Thousand Currents Academy

The next Thousand Currents Academy
will be March 31- April 5, 2019

A weeklong training for social change
makers mobilizing resources for grassroots solutions.

Our next Academy is March 31- April 5, 2019 at Westerbeke Ranch in Sonoma, California.

Stay tuned for applications opening in fall 2018!

Questions? Email Jessie Spector at jessie (at)

About the Academy

What are the goals of the Thousand Currents Academy?

  • To connect social change leaders to grassroots wisdom by offering tools, models, and good practices from faculty who are global thought leaders and frontline community organizers—movement builders, ecologists, artists, and funders—people like Angelina Aspuac, Indigenous rights and women’s movement leader from Guatemala; 
  • To train the next generation of social change leaders in cultural and ecological competence, self-assessment, and tools in managing dynamic differences so that they can more effectively mobilize resources in favor of social justice; 
  • To ground learning in grassroots-led practices, pedagogies of community organizing, and inclusive appraisal toward principled action;
  • To support change makers in embodying creative, connected, and culturally competent ways to tackle the root causes of poverty and injustice.

The work [of social change] requires that people have some kind of personal transformation in their conception of the ‘Third World’ in order to be effective agents of change.

– Thousand Currents Academy Faculty, Dr Mutombo Mpanya

What to expect at the Academy

What will I learn at Thousand Currents Academy?

  • A deeper understanding of how to improve your partnerships and many ideas to maximize your impact in your day-to-day work;
  • An enhanced partnership skill set, grounded in approaches that are authentic, mutual, and collaborative; and
  • Connections—you will be part of a peer network of over 90 skilled colleagues—Impact Influencers—offering collaboration and continued support.


Blog reflections 

Learning and Evaluation Reports


Application Criteria and Fees

Who should apply to the Thousand Currents Academy?

The Thousand Currents Academy is ideal for young and mid-career professionals in the social sector interested in philanthropy, international development and those seeking to change traditional grantmaking practices:

  • Family philanthropists (especially next generation)
  • Staff of foundations and grant-making organizations
  • Individual donors
  • Impact investors
  • Socially-conscious business owners
  • Social entrepreneurs
  • Philanthropic advisors

… or simply put, those who seek to make a change in the world by employing financial resources.


Specific selection criteria* include:

  • 2 years’ minimum work experience
  • Completed Application Form, Resume or CV
  • References if requested (only names and contacts, no letters needed)

*Please note that the Thousand Currents Academy is not intended for representatives of grant-seeking organizations.


Our values behind the cost of the Academy

We strive to make the Thousand Currents Academy as financially accessible as possible. We invite everyone to join us in living into our values of interdependence and collaboration in sustaining the Academy. To that end, we offer a sliding scale for Academy fees.

Additionally, we offer a 10% discount to each additional participant from a single organization or family. We also offer payment plans, on which the Academy application includes more information.


Fee ranges:

$2,000 – $3,000: Full-cost fee. This range represents the approximate cost of each participant at the Academy. It includes items such as faculty lodging, in addition to one’s individual food and lodging. If possible, we ask you to pay in at least the Full-cost fee range, especially if your organizational assets are over $1 million. This ensures that subsidized fees can remain accessible to those who need them.

$1,500 – $2,000: Subsidized fee. Many interested in the Academy play influential roles in philanthropy but are not in a well-endowed financial position themselves. This fee range is for participants who are only able to afford the cost of their own food, lodging, and basic materials. Consider this range if your organizational assets are below $750,000 or if you are paying out of your own income.

$3,000 – $5,000: Solidarity fee. This fee range is for participants who are able to cover their own full cost of the Academy, and can help subsidize the cost for others to attend. If you can, please take on this role of financial leadership to make the Academy as accessible as possible. We encourage you to pay in this range especially if your organizational assets are $5 million or more, or if you are independently wealthy.  

Note: Fees do NOT include airfare or ground transportation.


Register for Course Credit for the Thousand Currents Academy

The Thousand Currents Academy is now an accredited course with the University of Vermont! The 3-credit graduate-level course, titled Power, Privilege, and Partnership: Practicing Philanthropy and Supporting Grassroots Social Change, is part of the university’s Leadership for Sustainability Master’s Degree Concentration.

Contact Emil Tsao at emil (dot) tsao (at) uvm (dot) edu if you are interested in registering for the accredited course.

Thousand Currents is grateful to The Leo Model Foundation, The West Foundation, The Libra FoundationThe Whitman InstituteThe NoVo FoundationAndrus Family FundSurdna Foundation, and Arntz Family Foundation for their investments in the Academy.