Do you have an idea to change the world? Answer the Call For Kindness and win up to $3,000 to fund your project!

Applications open on January 18, 2023 and close on April 2, 2023.


Riley's Way Call For Kindness

The Call For Kindness offers young changemakers the chance to participate in a dynamic Leadership Development Fellowship and win up to $3,000 in funding for a project of their own that inspires kindness and strengthens their local, national, or global communities.

Over the past three years, we have created an incredible community of young changemakers, and we are excited to see what 2023 brings.

Answer the Call For Kindness by submitting a new or existing youth-led project rooted in Riley’s Way values–kindness, empathy, youth leadership, and inclusive community–that tackles anything from pressing equity and social justice issues to building meaningful connections in your school or community.

In addition to our general category, we will select at least 10 projects specifically focused on our 2023 special topic: environmental justice to address the growing need for solutions in this critical space.

Riley’s Way will also continue to support one award in a special dance and performing arts category, the Yuriko Kikuchi Arigato Award (“Arigato” means “thank you” in Japanese), in honor of Yuriko, the pioneering dancer, choreographer, and keeper of Martha Graham’s flame. Yuriko was the grandmother of Riley’s Way’s Director of Operations, Laura Kikuchi Dunn.

Youth leaders between the ages of 13-22 can apply and we will award at least 36 youth-led projects up to $3,000 each. The winners will join an inspiring community of Kindness Fellows from across the country to work together in a fellowship program that will expand their leadership and life skills, build strong networks and friendships, and support the development of their project.

Applications open on January 18, 2023 and close on April 2, 2023 at 11:59pm EST.

For full details on applying, click here.

For inspiration, check out our past winners:




The Riley’s Way Call For Kindness offers a robust Leadership Development Fellowship for participants of the winning projects. The three pillars of the Fellowship focus on skill building, connection making, and project support.

1. Skill Building – Throughout the year-long Fellowship, participants gain skills that build their efficacy as leaders and help them further their project. Riley’s Way provides a series of workshops and professional development opportunities that are designed to enhance Fellow’s leadership and project management skills. Individual skill-building training may vary each year as we tailor the experience and sessions based on the interests and needs of each cohort. Examples of past workshops include diversity, equity, and inclusion; budgeting & fundraising; and how to get press. Professional development has included opportunities for Fellows to be interviewed by reporters and see themselves featured in podcasts, articles or news clips; facilitate a skill or topic based session for other changemakers; or talk on a panel about their project or kind leadership at a national conference.

Riley’s Way also brings all the Fellows together for an in-person weekend Retreat, with transportation and lodging provided by Riley’s Way.

2. Inclusive Community – Inclusive community is at the heart of Riley’s Way. Over the year-long Fellowship, participants will not only learn how to share their story and strengthen their networking skills, but they will become part of a national network of like-minded youth, adults and experts who are there to inspire and support them. This network will continue long past the end of the Fellowship, and will be a support and resource as Fellows move forward in their careers. Connecting with and learning from other young change-makers and building lasting bonds is often the part of the Fellowship that participants find the most rewarding.

3. Project Support – Through the Call For Kindness, Riley’s Way offers direct financial support for projects (up to $3,000) and 1:1 project support, mentoring, brainstorming, and problem solving. Staff are available for bi-weekly one-on-one conversations and support. We may connect Fellows to other issue-based experts as needed. Fellows also get support, ideas, and encouragement from current and prior Fellows in group brainstorms and problem solving sessions. This year, in addition to staff support, Riley’s Way will pair each project with a mentor for the year. Mentors include inspiring leaders in non-profit or industry, past C4K Fellows, Riley’s Way staff or Board members, and subject matter experts.


The Project

We’re asking you to embody Riley’s Way values to design a youth-led project that inspires kindness, strengthens your community, and brings people together. You can work individually or as a group and submit a new or existing youth-led project rooted in Riley’s Way values–kindness, empathy, youth leadership, and inclusive community–that tackles anything from pressing equity and social justice issues to building meaningful connections in your school or community.

Your project can fall under one of the following categories:

General Application: This category is for projects focused on any issue area besides the special topic.

Special Topic: This category is for projects focused on the 2023 special topic: Environmental Justice. Applicants can define this how they wish.

Yuriko Kikuchi Arigato Award: This category is for projects that have a focus in the dance/performing arts field. We will be awarding one award in this category.

For inspiration, click below to view our past Fellows and their projects.

The Prize

Riley’s Way will award up to $3,000 to as many as 36 youth-led projects, at least 10 of which will be specifically dedicated to projects related to environmental justice.

In addition to the funding, Call For Kindness Fellows will also participate in a dynamic Leadership Development Fellowship that will help you grow your project, your network, and your leadership skills. Each Fellowship is designed around the needs of the group of Fellows, with some of the classes taught by peers and others by experts in the field. A full description is provided above.

The Partners

For legal and tax purposes, we cannot provide the grant money directly to individuals. We hope that you are able to partner with a registered 501(c)(3) organization, which could be your school or a nonprofit organization, which will be your fiscal sponsor. The grant money will be awarded directly to your partner organization who will administer the funds to you.

If you do not currently have a partner organization, this will not exclude you from eligibility. Riley’s Way will work with you to secure a partner through the Fellowship process.

If your project is already a registered 501(c)(3), you are exempt from requiring a project partner. We will ask for verification on this page.


As a recipient of the Call For Kindness grant, there are a few expectations. The Call For Kindness program is more than the grant. By becoming a Call For Kindness Fellow, you will be a part of a Leadership Development Fellowship. During the year, you will learn from experts, peers, and mentors about a variety of topics, and become a part of a cohort of like-minded peers. You will also have access to other opportunities, including press interviews, invitations to speak at workshops or on panels, and networking events.

The expectations of participating in the Call For Kindness Leadership Development Fellowship include:

Attending a monthly 60-minute virtual meeting, scheduled to occur on the second Thursday of each month, starting on May 11, 2023 (subject to change)

Attend the in-person Call For Kindness Retreat over a weekend in February, 2024. Transportation and lodging are provided by Riley’s Way for this leadership Retreat (date & location TBD). The 2022 cohort group’s Retreat is being held in Washington, D.C.

Attend quarterly meetings with Riley’s Way staff and/or your assigned mentor.

Submit three grant reports (brief updates) to Riley’s Way throughout the Fellowship.

Have fun!

This Fellowship experience is designed to help you grow as leaders, but to also connect you to other amazing changemakers from across the country to build lifelong friendships and career networks. We want to make this experience as useful to you as possible, which is why each year we design the workshops and professional development opportunities based on what you want to learn. We also build in lots of room for fun and networking along the way with your cohort group.

The Process/Timeline

Step 1: Click on this link to start your application. You can submit a written or video application, and you can submit individually or with a group of peers. Completed applications are due at 11:59pm EST on April 2, 2023.

Once you create an account and start your application, you are able to review and edit until the submission deadline.

Here are some files to help you get started:

PDF of the Application (for review purposes only, you must submit your application using this link)

Sample Budget

Step 2: Our judges, made up of past Call For Kindness Fellows, Riley’s Way program participants and alumni, and kind adult partners, will review the applications. Projects will be judges on how they embody Riley’s Way values, their feasibility, need, and impact. Click here for the judging rubric.

Step 3: During the week of April 24-28, 2023, we will be conducting brief interviews with the finalists to get to know them and talk more about the Call For Kindness program to ensure all the requirements are met.

Step 4: We will announce the winners on May 6, 2023, in honor of Riley Sandler’s birthday.



Or email

For inspiration, check out our past winners:

Do you work for an organization that works with teens or that champions kindness? Help us spread the word about the Call For Kindness!

Thank you to our 2022 sponsors:

The Sandler Family