Call for Applications: 2016 Veterans Take Point Initiative


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Applications have closed. 

TPU-OverviewThe Atlantic Council is seeking applications for the Take Point Initiative, a fellowship program and funding competition open to veterans of the United States Armed Forces who are 35 years old and younger and who currently work in, or would like to transition to, careers in foreign policy and international affairs.

Launched in 2014 with support from the Bob Woodruff Foundation and chaired by former Secretary of Defense Charles Hagel, Take Point prepares veterans to become nonprofit and thought leaders in the policy field with a focus on international affairs and national security. Take Point seeks to elevate the voice of post-9/11 veterans in the foreign policy discourse and re-shape the narrative around veterans in society. The program utilizes a hybrid model that combines a 10-day professional fellowship with a funding competition to offer hands-on skills training, access to a global network of experts, and seed grants to launch or grow veteran-run policy-focused projects. In 2015, Take Point awarded $100,000 to support veteran-run projects ranging from nonprofit organizations to novels. Program alumni and grant awardees include the CEO’s, founders, and representatives of high-impact VSO’s such as Team Rubicon, HillVets, Veterans Campaign, Defense Entrepreneurs Forum, Service2School, and No One Left Behind, among others. To view a list of previous fellows, visit

The nonprofit and policy fields offer exciting career opportunities where veterans are well positioned to lead and thrive by leveraging their unique international experience, leadership, and skills. In 2016, the Atlantic Council will organize an intensive ten-day fellowship program in Washington, DC planned for December 4 – 12, 2016, and award $40,000 in to support fellow-led projects. 

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TPU-Eligible-TracksThe 2016 Take Point Fellowship offers two distinct fellowship tracks for applicants – Nonprofit Leaders and Thought Leaders. As part of this application, candidates must submit a proposal for a nonprofit or thought leadership project in one of these two categories. All fellows will have the opportunity to meet with leading foreign policy and international security experts, be matched with professional mentors, build an exceptional network of peers and senior practitioners, and gain hands-on training in key professional skills. In addition, fellows will participate in a pitch competition at the end of the program, where they will have the opportunity to compete for one of two $20,000 awards to implement their projects.

Nonprofit Leadership: This track is designed for applicants seeking to launch a new nonprofit (i.e. nonprofit startups), or who already work at an established 501 (c)3 nonprofit and are either seeking to launch or growth a veteran-focused initiative within their organization or grow their existing organization, provided its mission aligns with Take Point’s objectives. Nonprofit fellows will benefit from advanced nonprofit skills training, including nonprofit management, law, finance, and budgeting; training in a variety of critical fundraising techniques; professional communications training; networking with possible partners, enablers, and funders; and the opportunity to secure a $20,000 grant.

Thought Leadership: This track is designed for intellectual entrepreneurs with projects that aim to tell a story, “speak truth to power”, and don’t necessarily take the form of a nonprofit organization, such as a research project, book, or documentary film. Projects in this category can be at any stage of development, ranging from an idea with no funding to an established project already fully underway. Projects should include a plan to achieve a lasting and sustainable impact.  Thought leadership fellows will participate in many of the same trainings and networking events as nonprofit fellows while having the added benefit of public speaking opportunities through a partnership with the Telling Project to enhance their storytelling skills. Thought leadership fellows will also have the opportunity to secure a $20,000 grant to support their work.

We encourage candidates to submit creative and entrepreneurial project ideas in one of the two categories listed above. Projects could focus on a particular substantive issue such as “energy and security”; a certain type of programming such as mentorship for injured veterans interested in policy careers; or a specific type of thought leadership product including, but not limited to, a report, novel, or documentary film. Proposals should relate to international affairs and/or national security issues and should seek to engage other young veterans – including injured veterans – in the policy process.

The program is aimed at helping veterans transition to careers as leaders in the foreign policy arena, both as nonprofit leaders and thought leaders, and the Council will consider candidates from any line of work. This may include, but is not limited to, veterans working in politics and government, the private sector, and academia (including students and recent graduates), as well as veterans currently working in the nonprofit field who would like to further develop leadership expertise and launch a new veteran-focused project under the umbrella of their existing nonprofit. 


Through a merit-based review process, the Atlantic Council will select approximately ten US veterans 35 years old and under to participate in the fellowship (approximately five in each fellowship track). The program will include a rigorous competition and training program, centered on building and testing the fellows’ ability to launch and implement a nonprofit startup or policy focused thought leadership project. Fellows will spend approximately ten days in Washington, DC this winter, where they will have specialized training and mentorship opportunities with Atlantic Council staff and board directors, direct access to leading policy experts, and hands-on experience working with nonprofit practitioners. Training will focus on building core skills, including, but not limited to, communications and storytelling, nonprofit management, thought leadership, and strategic planning. A full list of function trainings from the 2015 fellowship class can be found here, and a full list of substantive master classes with senior leaders can be found here. Throughout the program, fellows will work with mentors and experts to hone their ideas. The fellowship will end with a Nonprofit and Thought Leadership pitch competition through which two $20,000 grants will be awarded (one in each track).


There is no program fee, and the Atlantic Council will provide accommodations, group meals, and a partial travel subsidy for domestic flights. Fellows will spend approximately ten days in Washington, DC for training and networking in December 2016. There is no salary or stipend for the fellowship. Fellows will be expected to devote time before the trip to developing their concept and must be able to launch and execute their project if they win funding.


The Atlantic Council is currently seeking a diverse group of fellows with a range of personal and professional backgrounds and service histories, including both former officers and enlisted personnel. Strong preference will be given to candidates with a feasible and original idea; passion for service; a commitment to assist other veterans, including injured veterans; an entrepreneurial spirit and strong work ethic; and proven leadership skills.

Applicant Requirements:

  • 35 years old or under
  • US citizenship
  • Veteran of any branch of the United States Armed Forces
  • An interest in nonprofit or thought leadership and foreign policy

Application and Decision Timeline:
The application, selection and event timeline for the 2016 Take Point Fellowship is as follows:

  • October 1st – Applications Deadline
  • October 30th – Decision Notifications
  • December 4th – 12th – Take Point Fellowship and Competition

 Questions should be directed to

About the Organizers


Working Together to Secure the Future. Renewing the Atlantic Community for Global Challenges
The Atlantic Council promotes constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the Atlantic Community’s central role in meeting global challenges. The Council provides an essential forum for navigating the dramatic economic and political changes defining the twenty-first century by informing and galvanizing its uniquely influential network of global leaders. Through the papers we write, the ideas we generate, and the communities we build, the Council shapes policy choices and strategies to create a more secure and prosperous world.

The Take Point Initiative is inspired in part by the stories of Council leaders – including former Atlantic Council Chairmen Secretary Chuck Hagel, General James Jones, and General Brent Scowcroft – and numerous veterans on our board of directors whose military service helped shape their policy views and prepare them to become national leaders. The Council has a long history of developing innovative and impactful programs to engage rising leaders around the world. Visit for more information.


The Atlantic Council is proud to have support for the Take Point Initiative from the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF). BWF works to ensure injured veterans and their families are thriving long after they return home. The team at BWF navigates the maze of over 40,000 nonprofit organizations to find and fund innovative programs in communities where veterans, their families and caregivers live and work.

As a grant recipient, the Council joins the Bob Woodruff Foundation grantee network, a collaboration of top-tier programs and advocates working to help our heroes on the homefront. You can learn more about the Bob Woodruff Foundation at We encourage you to follow @Stand4Heroes on Twitter or like BWF’s page on Facebook at

Thank You to our Sponsors:

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