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Applications for the 2020 cohort are now open online from June 15 to October 1, 2019!

Apply Below:

In an increasingly polarized society, this unique program, offered in Richmond, Virginia, develops the capacity of community leaders to become authentic trustbuilders capable of overcoming divisions of race, culture, economics and politics. Convening fellows from across North America, the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship (CTF) seeks to build multisector networks of facilitators and change agents committed to healing historical wounds, creating new shared narratives and building healthy and racially equitable communities.

 Throughout CTF, experiential learning processes are intentionally designed to increase fellows’ capacity to address their own discomfort around social differences such as race, gender, age, religion, socioeconomic background, etc. Fellows and faculty work to cultivate brave space that allows for personal transformation that can lead to social change, through the difficult work of dialogue. This experience will challenge and stretch fellows intellectually, emotionally and spiritually, and fellows will leave equipped and empowered to facilitate difficult conversations and integrate trustbuilding processes into their personal and professional lives.

 It is an intensive five month process, and applicants are encouraged to consider whether or not they have the internal/emotional capacity at this time in their life to undergo a process that can be both transformational and intensive. Receiving the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship (CTF) certificate of completion is contingent upon full residential participation in all five weekend modules (barring extenuating circumstances). If you know in advance that you may not be available to attend all five weekend modules in January-May 2020, please consider waiting to apply for the 2021 cycle.

The CTF curriculum is largely grounded in peacebuilding and conflict resolution principles and practice, and uses Richmond, Virginia’s racial history as the driving case study to equip fellows from across North America with the tools of dialogue and facilitation to explore how Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation might be created, implemented, and sustained effectively within their own home contexts.

Full tuition, including room and board, is $2,900 per fellow for all five modules. Please see application guidelines for more information on tuition waivers, sponsorships, and fundraising support.

For more information, please see:

CTF Application Guidelines

CTF Objectives & Methodologies

CTF Faculty Team

CTF Info Sessions (August & September 2019)

The quality of the instruction at CTF is challenging and enriching, with expert facilitation and instruction. My peers elevate the experience with their diversity and authenticity. I expected to find a community of new colleagues, but I am certain that I have found life-long friends. This group is meditating pure strength. No one here is frozen in fear; we are all moving forward in light.
— Dr. Kelly Merrill

How does the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship (CTF) work?

  • 25-30 fellows come together, representing a wide diversity of age, background and experience from across North America

  • Five monthly residential weekend modules at Richmond Hill using the methodology of Initiatives of Change USA’s program, Hope in the Cities, and an integrated approach of Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation

  • Engagement with a world class faculty of trainers, scholars and practitioners with expertise in facilitation, dialogue, healing memory, conflict resolution, peacebuilding, social change, and adaptive leadership.

  • Full tuition, including room and board, is $2,900 per fellow for all five modules. Please see application guidelines for more information on tuition waivers, sponsorships, and fundraising support.

What will you gain?

  • An increased capacity to identify and address your own discomfort engaging across different social identities and ideologies

  • Skills to facilitate difficult conversations on divisive community issues

  • Competency in using facilitation and dialogue as tools for peacebuilding and trustbuilding processes

  • Frameworks to understand group processes and human behavior in groups

  • Practical tools that connect personal change with change in society

  • A deeper understanding of the power of history and our capacity to shift power dynamics

  • Confidence to work creatively and collaboratively for racial healing, justice and equity.

Dates & Topics:

Each weekend module starts on Friday at 5pm and concludes on Sunday at 3pm. It is mandatory that all fellows participate fully in all five modules, barring extenuating circumstances that are pre-approved by CTF faculty.

  • January 24-26, 2020 Catalysts of Change: Becoming an Authentic Leader

  • February 21-23, 2020 Healing History: Creating a New Narrative for Our Communities

  • March 20-22, 2020 Dialogue Delivery: Practicing Skills for Honest Conversation

  • April 24-26, 2020 Creating Dialogues for Change: Addressing Underlying Causes of Division

  • May 15-17, 2020 Strategies for Engaging All Sectors: Building Effective Teams for Healing and Equity

(If there is need for make-up module due to bad weather the dates will be June 12-14, 2020)

CTF Venue: Richmond Hill

Founded in 1987, Richmond Hill is an ecumenical Christian fellowship and residential community which serves as stewards of an urban retreat center within the setting of a historic monastery. Its mission is to seek God’s healing of Metropolitan Richmond through prayer, hospitality, racial reconciliation and spiritual development.

Richmond Hill and Initiatives of Change USA have been partners in the work of racial healing for nearly three decades. The formative conversations with diverse groups that led to the emergence of the Hope in the Cities as a program of Initiatives of Change USA took place at Richmond Hill in the early 1990s when Richmond Hill itself was just getting started. Richmond Hill is also a community partner closely invested in Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation.

Many of the planning meetings for the landmark 1993 Healing the Heart of America conference were held at Richmond Hill. It was Ben Campbell, the Richmond Hill founder, who first imagined a walk through Richmond’s history, which was the centerpiece of the conference and led to the establishment of the historic Slave Trial. "Walking through history" has become a core component of the work of Hope in the Cities.

Richmond Hill GardenWhile Richmond Hill is specific in its Christian mission and the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship involves people of many different beliefs, our core values are in alignment and we share a common vision of a just and reconciled community. We have found that Richmond Hill provides a welcoming space and an environment that fosters reflection and contemplation and where Hope in the Cities’ model of trustbuilding can be shared with people of all backgrounds.

Learn more about Richmond Hill at


View our 2019 CTF gallery:

Listen to what #CTFAlumni have to say about their experiences in the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship. Delve deep into the archive as alumni share their stories, reflections, resources and news updates!