The Rockefeller Foundation’s Big Bets/

Introducing the Big Bets
Climate Fellowship

Empowering visionary changemakers
Advancing breakthrough climate solutions

The Big Bets Climate Fellowship will empower a diverse and interdisciplinary cohort of emerging leaders working to reverse the climate crisis and accelerate opportunity for the most vulnerable.

As part of our overall commitment to invest $1B to reverse the climate crisis, The Rockefeller Foundation is establishing this Fellowship to equip leaders with the mindset and skills needed to advance climate solutions with breakthrough potential. We are betting on those who will make the biggest impact on communities that have traditionally been underserved, or who face heightened risk from climate change.

Through a combination of inspirational programming, cohort and network building, and personal development, the Big Bets Climate Fellowship is designed to set leaders and their climate solutions on a trajectory for bold impact now and into the future.

For the Fellowship’s inaugural year (2024), the program will focus on leaders with solutions intended to have impact in Latin America, including the Amazon Basin.

Join the Big Bets Community to be notified when the applications are open.


Program Overview

The Big Bets Climate Fellowship is anchored on a week-long convening at The Rockefeller Foundation’s renowned Bellagio Center in Lake Como, Italy. Additional programming over the six months will include virtual and in-person gatherings, cohort and network building, and focused strategic guidance from experts and peers to advance climate solutions.

Specific program components include:

  1. Integrative Curriculum – equipping Fellows with the leadership mindset and skill sets needed to advance their climate solution
  2. Impact Acceleration – focused time with peers, mentors, and experts to sharpen, ma gnify, and accelerate climate solutions through virtual and in-person convenings*
  3. Cohort Community – a group of progressive innovators, thinkers, and builders for partnership, interdisciplinary collaboration, and cross-cultural exchange
  4. Network Access – exclusive membership in The Rockefeller Foundation network and access to post-Fellowship programming, convenings, consultation, and facilitated connections with other charitable partners
  5. Global Platform – visible amplification for Fellows to share their voice and climate solution with a global audience

* Fellows are expected to participate in all virtual and in-person gatherings during the six-month program.

Who We're Looking For

The Big Bets Climate Fellowship is designed for individuals already working on a bold climate solution who are ready to take the next big step. The ideal candidate has a deep understanding of the problem they are working to solve and is developing a solution that can be improved and accelerated through the Fellowship.

We seek candidates that meet the following profile:

  • Actively working on a climate solution in Latin America, including Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean;
  • 5-15 years of work experience;
  • Track record of impact in the region
  • Well-positioned to influence change, with strong connections in their community or network (local, regional, or national);
  • Unique perspective, fresh insight, and demonstrated ability to think outside the box;
  • Curious, collegial, and collaborative;
  • Interest in a cohort experience designed to build community and accelerate their climate solution.

More information on the program’s eligibility and evaluation criteria can be found in the Fellowship Terms & Conditions.

Application Process

For its first year, the Big Bets Climate Fellowship is focused on climate solutions in Latin America, including Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.

There are two ways to apply for the Big Bets Climate Fellowship:


To ensure a diverse and exceptional pool of applicants, The Rockefeller Foundation has identified and set up a network of senior experts working in or with the Latin America region to act as nominators for this Program. These nominators were responsible to put forward potential applicant names by January 16. 2024. Upon nomination, all potential applicants will be contacted with next steps to determine eligibility.

Big Bets Community Nominations

All members of the Big Bets Community who sign up by January 29, 2024 will be contacted with next steps to determine eligibility. Eligible applicants will be invited to obtain a nominator reference from a climate expert, who is a recognized leader in their field with at least 15 years of work experience.

Key dates include:

  • Invitation to Submit Pre-Application Form (to determine eligibility) shared with applicants: starting January 19, 2024
  • Pre-Application Form and Nomination Form: due February 1, 2024
  • Invitation to Submit Application-Part 1: February 2, 2024
  • Information Session for Applicants: February 6, 2024
  • Application-Part 1 Due: February 19, 2024
  • Invitation to Submit Application-Part 2: March 22, 2024
  • Application-Part 2 Due: April 10, 2024
  • Interviews: April 18 to 26, 2024
  • Fellows Selected: By May 29, 2024
  • Program Begins: June 2024
  • Regional Gathering: June 2024.
  • Convening at the Bellagio Center in Italy: July 2024
  • NY Climate Week: September 2024
  • Program Ends: October 2024

Detailed information about Fellowship programming and participation will be shared with interested applicants and nominees as the process advances. The information on this website is preliminary and subject to change. Watch this space or sign up for the Big Bets Community for updates.

Final terms and conditions for Fellowship eligibility, application process, selection, and participation in the program can be downloaded below.

Download the Terms & Conditions

Opportunity Areas

The Big Bets Climate Fellowship is designed to support leaders advancing breakthrough solutions to reverse the climate crisis. For its first year, we are focused on climate solutions in Latin America, including Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. 

The region is home to the Amazon, one of the most biodiverse places on Earth.  Representing the world’s largest carbon opportunity, it plays a key role in both climate regulation and the global water cycle and is an important source of prime materials for an electrified future. The Amazon’s influence extends far beyond the region and has the potential for outsized impact on a global scale.

The Fellowship program welcomes applications centered in climate solutions coming from a range of potential angles in the region, with an emphasis on scalable impact to provide services to or improve the lives of underserved and vulnerable communities.

Climate solutions eligible for this Fellowship address one or more negative externalities associated with the climate crisis. Including but not limited to projects that have the potential to sequester or prevent the release of significant amounts of carbon, methane, or other greenhouse gasses; to protect or increase biodiversity; to create the enabling conditions for the impact described in any of the priority areas below; and/or others projects focused on reversing the climate crisis.

We are particularly interested in applications that align with The Rockefeller Foundation’s long-standing priorities: Power, Food, Health, and Finance. See below for descriptions.

You can also click here to learn more about The Rockefeller Foundation’s climate strategy.



  • Power

  • Food

  • Health

  • Finance