Image – Bridi Rice, Recipient of the 2021 Fulbright Scholarship in Non-Profit Leadership


The Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Non-Profit Leadership (supported by the Australian Scholarships Foundation) is the first scholarship for the Not-for-Profit (NFP) sector in Australia. It provides a unique opportunity to travel to the U.S. for 3 – 4 months in 2023 to study, conduct research into, and gain experiential learning in leadership and the operations of U.S. non-profit sector organisations. It is for emerging leaders in the Australian not-for-profit sector who meet the eligibility criteria below.

Every application is assessed based on merit and the quality of the application and its proposal for study, research and experiential learning is critical. The perceived benefits to the Australian NFP sector and a willingness, on their return, to share their U.S. findings and knowledge within the sector are also important considerations.

What is Fulbright?  

A Fulbright award is more than a Scholarship – it is, in the words of Senator Fulbright, a means of fostering “leadership, learning, and empathy between cultures… It is a modest program with an immodest aim – the achievement in international affairs of a regime more civilised, rational and humane than the empty system of power of the past.” Since its establishment, the Fulbright Program has grown to become the largest educational exchange program in the world, operating in over 160 countries. 

Fulbright Australia offers Fulbright Scholarships to Australian citizens across all career stages. Awardees take part in a bi-lateral academic and cultural exchange, pursuing research or study at a U.S. institution, experiencing life in the United States of America, and bringing back their knowledge and experience to share with their communities in Australia. Since its inception in Australia in 1949, Fulbright Australia have awarded over 5,000 scholarships, creating a vibrant, dynamic, and interconnected network of Alumni. 

Why apply for the Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Non-Profit Leadership?  

This scholarship provides an exceptional opportunity for personal / professional development and broader impact through research, experiential learning or management training at an approved U.S. institution or charitable organisation. It offers the unique opportunity to exchange ideas and information with industry leaders in Australia and the U.S., and join the prestigious alumni of Fulbright Scholars worldwide. 

Successful applicants will be named a 2023 Fulbright Scholar, and will undertake research and/or professional development which addresses contemporary issues of relevance, innovation, knowledge development, impact on policy and practice in the NFP sector across any discipline or service area. For example, in 2010, the Productivity Commission delivered a seminal report outlining the “Contribution of the Not-for-Profit Sector”. The report made a series of recommendations which can be viewed here.

Rachel Coghlan

Our latest Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Non-Profit Leadership recipient – Rachel Coghlan

Rachel Coghlan is an international public health researcher, advocate and board member of Palliative Care Australia. She is currently completing a PhD at the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership, Deakin University.

She shares, “I can’t wait to deliberate ideas on the future of palliative care in crisis with some of the best thinkers in humanitarian health research and practice.” Read the announcement.


In order to be competitive for the Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Non-Profit leadership, applicants will have:

  • an undergraduate qualification plus a minimum of ten years work experience.
  • a record of achievement gained from a minimum of three years employment at a mid to senior level position (Manager/Director) within the NFP sector,
  • an established leadership profile within the sector and a record of achievement (ideas and/or programs)
  • demonstrated active participation /leadership on sector issues and policy development
  • demonstrated impact through personal leadership, initiative and innovation in program development and delivery
  • recognition by sector peers as a leader through election to office, awards/prizes/other recognition, etc.
  • high potential for further achievement, evidenced by reputation for integrity, general positive values and motivation to make a difference.
  • to enhance the scholarship opportunity, awardees will be encouraged to apply to Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business week-long residential Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders. Note, the Stanford program is run annually in August with a May application deadline; awardees would not need to apply until well after the Fulbright selection process has concluded. Should the awardee be accepted to the Stanford program, and should the August timing work for them, their four-month grant would begin at Stanford University.

Please see the APPLICANT INFORMATION page for general information regarding Fulbright qualities, eligibility requirements, award conditions, interview processes and the Fulbright  FAQ PAGE for answers to commonly asked questions.

Which organisations qualify as Not-for-Profit in Australia?

The terms “non profit’ (common US terminology) and “not-for-profit” or “NFP” (Australian equivalent terminology) are used interchangeably here, except where Australian qualifying criteria are specified.

Applicants must be from an Australian not-for-profit organisation that, in the opinion of the Commission, generally fits one or more of the following criteria:

  • has a charitable, community-public benefit or poverty relief purpose, as indicated by whether the NFP has Australian Tax Office TCC and/or DGR status, or “registered charity” status
  • is a social enterprise or business (organisations using a business model to provide a social benefit) and which may not have TCC/DGR status
  • other organisations with a community or public benefit purpose (generally evidenced by a “formal” governance structure, voluntary participation by members and independence from government) that do not fit the above categories

Are there any organisations that are ineligible for this Scholarship?

The Commission will generally exclude applicants from:

  • small un-incorporated entities (informal organisations that provide sporting, recreational and social benefits)
  • organisations relying solely on member contributions e.g. mutuals and cooperatives (which provide benefits to members usually via a business activity) and licensed clubs (that provide services for a fee to members as well as grants to community organisations)
  • professional associations, self help clubs, non secular (religious purpose) organisations, government organisations carrying out the ordinary functions of government, social movements / campaigning organisations that work in the social change space, trade unions and political parties
  • schools, hospitals and universities, and government organisations except for their associated entities that have TCC/DGR status e.g. building funds, research foundations

Award benefits

  • Monthly stipend
  • Round-trip, economy class airfare directly to and from the scholar’s home city and the city of the host institution
  • Dependent allowance- if applicable
  • Health & Accident Insurance (ASPE) – valued at up to USD$100,000 (for the scholar only)
  • Access to established professional networks – alumni and other international collaborative groups
  • Orientation and enrichment opportunities – in Australia and the U.S.
  • Extensive support – from the Commission as well as U.S. organisations
  • Media and publicity support

More information

For more information about the Fulbright Professional Scholarship, including past recipients, click here to visit the website.

Have questions? Please refer to the Fulbright scholarship FAQs here. If you need assistance with the scholarship application process, please contact the Australian-American Fulbright Commission, or Australian Scholarships Foundation via [email protected].

Applications for the 2022 Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Non-Profit Leadership scholarship close 6 July 2022, 11:59pm AEST