Letter: Initiators Fellowship helps early-stage social entrepreneurs

The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.

To the editor:

Two years ago, I learned about an amazing, one-of-a-kind opportunity called the Initiators Fellowship, which is a partnership of West Central Initiative, the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, the Central Minnesota Initiative Foundation, and the Southwest Initiative Foundation. I learned about it late in the process, and I applied anyway. A few months later I was selected to receive one of the seven fellowships from among 80 applicants.

The fellowship is designed to assist early-stage social entrepreneurs for two years by providing financial, educational, and professional network support. I feel so blessed to have been selected and, despite all the craziness of this past year, I feel like it has helped me grow the youth empowerment nonprofit I founded called P’s and Q’s Etiquette.

P’s and Q’s exists to help marginalized and disadvantaged youth in the Moorhead-Fargo area find their voice and power by developing the skills, knowledge and connections to be the leaders they were born to be. The Initiators Fellowship has provided me high-level business and leadership training, a professional mentor, connection to all kinds of resources and $30,000 a year of financial support so I’ve had the space to focus on developing my nonprofit and my local leadership.

When anyone with a good idea and passion for a cause asks me if they should apply for the fellowship, I tell them to go for it! I have learned so much, developed my leadership and found new friends and professional colleagues who support what I am doing. I think our local youth and our entire community benefit from my involvement in this program.


So, check out the Initiators Fellowship website at, take the eligibility quiz and apply if you are eligible. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Take it from me!

Rachel Stone, 2020-21 Initiators Fellow

Moorhead, MN

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