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Applications for the 2019 cohort are now closed; please check back in summer 2019 to apply for the 2020 iteration!

In an increasingly polarized society, this unique program, offered in Richmond, VA, develops the capacity of community leaders to become authentic trustbuilders capable of overcoming divisions of race, culture, economics and politics. It 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 the program, experiential learning methods are used that will challenge and stretch fellows intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. It is an intensive five month process, and applicants are encouraged to consider whether or not they have the internal capacity at this time in their life to undergo a process that can be both transformational and intensive.

Reception of the DTF certificate of completion is contingent upon full participation in all five modules (barring extenuating circumstances). If you know in advance that you may not be available to attend all five weekend modules in January-May 2019, please consider waiting to apply for the 2020 cycle.

There are scholarships, fundraising support, and payment plan options available; eligibility for need-bases financial aid is determined through a separate scholarship application.

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 the country

  • 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

What will you gain?

  • 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

  • Competency in using dialogue as a tool for peacebuilding, trustbuilding and risk taking

  • Skills to facilitate difficult conversations on divisive community issues

  • 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 25-27, 2019 Catalysts of Change: Becoming an Authentic Leader

  • February 22-24, 2019 Healing History: Creating a New Narrative for Our Communities

  • March 22-24, 2019 Dialogue Delivery: Practicing Skills for Honest Conversation

  • April 26-28, 2019 Creating Dialogues for Change: Addressing Underlying Causes of Division

  • May 17-19, 2019 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 14-16, 2019)

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


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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!