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Truist Foundation Fellowship

Equipping Georgia-based entrepreneurs, small business owners, and nonprofit founders with the skills and network to scale their impact.

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Application Deadline: Friday, January 5th, 2024
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis after the deadline

Christele Parham, 2023 Truist Foundation Fellow

The Truist Foundation Fellowship, powered by the Watson Institute, is a fully-funded venture and leadership program designed for early-stage entrepreneurs, business owners, and nonprofit founders in Georgia. Fellows receive technical training, enhance their business acumen, and gain financial literacy knowledge, all tailored to amplify their impact within the communities they serve. This Fellowship is specifically intended for entrepreneurs dedicated to serving emerging markets across rural and urban Georgia through job creation and economic development initiatives.

This is a fully-funded program thanks to the support of the Truist Foundation.

Dates & Details

  • Dates: February 17th to June 6th, 2024 (16 weeks of programming)
  • Format: Weekly virtual workshops with localized gatherings and events when possible. Sessions are held on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30 am to 10:30 am ET and on Thursdays from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm ET.
  • In-Person Immersive: The program begins with a mandatory 1-day in-person immersive experience in Atlanta, Georgia, scheduled for February 17th, 2024, from 9 am to 7 pm ET.
  • Training: Fellows will engage in weekly expert-led modules covering subjects including Financial Literacy Skills, Foundations, Data & Metrics, Go-To-Market, Funding, Team Management, and Pitch.
  • In-Person Components: Every Thursday throughout the fellowship, Fellows will have the option to participate in in-person programming in Atlanta.
  • Impact Series: Renowned leaders, entrepreneurs, and practitioners join the fellowships we empower to share their entrepreneurial journey and experience, as well as mentor the Fellows. See previous Impact Series Speakers here.
  • Basecamp:A 1 to 2-day workshop designed and led by Fellows for their own stakeholders and communities. Fellows will receive a $1,000 stipend to support the implementation of the Basecamp events.
  • Summit: This is the culminating in-person community event where Fellows pitch to local leaders, funders, and entrepreneurs to be held in Atlanta on June 6th, 2024.
  • Venture Development Stipend: Fellows can earn up to $6,000 in venture development stipends based on the completion of Basecamp and their progress and impact throughout the Fellowship.


  • Who You Are:
    • You are an entrepreneur, small business owner, or nonprofit leader deeply committed to creating sustainable and scalable impact through job creation and economic development initiatives.
    • You are at the helm of a social impact venture or community endeavor with 1-5 years of traction, demonstrating a history of making a difference. Ideally, your venture operates in the realm of economic development in underserved and underbanked communities.
    • You possess an entrepreneurial spirit, a growth mindset, and a drive to become an effective leader within your community. The ideal venture stage for this fellowship is one that is in the Problem-Solution Fit or Product-Market Fit phases, with engaged customers or beneficiaries and demonstrated outcomes in both impact and revenue.
  • Where You Create Impact: Applicants located in or creating impact in markets across rural and urban Georgia, United States.
    • If your location is not listed above, we encourage you to explore other fellowships powered by Watson Institute. We are currently recruiting for several impactful fellowship opportunities across a diverse range of locations.
  • What You Are Looking For:
    • You are seeking expert-guided entrepreneurial training, a community of entrepreneurs to provide feedback that enhances your venture, and a broad-reaching mentor network to develop your leadership abilities and amplify the impact of your venture.
      • You are eager for an opportunity to challenge yourself by leading a Basecamp event, stepping out of your comfort zone, and spearheading an initiative that benefits your venture while serving your stakeholders and community

What You Will Accomplish

With the unwavering support of the Watson Institute and Truist Foundation teams, you will receive a comprehensive roadmap to guide the growth and scalability of your work and impact. You will acquire the skills to construct and refine your pitch, and you will have the opportunity to present it at the high-profile Summit event. Additionally, you will facilitate an impactful workshop and training session (known as a Basecamp) in your community for your stakeholders, supported by a stipend, playbook, and team assistance to bring your vision to life.

Application Process

1. Applications Submitted: Complete the online application. This application should take approximately 45 minutes to fill out. The final deadline for application submissions is January 5th, 2024. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis after the deadline.

2. First Round Review: Our Admissions Committee diligently reviews all applications, seeking entrepreneurs who demonstrate strong leadership qualities and ventures that are both innovative and scalable. Applications received after the deadline will be assessed on a rolling basis as needed.

3. Interview: Qualified applicants will receive invitations for a 20-minute one-on-one Zoom interview. This interview allows us to delve deeper into your motivations for pursuing the fellowship and to gain a better understanding of your venture. Interviews will commence during the week of December 1st, 2023.

4. Admissions Committee Review: The most promising applicant profiles will be shared with our external Admissions Committee for their final review and selection.

5. Acceptances Announced: Notifications of acceptance will be sent out during the week of January 19th, 2024.

6. Fellows Confirm & Enroll: The final step to complete your enrollment is to confirm your commitment to the program. Upon confirmation, you will receive an invitation to participate in a “Meet the Cohort Webinar” event leading up to the program’s commencement. The program begins February 17th, 2024.

Program Elements

The Truist Foundation Fellowship offers award-winning training, dedicated mentorship, and a dynamic peer community. We are here to to equip you with the skills and insights necessary to supercharge your venture and make a lasting impact. The workshops, speakers, mentors, and community support for this fellowship will be adapted and customized to serve those leading job creation, financial inclusion, and workforce development initiatives in Georgia.

Pay the Impact Forward: Empower Your Communities through Basecamps


Grow your leadership skills, build local partnerships, and expand your impact by facilitating a Watson Institute Basecamp in your community.

Every Fellow receives training, a playbook, and a financial stipend to facilitate a Basecamp—a one to three day intensive workshop—in their community, empowering them to drive positive change locally. As a key deliverable of the Truist Foundation Fellowship, all Fellows will facilitate a Basecamp event during their time in the program. Fellows are empowered through their training to tailor the Basecamp structure and outcomes to their desired participant community.

Fellowships are designed to educate, empower, and drive impact, with each element of the program contributing towards the long-term impact of the Truist Foundation Fellows and their communities. Basecamps stand as a pillar of this journey. Fellows who have lead successful Basecamps have unlocked opportunities to new partnerships, additional funding avenues, media exposure, and have created a ripple effect of deeper impact within their communities.

Learn More

In 2023, Truist Foundation Fellows had a direct impact on over 600 individuals through their Basecamps.

Basecamps were held across Georgia including Atlanta, Duluth, Kennesaw, Douglasville, Macon, and Clarkston.

“The most impactful moment in the Basecamp was to see youth and adults feel comfortable with sharing, asking questions, and engaging panelists on relevant topics that affect them and their families. We created a safe space for us to listen, learn, share, and grow together using a 2GEN Approach.”

– Dr. Chuck Barlow, TFF ’23.

Truist Foundation Fellows are Making an Impact

17 Fellows and alumni from Georgia have created impact for over 600 entrepreneurs, through the Basecamps they run and initiatives they help lead.


Higher Education

Patrick Rodriguez ’23 | Georgia Coalition for Higher Education in Prison

The Georgia Coalition for Higher Education in Prison builds high-quality educational pathways from pre-college coursework to accredited degree completion. They support previously incarcerated people through their journey home and families that have a loved one impacted by the criminal legal system in navigating resources and receiving wraparound services. The venture aims to service over 325 people affected by the criminal legal system this year alone.


Jessica Lewis’23 | MOBU Enterprises

MOBU Enterprises is a green construction company that builds residential and commercial structures out of shipping containers in vulnerable communities to provide healthier, more affordable, and innovative alternatives to traditionally built housing. The venture positively impacts disenfranchised inner-city communities and constituents, has created 200+ jobs, and proudly hires from immigrant, previously incarcerated, and veteran communities.


Staffing Services

Dickey Comeaux ’23 | The B Suite

The B Suite supports organizations in efficiently meeting their hiring and diversity goals through interim staffing services. Their mission is to connect the world’s most historically oppressed talent with flexible career opportunities to reduce power and wealth disparities, build financial and professional independence, and increase diversity across the c-suite and senior leadership. To date, the B Suite has served over 355 talent professionals.

Alumni Panel

Learn what our Alumni and Fellows have to say about Watson Institute.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the eligibility for this program?

Your venture is in Problem-Solution or Product-Market Fit Stage.
Ideal candidates are entrepreneurs, small business owners, or nonprofit leaders with 1 to 5 years of demonstrated traction supporting underserved, underbanked, or marginalized communities with economic advancement and job creation.

The Truist Foundation Fellowship seeks exceptional candidates who are entrepreneurs or community leaders currently at the Problem-Solution or Product-Market Fit stage, demonstrating a tangible history of impact and leadership within their community. This typically includes a track record of successfully raising funds through grants, investments, donations, or other means to support their ventures. Additionally, candidates might have a team of up to ten full-time members.

Furthermore, we prioritize individuals who are fully committed to actively participating in the entire four-month program. At the heart of our program is a strong sense of community, and its success hinges on the active engagement and enthusiasm of all participants, who are eager to both learn and share.

What are the eligibility requirements for the Venture Development Stipend?

Fellows have the potential to receive a venture development stipend of up to $4,000, contingent on their active participation in the program, leading a Basecamp, and successfully completing the workshop-related checkpoint assignments. In addition, all Fellows are eligible to receive a $1,000 stipend to support the implementation of their Basecamp.

How selective is this program?

We receive a high volume of applications each year and have a 3% selectivity rate for our programs.

What do the in-person components entail?

Fellows will travel to Atlanta, Georgia, for a 1-day in-person immersive to build community and learn about key programmatic information. The program’s culminating event–Summit will be held in-person in Atlanta, Georgia.

Every Thursday throughout the fellowship, Fellows will meet in person with the Program Manager and external guest speakers.

What are the costs associated with this program (travel, fees, deposit, etc.)?

Fellows may be responsible for some travel expenses and meals during in-person programming. No fees are collected or directly associated with this Fellowship.

What is the application review timeline?

We understand the substantial interest in our program and strive to provide prompt responses. Decisions will be dispatched during the week of January 19th, 2024. Your patience during this process is greatly appreciated.

Can I apply if my country is not listed under the priority countries?

Unfortunately, we are not able to consider applications outside the geographies listed above. However, we run numerous programs a year and are likely to have an opportunity to you in the future. We encourage you to check back regularly and reach out to the Watson Institute team member for more information.

I have another question and need assistance.

For all other questions, please reach out to Milena Kirillova at

The Truist Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Truist, which is the sixth largest bank in the North America. Truist’s purpose is to inspire and build better lives and communities. Truist partners directly with nonprofit organizations that support wealth building for historically excluded communities.