The Community Incubator supports communities of peers initiated by alumni of key Schusterman programs, including ROI Community, REALITY and Connection Points. Learn more about eligibility.

The Community Incubator consists of three stages. Communities must participate in these stages in sequential order, though not every community will reach every stage.

“Build” Stage: Emerging communities are invited to apply to join the Incubator at this stage in order to build their capacity, programming and member base, and to strengthen their leadership. If accepted, the community will receive seed funding for staffing, events and/or technology. The Incubator will also provide ongoing community-building training, support from expert consultants and coaches, and participation in the Incubator's Community of Practice—a group of community leaders who learn from each other.

In general, communities operate in the “Build” stage for one year. If at the end of the year, the community is still vibrant with active leadership and is working toward social change, the community may either apply to continue in “Build” or apply to the “Scale” stage.

“Scale” Stage: Communities move to this stage when they are ready to significantly expand their reach and impact. Communities in this stage of the Incubator will receive all of the benefits of “Build,” plus additional funding and support for a large-scale, multi-day, in-person gathering. In this stage, the Incubator will also begin to assist communities in finding other funding sources.

After a year of successful participation in the “Scale” stage, the community may either apply to continue for one more year in “Scale” or move on to the “Sustain” stage.

“Sustain” Stage: Communities at this stage focus on solidifying their sustainability model by coming up with a concrete plan for future funding. Incubator funding may still be granted in "Sustain," though as communities become more stable, funding will be scaled back. Additional ongoing support will include continued networking and training for leaders.

At different points in the community’s life cycle, our support and resources may include:

  • Funding to support the launch and growth of the community;
  • Training to provide the foundational information and skills to help leaders successfully build their communities;
  • Access to expert consultants who will advise on key areas during the launch and growth of the community;
  • Inclusion in the Incubator Community of Practice to support leaders in learning from and sharing with each other as they build their communities; and
  • Online support to provide leaders with key resources and useful information.