SAGE Legacy Fellowship – Frequently Asked Questions

Become a Legacy Fellow. Change your corner of the world one project at a time.

Changing the world, even a small corner of it, takes more than good intentions. If you’re like most people, it can be difficult to decide what to do and where to start. The Legacy Fellowship takes the guesswork out of how to get from here to there.

Now in its seventh year, SAGE has trained and supported nearly 70 Fellows to lead community-benefit projects of their own design. These projects run the gamut; mentoring programs; community gardens; student scholarships; establishing city parks and many more.

Read on to learn more about this program, offered by the nonprofit SAGE.

SAGE is a public charity that engages people in nonprofit organizations and social movements. We offer our nine-month Legacy Fellowship to train and support Fellows to lead community benefit projects of their own design. SAGE’s coaches, advisors and partners help Fellows define an area of need and then break down a solution into small steps. Through the program, Fellows launch their own focused project to change their corner of the world for the better.

We offer our Fellowship because we believe there is a need for people to innovate, take risks, and accelerate solutions to the challenges we’ll face in the future. We also know that Fellows who lead projects inspire others to do the same: a virtuous cycle. 

  • Make a lasting impact by applying your talent to create an opportunity for the future.
  • Strengthen your project leadership with the support of our coaches, advisors, and partners.
  • Join our community of Fellows and encourage others to lead their own projects too.

This year, and in response to the pandemic, SAGE is offering a special Fellowship program centered on our single call to action: How can we help students recover from a tough year at school? This year’s Fellowship includes two phases. 

  • Phase 1: In the first three months of the program, we'll focus on the above question (how to help students recover?) that reflects a community challenge, an opportunity, and an area of need. Together, we will learn more about the question by learning about ourselves and our personal experience with the challenge, and by developing empathy for the people who experience this challenge. Through this process, we will generate ideas for community benefit projects that relate to this question, including projects that may be of interest to students, teachers, schools, districts, and nonprofit and governmental organizations. At the end of Phase 1, you decide whether to continue into Phase 2 of the program and to lead your own community benefit project.
  • Phase 2: In the remaining six months, you’ll be trained and supported to launch your project. Together with other fellows, you’ll develop and hone your leadership skills, and we’ll help you leverage opportunities and overcome challenges. We’ll also share insights and practices on how to attract more resources to your project and how to inspire, engage and build trust with others involved. Depending on your project, you’ll likely develop a deeper relationship with a project host such as a school, a district, or a nonprofit or government partner, and positively influence many other people.

The 2021 Legacy Fellowship begins in May. We’ll schedule the start date and all sessions based on the availability of incoming Fellows. The program will end with a graduation ceremony in January. The entire program is offered online.

There are at least four types of projects possible: 

  • Entrepreneur – Innovate and execute a project to solve a problem or meet a need. 
  • Organizer – Organize neighbors, friends, or colleagues for a project of lasting impact. 
  • Manager – Manage a significant volunteer project for an existing organization. 
  • Policy advocate – Identify a public policy initiative to advance such as local matters that concern educational services for students. 

This year, Fellows will be supported to develop projects that are responsive to our focus question: How can we help students recover? During the program, SAGE will help you identify prospective schools, districts, and nonprofit or governmental partners who might be interested in working with you as you lead your project. 

Whether you’re working full-time, part-time, retired, or seeking what’s next, any adult may apply. Fellows can participate in the program regardless of where they live. Most of SAGE’s program Advisors and Partners are based in Oregon, and Fellows are encouraged to develop projects that benefit Oregonians or that are relevant nationwide.

To apply, complete the General Application.

Tuition for Phase 1 is $250, payable upon your acceptance. Tuition for Phase 2 is $750. You can participate in and pay for Phase 1 only, but you must participate in Phase 1 to attend Phase 2.

If cost is a barrier, you may apply for a Tuition Waiver Application. 

You can also pay for your Phase 2 tuition in the form of volunteer hours leading your project on behalf of a school, a district, or a nonprofit or governmental organization. SAGE will value each volunteer hour you contribute toward your project. You are eligible for a full Phase 2 tuition waiver (valued at $750) if you serve at least 50 hours with one of the above types of partners.

Tuition covers all sessions and our graduation celebration. After graduation, you join SAGE’s Alumni Network for ongoing support.

To apply, complete the General Application.

To help you achieve your goals, we ask Fellows to make these commitments:

  • Attend 10 out of 12 sessions over the 9-month program. Session # 1 is a 1-hour orientation and Session # 12 is a public celebration for Fellows. On average, each session lasts about 2 hours. Taken together, the sessions total 24 hours of time and include some pre-work to take advantage of the content presented. Sessions are scheduled based on the group’s availability.
  • During the first five sessions (Phase 1), participate in our design challenge. During the remaining seven sessions (Phase 2), develop and lead your project. In all sessions, you will be coached to define and develop your project and to hone and apply your leadership skills. Over the course of the program, Fellows may decide to participate in Phase 1 only, but they must participate in Phase 1 in order to participate in Phase 2. 
  • Dedicate 2+ hours a week to design and develop your project and to achieve a major milestone by the end of the program in January (75 hours total over nine months), beyond scheduled meetings. Fellows who decide to participate in Phase 1 only will not be asked to continue to lead a project, but they will be encouraged to be involved in another project.

SAGE will support you with:

  • Expert coaching – The sessions will be facilitated by SAGE’s coaches, who will also be available between sessions to provide coaching and advice. Sessions may also include guest speakers, depending on the topics that Fellows need to cover.
  • Content experts – Advisors offer a range of expertise and are available to provide project and strategic advice.
  • Recognition – At our graduation ceremony and dinner, we celebrate your accomplishments with partners, friends, volunteers and other guests, and promote your work in the media.

For some, your project will have a defined end point; for others, it will be the start of a living legacy. For all, our program will unite a community of Fellows bonded by their desire to give forward through projects of their own design. 

As a Legacy Fellow, you will be supported by five experienced coaches who care about you and the success of your project. SAGE’s coaches participate in one or more sessions and some are available for personal, one to one coaching during the program. Our coaches help fellows navigate opportunities and challenges related to leadership, building community, and personal well-being.

Our coaching team:

  • Steve Higgs is the Executive Director of SAGE, where he has trained and supported nearly 70 Legacy Fellows over the past six years. Steve also manages SAGE’s other programs and serves as a liaison between Fellows, Coaches, Advisors and Partners. Steve will serve as your primary liaison to SAGE and as a coach for Phases 1 and 2 of the program.
  • Erin Bray is a coach for Phase 1 of the program (the design challenge). Erin is a facilitator of student-led design challenges, and she has engaged hundreds of students to investigate system-wide questions related to student success. Click to learn about Erin.
  • Bettie Spruill is a coach for Phase 2 of the program (project leadership). Bettie is an executive coach, management consultant, entrepreneur, and trainer with over 40 years’ experience in the field of transformational leadership. She is also a recognized thought leader in Ontological, Mindful, and Ecological Living. Click to learn about Bettie.
  • Michelle Andrada is a coach for Phase 2 of the program (project leadership). Michelle has coached executives, business owners and other professionals for almost 20 years. She also has facilitated and co-facilitated numerous leadership and sales trainings, and is skilled in coordinating teams and various projects. Click to learn about Michelle.
  • Paul Werder is a coach for Phase 2 of the program (project leadership). Paul is the founder of LionHeart Consulting and has over 30 years of experience in leadership development. Paul’s clients are consistently surprised at the relevance, inspiration and practical applications that he brings to every coaching conversation. Click to learn about Paul.

SAGE’s Advisors support Fellows during the program. Advisors are available for short (30 to 60-minute) conversations by phone or video during Phases 1 or 2 of the program. All Advisors are aware of the goals of the Fellowship and this year’s focus question.

  • Phase 1 Advisors offer insights or expertise related to the focus question. Through interviews with these Advisors, Fellows can better understand the question and begin to generate project ideas that could be further developed in Phase 2. 
  • Phase 2 Advisors offer expertise in fields that are relevant to many projects. Through interviews with these Advisors, Fellows can gain advice regarding advocacy, building inclusive projects, communications, events, fundraising, storytelling, and more.

SAGE also regularly connects incoming Fellows to our program alumni, many of whom continue to lead their own projects. Alumni share a bond with incoming Fellows.

Interested in being an Advisor? Click here to sign-up!

SAGE’s Partners are available to explore with Fellows various opportunities to lead a project on behalf of the Partner. This year, we are supporting Fellows to develop projects that will help students recover from a tough year at school. We also strongly encourage Fellows to lead projects on behalf of project hosts (Partners) such as schools, districts, and nonprofit and government groups. There is a huge range of projects that can be developed and led such as direct service to students and families or projects that support communications, fundraising and resource development, evaluation, and much more. 

Fellows can lead projects for Partners regardless of whether they are on site or online. Fellows can also identify and engage new Partners during the course of the program. 

To support our Fellows and our Partners, SAGE gives priority consideration for any Fellowship applicants who are referred to us by Partners. Fellows are also eligible for a Phase 2 tuition waiver (valued at $750) if they serve 50+ hours with a Partner (or a group of Partners).

Interested in being a Partner? Click here to sign-up!

Contact SAGE’s Executive Director, Steve Higgs, to learn more about the program or to ask questions. Steve can be reached by email at [email protected] or phone at 971-717-6570.