Erness Wright-Irvin ToP Trainer Fellowship Program

Erness Wright-Irvin was an active ToP Network member, facilitator and trainer in New Orleans beginning in the 90s. Her smile was infectious, her spirit open and eager to support others in finding meaning and moving forward. She provided leadership as local host to the ToP Network Gathering in January, 2019. She died in November, 2020. 


The Erness Wright-Irvin Fellowship Program of ToP Network is created to enhance the opportunity for community-minded individuals who are Black, indigenous or persons of color to advance themselves as ToP trainers.

To expand the representation of individuals who are Black, indigenous or persons of color to more accurately reflect the demographics of our country and enrich the faculty of ToP trainers in the USA.

The Erness Wright-Irvin ToP Trainer Fellowship Program will underwrite the costs of an individual’s training journey.

What is included in the fellowship?

  • Mastery course to serve as a path to Certification and Training Journey 
  • Apprenticeship opportunities with dedicated mentor trainer(s)
  • Any fees associated with the ToP training journey, including CTF fee, MToP registration, one other advanced ToP course, ToP Network membership, virtual CTF cohort, travel, stipend while on the apprenticeship journey not to exceed $10,000 over 2 years.

Criteria for selection:

  • Community focus 
  • Commitment to ToP philosophy and values
  • Being Black, indigenous or a person of color
  • Engaged in the trainer journey - committed to achieving CTF status and continuing as an active ToP trainer for at least 2 years

Who manages the fellowship program? 

  • Erness Wright-Irvin Fellowship Fund is housed within the ToP Network (ToP Network Board stewardship). An MOU between the ToP Network and ICA to ensure seamless coordination and transfer of course registration funds was completed and signed by both organizations in September, 2022.

  • The EWI Fellowship Program Team(3-5 people) is responsible for selection of candidates & announcement of opportunity for application.

  • The Fellowship Program Team consists of ToP trainers representing diverse perspectives: different groups/ geographies/ cultures/ age/ gender/ history with ICA & ToP or other diverse perspectives.

  • The fellowship program team will select the fellowship recipient/s (subject to the approval of the ToP Network Board). No member of the Fellowship Program Team, ToP Network Board, ICA Board or their immediate family shall be eligible for fellowship support during their tenure on the team or the board. 

  • The Fellowship Program Team retains the right to withhold grants in any year if no candidate is determined to be qualified. The Fellowship Program Team shall notify the chosen fellowship recipient(s) of its decision. 

  • The Fellowship Program Team will lead annual fundraising efforts for the EWI Fellowship sustainability.

  • The EWI Fellowship Program Team is being formed NOW. If you are interested in serving or have someone to recommend to serve in this capacity, please let us know.

Funding the Fellowship Program

  • The Fellowship is starting with a fund balance of $13,347.  In September 2022, the San Antonio Trainers Network donated $8,347 and the ToP Network donated $5,000.
  • The ToP Network has pledged an additional $5,000 to match donations.
  • We invite individuals and trainer families to make donations to the ToP Network EWI Fellowship Fund.
  • Note: donations are made to the ToP Network and these are not tax deductible as the ToP Network is a 501c6 organization.