GRIT: A New Leadership and International Scholarship Program

Cynthia Banks Blog

2,000 students: that’s number of remarkable individuals Foundation for Global Scholars (FGS) has supported since 2007 with scholarships for study abroad programs. These students have transformed into global citizens and brought back new ideas to the U.S. while developing cultural competence through international experience.

FGS has also transformed. We learned that young adults need more than an international experience to make a meaningful impact on the world. They want training on how to act consciously and intentionally to create sustainable impact. They want mentors. In answer to the needs of our constituents, FGS has created the GRIT leadership and scholarship program.

This experience for Globally Remarkable Intentional Talent cultivates conscious global leaders through a three-stage program where scholars gain the knowledge, experience, and network to ensure they are tackling global challenges with a whole-community approach. We know that we cannot address every complex issue facing our world, but we can develop leaders with a holistic perspective to tackle those problems.

The GRIT program supports these scholars in a multi-stage experience starting with the GRIT Summit, continuing with a financially-supported international experience, and concluding with a local or global project. Throughout the program scholars receive ongoing mentorship.

The GRIT Summit is a four-day gathering in Denver, Colorado in June. This program equips participants with conscious leadership skills, cultivates design thinking, explores the relationship between good intentions and unintended consequences, works to improve communication skills with people of different backgrounds, and connects participants with mentors.

The GRIT Scholars receive a $3,000 scholarship for their international experience. Scholars must participate in a program abroad for no less than 28 days on a university-accredited program or a vetted partner program. This time abroad will be spent immersed in the culture building relationships with community members, learning from locals, and practicing cultural competence.

While abroad or after returning to their local communities in the U.S., GRIT Scholars are expected to conduct a project addressing a local or global challenge. These projects can be executed in several ways, including community organizing, research, and design thinking.

The application to the GRIT program will open at the beginning of 2016.