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Big Bets Community Toolkit and Fellowship

Entered in Community Management


The Rockefeller Foundation has long hosted and supported leaders, scholars, scientists, artists, and many others around the world to do the work and thinking required to advance big ideas and innovations. Leveraging the momentum from the publication of our President's first book, Big Bets: How Large-Scale Change Really Happens, the Foundation sought to build a network of emerging leaders dedicated to and eager to learn how to make their own large-scale change, particularly on climate. 

In the first year, our goal was to build a community of 2500 emerging leaders and empower them to make transformative change, obtain access to resources to support and develop their big bets, and accelerate projects on global challenges and shape a better future. 

We also wanted to provide an opportunity for Big Bettors to learn from each other through a new 6-month Fellowship program that would launch at COP 28 in Dubai. Our goal was to obtain at least 30 qualified applicants for 10-15 spots in the program. 




On September 15, 2023, on the same day we announced the launch of our $1 billion strategy to reverse climate change and advance opportunity, The Rockefeller Foundation announced the formation of the Big Bets community and subsequently promoted it organically on its digital channels. In the first month, the community had 1,110 subscribers across 105 countries

The objectives for the community, included:

  1. To empower those around world—especially anyone inspired by the book--with similar goals to RF to work at a larger scale.
  2. To deepen RF’s relationships with emerging leaders who are solving large-scale problems, particularly in the climate space
  3. To effectively highlight Rockefeller's diverse programs and engagement opportunities.

In November, we distributed an interactive toolkit with guidelines and practical tips on what it takes to make a Big Bet. The toolkit was based on the Big Bets book and provided a step-by-step guide to unleashing big bets, solving root problems, attracting unlikely partners, and measuring progress. We designed the toolkit with Big Monocle and built it in house. Feedback regarding the toolkit has prompted us to consider creating a Big Bets curriculum. We are currently in discussions with universities about how to further operationalize the lessons of the book so that all emerging leaders can harness their big ideas.

In December, the community was the first to hear about a brand-new Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship designed to empower a diverse and interdisciplinary cohort of emerging leaders working to reverse the climate crisis and accelerate opportunity for the most vulnerable. The Big Bets Climate Fellowship is a six-month program that will be anchored in a week-long gathering at The Rockefeller Foundation’s renowned Bellagio Center in Lake Como, Italy. The Fellowship will provide 10-15 fellows with an opportunity to develop their Big Bet idea through a curated curriculum developed in partnership with IDEO. 

We subsequently announced the Fellowship opportunity through our President's social media channels while he was at COP28, but candidates had to join the community in order to receive information about how to formally apply. The community was provided with the information about how to apply in January. Applications opened February 1. 

The community grew quickly and we wanted to continue to provide them with valuable resources and opportunities. We worked  under tight deadlines to develop the toolkit and design the Fellowship. We have engaged a community management vendor to begin work this March to ensure we continue to deliver on our promises to this growing network. For the Fellowship's inaugural year, we only opened applications to individuals working in Latin America. We ran a targeted digital campaign in Latin America attempting to attract qualified candidates in the region to the community so they could apply. Our social media reps said that the LatAm region is particularly difficult to reach but through our campaign we significantly increased our Latin American community members, doubling our membership in countries like Brazil and Argentina. 


Today, the community has 2673 members from 165 countries across the globe. The toolkit has been accessed by more than 1000 members for more than 1500 sessions with an engagement rate of 64.8%. 

We just completed contracting with an outside partner to help manage this network for the remainder of the year. This work will include developing a:

The Fellowship page was accessed by more than 2100 users for more than 4,000 sessions with an engagement rate of 54.6%. We had a total of 62 community members apply for the fellowship - double our goal. We are now in the process of evaluating applications and we will select our winners in May.

To this point, the management of the community, video creation, and the development of web pages has all been done in house with a team of 5. We are proud of the work and eager to continue creating opportunities for Big Bettors around the globe.


Video for Big Bets Community Toolkit and Fellowship

Entrant Company / Organization Name

The Rockefeller Foundation


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