There are a lot of people across the region working to make their communities better for everyone. They know that sometimes, in order to make things better, you’ve got to change the way things get done. As communities become increasingly diverse, they know that to be successful they need to be able to work with people from all walks of life.

Downloads & Information

Change Networks are designed to help people become even better at working across differences and improving organizations and systems to effectively serve all in a community. We have partnered with The Bush Foundation to create a cohort-style leadership development program that aims to help people develop both the skills and support they need to make the places they live and work better for everyone. In addition to being able to participate in this program at no cost, participants will receive coaching and have the opportunity to request funds to implement systems change in their organizations or communities.

This cohort-style program will enable 15 participants to build their self-awareness, leadership and systems change skill sets. You will enter a safe and supportive learning environment and receive resources that enable you to create changes within your community and/or organizations to tackle problems, support inclusion and view situations from multiple perspectives.

If you see opportunities to make change in your community and need a safe space to learn and practice, we encourage you to apply to join this network.

As a member of this network, you will:

Identify individual objectives related to your desire to engage across difference


Develop a personal action plan, including concrete steps to achieve stated goals



Create and implement a change during the program, aided by a $5,000 Change Network grant*



Share your expertise with colleagues in your organization, broader networks and the region



Receive instruction and support from industry experts located both locally and nationally



*Change Network Grant

As a participant, you will have access to a $5,000 Change Network grant to support your systems change work. The grant will be available within the 12-month program cycle and geared towards implementing change in your organization and/or community. You will need a plan, budget and timeline. The program confidants will work with you throughout the year to build out these elements and support you through implementation. Grant guidelines will be provided with program orientation materials.

Who Should Apply

The 15-member cohort will be selected from multiple-sectors including nonprofits, corporations, academia, small business, government, and community volunteers. NAS is a leader in the field of professional development of mission-oriented professionals. For this program, NAS has teamed up with cross-sector professionals. While arts will be one tool in our exploration of complex issues, we encourage participation across fields including, but not limited to health care, education, government and policy.

We’re looking for participants that represent many dimensions of diversity such as, thinking style, gender, expertise, sexual orientation, and race. You may or may not be at the top of the organization but are ready to learn and apply the ideas and skills from the program to help your organization and/or community strengthen its ability to be diverse and inclusive. Ideal applicants are hungry to learn and see the opportunities to make change.

We are not looking for individuals who are professional diversity and inclusion practitioners. We seek to provide an opportunity for those who do not typically have access to training and funds to support this work.

Selection Criteria

Selection will be based on your response to application questions, including your identified community need, and with an eye toward selecting a diverse group throughout the state.

The application requests that you share the diversity and inclusion concerns you would most like to impact in your organization and/or community as well as what ideas you have for addressing these concerns.

As part of the program, you are required to have the support from at least one individual (Champion) in your current network. Ideally, this person should be able to offer wisdom, support and have expertise in the arena you are hoping to impact as well as the ability to help you influence and implement changes in your organization or community. This person can be a board member, supervisor, elder, or expert in your field. The Champion will not be expected to attend in-person meetings but will be asked to participate in occasional calls with you and your designated Confidant (program facilitator assigned to you). We ask that you please name this person in your application.


The Change Network program runs for a year and consists of two learning cycles. Each cycle begins with a three-day in-person convening. Each convening brings content experts and leading faculty from U.S. universities.

Between convenings you will have monthly remote meetings, online education opportunities, and project design coaching with designated confidants.

This program will be offered twice. Cohort 1 starts in the fall of 2017. Cohort 2 starts in the fall of 2018. Applicants not selected for Cohort 1 can automatically be considered for Cohort 2, if requested.


June 6 – July 12, 2017: Applications accepted

August 17, 2017: Change Network Cohort Announced

October 27-29, 2017: Leading Change from Within | In-person convening | Devils Lake, ND

November, 2017 – May, 2018: Remote monthly intersession meetings and online educational opportunities

June 24-26, 2018: Leading Systemic Change | In-person convening | Bismarck, ND

July 1, 2018 – September 2018: Change Network grant check-in and next steps


April 1 – May 31, 2018: Applications accepted

July 25, 2018: Change Network Cohort Announced

September 2018: First in-person convening

October 2018 – May 2019: Remote monthly intersession meetings and online educational opportunities

June 2019: Second in-person convening

July 1, 2019 – September 2019:Change Network grant check-in and next steps.


The program is free to participants. All expenses including meals, private hotel room and program materials are completely underwritten. Mileage driven to and from each in-person convening will be reimbursed.

If needed, participants must have approval of their workplace to take paid time off to participate in-person convenings and occasional day-time phone calls.

If participant needs additional support for childcare, accessibility, or transportation, options may be available.

Our Partnership

Our diverse team of leaders hale from Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Virginia. Our approach gives the cohort cross-sector insights, expertise and resources. We seek to infuse our cohort with empathy, understanding, and tools to create lasting and meaningful change within your organizations and ecosystems.