miami Foundation, we know that Greater Miami cannot reach its potential without a thriving community in which all of its residents have an opportunity to meaningfully participate and thrive, and we feel an urgency to invest deeply in those closest to the issue.


Nominations are now closed. We look forward to announcing the inaugural class of Saltwater Fellows in mid-June.

About the Program

The Saltwater Fellowship is a 12-month fellowship combined with a two-year unrestricted grant totaling $100,000 to propel the work of outstanding leaders. In its inaugural cohort, The Fellowship will invest in leaders with an extraordinary track record of leadership addressing racial inequity in the Greater Miami region.


To fuel the sustainability and ultimate success of our Fellows, the in-person fellowship program includes community-based skills training and equity labs, as well as coaching and wellness retreats.

Who this is for

In its inaugural cohort, The Foundation will select ten leaders who are addressing racial equity in Miami-Dade County through their work in social impact or mission-driven sectors.


Strong candidates will:


        • Work in Miami-Dade County and live in the Greater Miami region
        • Have a serious track record of outstanding leadership, grounded in a history of addressing racial inequities and systemic change, and strengthening historically disadvantaged communities to improve the social fabric of Greater Miami
        • Lead an organization that employs at least two full-time staff members
        • Demonstrate an ability to build coalitions and cross-sector partnerships
        • Be curious, eager to innovate, and a problem solver 
        • Considering the specific and pronounced gaps we see in Miami-Dade data regarding Black community strength, we especially encourage leaders of organizations that are rooted in and serve Black communities or otherwise have a deep understanding of the issues facing the Black community to apply

We will prioritize applications from leaders whose work focuses on one or more of the following focus areas:


        • Arts & culture – Healing communities through the practice of creative art
        • Education & economic advancement – Homeownership, small business development, education and workforce development
        • Health – Racial trauma, infant/mother mortality, underinsured, uninsured, mental health and the Medicaid-eligible population
        • Racial justice – Community organizing, advocacy, law, and/or policy reform
        • Strengthening neighborhoods and community resilience – Culturally responsive programs that address specific community needs, such as climate/ disaster

What You Get

The Saltwater Fellowship is an investment in the leadership and genius of people at the forefront of building a greater Miami.

The Fellowship includes:

      • Unrestricted Funding – A two-year unrestricted grant totaling $100,000 to propel the leader’s work
      • Excellence Labs – Two-day leadership development labs aimed at helping leaders scale their work in the community to create systemic change
      • Equity Labs – One-day relationship-building labs to connect Fellows to philanthropic, business, media, and government leaders
      • Wellness Labs – One-day wellness sessions that encourage connection to wellbeing through self-care
      • Coaching – Leadership coaching to provide strategic support and accountability
      • Community – A network of community leaders, including our former leadership graduates, partners and supporters.

Key Dates

The following are dates for all required program sessions. All sessions are in person and are a mix of one- and two-day labs.

Key Dates
      • Fellowship Kick-off: August 22 – 23, 2024
      • Equity Lab: September 13, 2024
      • Excellence Lab: October 10-11, 2024
      • Equity Lab: November 8, 2024
      • Wellness Lab: December 12 -13, 2024
      • Excellence Lab: January 16 – 17, 2024
      • Equity Lab: February 21, 2025
      • Excellence Lab: March 13 – 14, 2025
      • Equity Lab: April 11, 2025
      • Wellness Lab: May 16, 2025
      • Excellence Lab: June 5 – 6, 2025
      • Closing Ceremony: June 27, 2025

Getting Started

To be considered for the Saltwater Fellowship, applicants must first be nominated by someone other than the applicant. Nominations can be submitted by visiting this link to complete a short form.

Application and Selection Timeline
      • Announcement: February 27, 2024
      • Nomination period: February 28 – March 21
      • Application due: April 4, 2024
      • Finalists notified to schedule interview: April 19, 2024
      • Interview period: May 6 – 10, 2024
      • Notification of fellowship: May 31, 2024
      • Fellows Announcement: June 17, 2024
      • Fellowship Period Start: August 2024
Nomination and Application Form

If you’d like to start answering the questions included in the nomination and application forms, here is a link to download them.


And, once you’re ready, nominations can be submitted by visiting this link to complete a short form.

Info Sessions and Office Hours

There will be two virtual information sessions for interested applicants to learn more about the Fellowship. Please find below dates/times for each session. A recording will also be available on this page.



If you missed the information session, here is a link where you can watch it.


All leaders considering a proposal are encouraged to sign up for an optional 20-minute meeting with Foundation staff to learn more about the funding opportunity, share their work and impact, and discuss any questions they may have. Click here to schedule through Calendly.


Check out our FAQ document.  


For any additional questions, please contact:

Nikisha Williams, Managing Director, Collective Impact

Advisory Council
      • Belissa Alvarez – Director, The Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation
      • Sheldon Anderson – Chairman, Grove Bank & Trust
      • Jaret Davis – Global Senior Vice President and Co-Managing Shareholder, Greenberg and Traurig, LLP
      • Marvin Dunn – Historian and Founder, Teach the Truth Tours
      • Rebecca Fishman Lipsey – President & CEO, The Miami Foundation
      • Carole Hall – Former Associate Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, John Wiley and Sons, Inc
      • Felecia Hatcher – CEO, Black Ambition Prize
      • Linda Julien – Councilwoman, City of Miami Gardens
      • Rodrick Miller – President & CEO, Miami-Dade Beacon Council
      • Kerry-Ann Royes – President & CEO, YWCA of South Florida
      • Marta Viciedo Miami Program Director, Knight Foundation


The Saltwater Fellowship is made possible with the generous support of donors to The Racial Equity Fund at The Miami Foundation, a commitment to addressing and eradicating racism in all of its forms in Greater Miami. We are grateful to the 150+ donors, including catalytic investments from the Jorge Perez Family Foundation, Facebook and others such as –

Logos for: Jorge Perez Family Foundation Edward S. Moore Family Foundation William R Watts Foundation John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Robert & Jane Toll Foundation Meta