Apply to Become a 40 Chances Fellow for $150k in Funding (5/31)

40Chances40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World

If you had the resources to accomplish something great in the world, what would you do? Legendary investor Warren Buffett posed this challenge to his son in 2006, when he announced he was leaving the bulk of his fortune to philanthropy. Howard G. Buffett set out to help the most vulnerable people on earth – nearly a billion individuals who lack basic food security. And Howard has given himself a deadline: 40 years to put more than $3 billion to work on this challenge.

Each of us has about 40 chances to accomplish our goals in life. This is a lesson Howard learned through his passion for farming. All farmers can expect to have about 40 growing seasons, giving them just 40 chances to improve on every harvest. This applies to all of us, however, because we all have about 40 productive years to do the best job we can, whatever our passions or goals may be. In partnership with Tony Blair’s Africa Governance Initiative and the World Food Prize, individuals aged between 18 – 40 from around the world can apply to be named a 40 Chances Fellow.

What To Expect

The 40 Chances Fellows program will fund four 40 Chances Fellows with the most innovative social enterprise plans that use strategies built on the principles of 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World.  These social enterprises must seek to address issues of hunger, conflict, or poverty and may be established in any one of the following four countries where the Africa Governance Initiative has a strong presence: Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Malawi.

Each strategy must involve local leadership and management into the operations of the social enterprise by integrating local place-based ownership and relying on locally driven design, development, and deployment in its programs or services.  In addition, these enterprises should fill gaps in existing value chains, or otherwise combine a variety of complementary and existing efforts into a comprehensive and integrated approach to solve the intended challenge.

The application timeline for the fellowship runs from October 17, 2013, to May 31, 2014.  Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 39 on the date the application closes (May 31, 2014).  Winners will be selected by a blue ribbon panel of judges and formally announced at the 2014 World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue in Des Moines, Iowa.  Each of four fellows will receive $80,000 in start-up funds and $70,000 for living and transportation expenses (a total of $150,000) for one year.

During their first year of activity, fellows will be required to submit quarterly update reports to the World Food Prize.

Applicants should take into account the 40 Chances Principles when constructing their applications. Be prepared to have your full profile and contact information available.  Also, you will be asked for supporting material such as a short statements about the organization’s intended impact, the use of funds (such as a line-item budget), and a strategic plan for your social enterprise. The final section of the application will ask a series of questions related to the type of impact you hope to achieve with your activities.

We recommend having the following files/documents prepared:

Business Documents
(Excel, DOC, CSV, PDF, etc)

  • Resume / CV
  • Budget outline
  • Business plan

Profile materials
(JPG, PNG, PDF, etc)

  • A photo of yourself
  • Your company or organization logo
  • Photos of your project

The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Tony Blair’s Africa Governance Initiative, and the World Food Prize retain the right to make all final determinations on winners of the 40 Chances Fellows awards, and will not discriminate on the basis of anything other than the merit of the application, its alignment with the values of 40 Chances, and its fit with broader program goals of the three organizations. We retain the right to use or publish all information provided in the application, but will not disclose your phone number or mailing address beyond the program partners.  We reserve the right to contact you for additional supporting material if you are selected as a finalist for the fellowship.  By applying for the fellowship, applicants release The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Tony Blair’s Africa Governance Initiative, and the World Food Prize from any and all damages and liability resulting from participation in the program.


Jelisa Adair

I am the Civic Engagement Fellow for 2013-2014. While a student at Wesleyan I double majored in Psychology and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and completed a joint thesis during my senior year. I am interested in issues of social justice, mental health, media, and global welfare. 

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