John M. Belk Impact Fellowship

Nurturing Social Impact Leaders

In 2020 the John M. Belk Endowment and The Hunt Institute came together to develop The John M. Belk Impact Fellowship. Designed with the goal of building future leaders in the area of social impact, the Fellowship places college students in 10-month long internships with organizations focused on providing equitable access to quality education.

Fellowship Overview

The John M. Belk Impact Fellowship honors the legacy of John M. Belk – a man who exemplified servant leadership and consistently sought out ways to lift up others.

The Fellowship was developed in partnership with the John M. Belk Endowment, an organization that focuses its work on “creating pathways to and through postsecondary education for underrepresented students.”  The Fellowship is a natural extension of this vision, as Fellows are fulltime college students placed at organizations at the forefront of the fight for educational justice and opportunity. The aim is to create a disruptive force for educational equity in the state of North Carolina, empowering Fellows by ultimately creating the next generation of education change leaders.

“At the John M. Belk Endowment, we have long held a central belief that guides our work – an understanding that talent is universal, but opportunity is not. In the individuals selected in this first cohort, we see the future – one that is more inclusive, kind, capable, reflective, and representative of what our society should be.”
- MC Belk Pilon, President & Board Chair, John M. Belk Endowment


The John M. Belk Impact Fellowship program:

  • Exposes current college students attending North Carolina colleges and universities to the inner workings of nonprofit organizations across the state.
  • Presents Impact Fellows with a diverse cohort of peers interested in advancing educational equity for all North Carolinians.
  • Affords participants the opportunity to engage with thought leaders in the social impact space via a regularly scheduled speaker series.
  • Promotes pathways and establishes networks for future opportunities in the sector.


The primary focus of the John M. Belk Impact Fellowship is to create a disruptive force for social justice, providing hands on experience in the social impact space to current college students to support the development of the next generation of leaders.

Impact Fellows are engaged in a wide array of learning experiences, including:

  • Ownership of far reaching and high impact projects at a diverse array of nonprofit host organizations.
  • Hands on skill building in functional areas in the nonprofit space including philanthropy, program management, finance and operations, communications and marketing, and research and evaluation.
  • Mentoring and coaching provided by The Hunt Institute.
  • Professional development via workshops and speakers.

2020-2021 Host Organizations


Application Information

To apply, prospective Impact Fellows need to complete this Application Form, as well as provide:

  • Current resume listing extracurricular activities, honors, employment, community service, and any special skills.
  • Answers to the three short answer questions included in the application form.
  • Unofficial transcripts from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended.
  • Two letters of recommendation, preferably from one former employer and one former professor.


  • Must be enrolled full time in one of the following categories:
    • Second year at community college
    • Junior or senior at four-year postsecondary institution
    • Master’s student graduating in 2022 or 2023
  • Able to commit to a minimum of 11 hours per week of Fellowship activities from August 1, 2021 – June 1, 2022.
  • 3.0+ GPA


March 15, 2021 – Application Opens

April 9, 2021 @ 6 pm ET– Info Session I

April 10, 2021 2 pm ET – Info Session II

April 15, 2021 @ 11:59pm – Applications Due

April 30, 2021 @ 12:00pm – Interview Invitations

May 10 – 21, 2021 – Interviews

May 26, 2021 – Acceptance Notifications

June 1, 2021 – Acceptance Deadline

June 14, 2021 – Orientation

June 21 – 25, 2021 – Meet w/ Host Organization

July 12, 2021 – First Cohort Meeting

August 2, 2021 – Fellowship Start Date

May 27, 2022 – Fellowship End Date

June 6, 2022 – Closing Ceremony



How many Fellows will be accepted?

For the 2021-2022 cohort, we expect to select 12-15 Impact Fellows.

How many hours will I be expected to complete each week at my host site placement?

Impact Fellows are to complete 10 hours per week at their host site to remain in good standing and receive the full stipend amount. Additionally, Impact Fellows will meet on a bi-weekly basis with the Director of Equity Initiatives and participate in monthly Professional Development opportunities. On average, Fellows can expect to complete 10-11.5 hours of Fellowship activities per week.

What exactly will I be doing? What will my time at my placement look like?

Impact Fellows work on a variety of projects, from policy briefs and research, to social media efforts and quantitative analysis. We match Impact Fellows based on the needs of the host organizations and the skills and interests of the prospective Fellow. No two experiences are alike.

What is the amount of the stipend and how will it be disbursed?

Impact Fellows receive a $6000 stipend for participation in the Fellowship. The stipends are distributed via mailed checks each month for the ten months of the Impact Fellowship.

Where will I be placed?

Placements are determined after reviewing the needs of our host organizations and the professional aspirations of prospective Fellows.

What is the relationship between The Hunt Institute and the John M. Belk Endowment?

The Hunt Institute is a grantee of the John M. Belk Endowment and serves as administrator for this Fellowship.

I have a question that is not addressed here, who can I contact?

For any questions related to the Impact Fellowship, please contact Senegal Mabry, Senior Policy Analyst, at


John M. Belk Impact Fellows