Wanted: Your big idea to advance policies to change the world

How can you help advance policies that are good for our economy and our environment? That’s up to you!

The 1 Hotels Fellowship at E2 is designed to support and develop young entrepreneurs and emerging business leaders who seek to make the world a better place through projects that are good for the economy and good for the environment.

NRDC President Rhea Suh (left), E2 executive director Bob Keefe (center-left), and 1 Hotels Founder Barry Sternlicht (center) with the 2017-2018 class of 1 Hotels Fellows in New York City (Credit David White Imagery)

1 Hotels Fellows will work in partnership with NRDC’s Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) program to identify pressing environmental issues and needs across the country, and then organize and execute projects that help communicate and amplify the business and economic case for smart policies to address these issues. This year, we are looking for projects in the following areas:


Some examples of projects from current 1 Hotels Fellows are:

  • Creating an online cleantech marketplace for small commercial buildings, connecting eligible energy efficiency and distributed solar projects with qualified energy service contractors and crowd-sourced investment capital;
  • Addressing the threat of federal budget cuts to programs for cleantech and clean energy innovation by creating a multimedia platform to share the stories of successful environmental entrepreneurs;
  • Documenting how local clean energy projects in conservative and politically diverse areas can better cultivate public support for climate action in ways more traditional approaches cannot.
BROOKLYN, NY – APRIL 22: Barry Sternlicht,1 Hotels Founder, and Rhea Suh, NRDC President, announce the launch of the 1 Hotels Fellowship at E2 at a panel discussion on sustainability and activism at an Earth Day Celebration. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for 1 Hotels)

New projects are encouraged to be creative. Here are some examples:


  • Organizing business roundtables or other business-focused community events in key states to communicate the economic benefits of regenerative agriculture policies to the public.
  • Creating peer-to-peer communications programs for emerging leaders to share ideas about how to make change in their cities or regions.


  • Measuring the jobs creation and economic impacts that result from investments in local energy and water infrastructure or climate resiliency programs.
  • Creating databases of investments in clean energy, clean water, and related infrastructure and companies in different cities and/or states.


  • Creating “story banks” and video projects that profile and tell the stories of businesses at the intersection of the environment and the economy and the policies that impact their success.
  • Designing targeted social media campaigns to communicate the economic benefits of sustainable industries jobs.
  • Showing how offshore oil and gas leasing is a bad deal for the local economy, not just for the environment. Projects ideas could include organizing coastal recreational, tourism and/or fishing interests to highlight what is at risk from offshore drilling, or a communications campaign focused on how offshore fossil development can pose huge risks to coastal economies.

The 1 Hotels Fellowship at E2 is made possible through a generous grant from 1 Hotels founder Barry Sternlicht.

Our Fellows

Fellowships are restricted to early or mid-career professionals.  Fellows will be chosen by a committee of seasoned entrepreneurs and environmental leaders, including members of E2’s national network of business leaders and NRDC’s environmental experts. Some preference may be given to location-specific projects where E2 operates, and to projects that help E2 expand our reach in new regions.

Fellowships will run from January – December of 2020.  In addition to a $20,000 award, fellows will receive support from E2 and NRDC staff to complete their selected projects. Fellows also will become part of E2 and its Emerging Leaders Program, which will include:

  • Mentoring from seasoned executives and entrepreneurs across the country in the fields of sustainability, clean energy and other areas;
  • Media exposure and press opportunities;
  • Inclusion in special E2 Emerging Leaders programs at E2’s nine chapters nationwide;
  • Invitations to monthly webinars with business leaders, environmental experts and lawmakers;
  • Connections with E2’s network of business leaders, investors and others in sustainability, clean energy and other fields;


  • Early to mid-career professionals
  • U.S. residents only
  • Able to commit dedicated time on a regular basis to complete the selected project

How to Apply