Become a Fellow

Challenge Detroit cultivates diverse, innovative, community-minded leaders from the City of Detroit and across the country, fostering their talents to support local initiatives that move Detroit forward. Each year, we recruit 30 individuals to join us in making an impact in Detroit through meaningful work and intellectual giving. Are you ready for a challenge?

How to become a Fellow

The application for our 2019-2020 program year is now closed. Please check back in January 2020 for information about applying for the 2020-2021 program year or fill out our interest form to be notified when our application opens.

In the meantime, please learn about what we are looking for in our candidates and learn about our process.

Who you are:

  • You are passionate, dedicated, proactive, hard-working, innovative and have a growth mindset 
  • You will have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution by the official program start date
  • You speak English fluently (all programs are conducted in English)
  • You are authorized to work in the United States for the duration of the program*

*Challenge Detroit does not assist with employment authorization, visa sponsorship, relocation or provide a housing stipend.

What you’ll experience:

  • The opportunity to live, work, play, give, and lead in Detroit
  • Valuable career development through employment at a top area host company Monday-Thursday
  • A multi-faceted leadership development program every Friday
  • How to leverage the art of design thinking
  • Collaboration with multiple Detroit-based nonprofits supporting them in moving their missions forward through various marketing,  development, design and revitalization projects
  • Connecting with and forming meaningful relationships with the broader Challenge Detroit community as well as your cohort
  • Access to cultural events, memberships to various organizations and more
  • Career development including a $38,000 annual salary plus benefits typical of host company*

*If you already have a job, your employer will determine your salary.

How to apply if you are seeking a job:

  • When completing your application, simply select the “Standard” application type

How to apply if you already have a job:

  • When completing your application, simply select the “Internal” application type
  • Your employer must approve your application to Challenge Detroit and be willing and able to participate in the program as a host company
  • Upon receiving your application, our staff will contact your employer to finalize engagement as a host company
  • You WILL NOT be required to interview with other host companies, but you WILL be required to attend the two-day interview trip in Detroit in May

As a Fellow, you’ll:

  • contribute innovative thinking and intellectual capital to philanthropic efforts in the city and region;
  • become an integral part of the Challenge Detroit community, as an active participant in initiatives, mentorship and programming;
  • collaborate with other Challenge Detroit Fellows, alumni and the community at large;
  • demonstrate professionalism, integrity, and leadership abilities;
  • commit one full year to the program (September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021);
  • be willing to document experiences in a variety of formats including social media, video and blogs; and
  • work closely with multi-disciplinary teams on various challenge projects.

Still want to know more? Click here to read our FAQs.

The Application Process

  • Fellowship Application

    You will submit a basic application along with your resume*, essay response and a 60-second video. If selected to be a finalist, you will be invited to the Interview Trip.

    *If applicable to your industry (architecture, graphic design, etc.), you will also be asked to submit your portfolio link.

  • The Interview Trip

    If invited to be a finalist, you will join us for a two-day Interview Trip that will occur in May in Detroit. At the Trip, you will interview with our host companies, engage with current and alumni Fellows, tour the city, and participate in an abbreviated challenge project experience. Following the Trip, the Challenge Detroit leadership and review team will work with the companies to determine final job placements. Attendance at the interview trip is required.


Diversity and inclusion are a cornerstone of Challenge Detroit. We believe that all persons are entitled to equal opportunity. We do not discriminate against qualified applicants because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, breastfeeding or related medical condition, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, genetic characteristic, military or veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. We strive to support a culture where people can be themselves and feel included while including others.