The Frank

Karel Scholarship


What is The Frank Karel Scholarship?

Thanks to generous support from The Rockefeller Foundation, The Frank Karel Scholarship enables The Communications Network to offer complimentary registrations to nonprofit staffers and communications-focused academics who would not otherwise be able to attend ComNet19.

Ten scholarships will be offered to local, Austin-based nonprofits.  An additional 15 scholarships will be offered globally.

Who is eligible to apply for a scholarship?

Full-time, nonprofit staff and communications-focused academics with a demonstrated need for financial assistance who wish to attend ComNet19.

Please consider applying for a scholarship if:

  • You are a staffer at a 501c3 NGO

  • You are an academic or graduate student pursuing research in communications in the social sector

  • You have a demonstrated financial need

  • You can identify how attendance will benefit you/your organization

  • Preference will be given to those whose roles are directly linked to communications

This scholarship is NOT for you if:

  • You work at a foundation, consultancy, or B corp

  • You work at an organization represented on The Communications Network Board

  • You received a scholarship to attend ComNet18

If you were awarded a Karel Scholarship to attend ComNet18 you are eligible for a discount to ComNet19.  Please contact Yabby at for more information.

What does the scholarship cover?

Thanks to the generous support of The Rockefeller Foundation, The Frank Karel Scholarship covers the cost of registration and one pre-conference workshop at ComNet19.  Additionally, the scholarship allows you to receive a discount on the conference for the following year.  A scholarship does NOT include travel, lodging, or other incidental expenses.

Does the scholarship pay for hotel and travel costs?

Unfortunately no. We are unable to cover travel, lodging, and other incidental expenses for the conference.

What will I need in order to complete my application?

  • Your contact information

  • The name and location of your nonprofit/university

  • Your job title, a job description, and an explanation of how your role is related to communications

  • A brief explanation of what you hope to gain/learn at the conference—noting how attending ComNet19 will help you and your organization improve, and how you will contribute to the conference/field

  • A demonstrated financial need—this can be a letter from your staff leader/supervisor acknowledging the lack of available funds for professional development

When do I need to complete my application?

Applications will be accepted until 11:59pm Tuesday, July 16, 2019. You can submit your application here.

I've completed the application, when will I learn if I was selected to receive a scholarship?

We hope to notify all scholarship recipients by COB Friday, August 2, 2019 so that they have ample time to make travel and lodging arrangements.

ComNet19 is happening in Austin. Is there special consideration for Austin-based nonprofit staffers?

Yes. Ten of the 25 scholarships will be reserved for local nonprofit staff.  

Who was Frank Karel?

In the mid-1970s, Frank Karel was hired as the new communications lead for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The first ever. And he didn't know where to begin or what to do… So, he picked up the phone and called a colleague with a similar sounding title at The Rockefeller Foundation, who graciously invited him to lunch to discuss the opportunities and challenges ahead.

And with that lunch, The Communications Network was born. Today, The Communications Network counts more than 1,500 members from social sector organizations across the globe.

Frank would later join The Rockefeller Foundation as its communications chief and help the foundation expand its leadership in the philanthropic sector.

In the spirit of honoring this history, The Rockefeller Foundation is the founding sponsor of The Frank Karel Scholarship at The Communications Network’s annual conference.

Have more questions?

Please see our ComNet19 FAQ page here. Or email us at