You’re ready to take your skills to “the next level.” You’re aching to explore your field in depth through higher education. You have a great idea for a new way to attack a social problem. But who’s going to give you the time and the money to do it?
The organizations listed here do just that, through fellowships.
One of the most coveted forms of professional development, fellowships typically aim to give you time off from the rigors of your daily work, with the expectation that you will emerge from the experience with renewed energy, a new level of expertise and a new mission. You might use a fellowship to build leadership skills, to pursue a new strategy to help youth and families, or to research an issue in depth.
Fellowships come in a variety of forms. Some fund academic study, while others focus on practical experience, such as working as an aide in Congress. They require different levels of commitment from your employer, such as financial contributions and holding your job for you when you return. They range from a few months to more than a year long.
Here is a selected sampling of fellowships of interest to youth workers and advocates.
Education Policy Fellowship Program
Institute for Educational Leadership
Eligibility: Full-time professionals with a bachelor’s degree or equivalent working in fields such as education, youth service, social work, the military, government and business. Applicants must have the endorsement and financial support of their employers.
Selection Criteria: A history of productivity within and across organizations or agencies, as well as substantive work experience and both a professional and personal dedication to helping youth.
Focus: A 10-month in-service program dedicated to enhancing leadership skills, understanding public policy and building professional networking. The fellowship uses two national conferences, as well as locale-specific programs like case studies and workshops for each of the 16 state or regional sites.
To Apply: Application deadlines and EPFP schedules vary by state and region. Applications can be obtained through the state contacts (found on the IEL website) or downloaded from the website and sent to the appropriate state contacts.
Financial Information: Each fellow’s employer must pay the $2,500 program fee, travel fees for the two national conferences and any expenses incurred with the local programs.
Funding: Fellows’ employers, who become sponsors, cover the program and travel fees.
Youth Work Alumni: Darlyne Bailey, dean and professor, Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research, Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania; Tom Houlihan, president/CEO, The Institute for Breakthrough Performance in North Carolina.
Contact: Institute for Educational Leadership, 4455 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 310, Washington, DC 20008; (202) 822-8405; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.iel.org/epfp/index.html.
National Urban Fellows
Eligibility: Mid-career professional women and minority community leaders with a minimum of three to five years of management experience. Applicants must be U.S. citizens with a bachelor’s degree and able to meet admissions standards for a graduate program at Baruch College of the City University of New York.
Selection Criteria: Demonstrated leadership ability and a strong work ethic.
Focus: A full-time graduate program for two semesters at Baruch College and a nine-month mentorship with a public official or administrator. There is also a mid-year conference on professional development. The 14-month program culminates in fellows receiving a Master of Public Administration degree from Baruch College. Must be willing to relocate for the fellowship.
To Apply: General application can be downloaded from the website and must be submitted with $100 fee by Jan. 29, 2010.
Financial Information: Stipend of $25,000 over 14 months, full payment of tuition, $500 relocation allowance, reimbursement for program travel and $500 book allowance. Fellows may not hold paid employment during the fellowship.
Funding: Individual contributions and donations from companies like Pfizer and American Express, as well as from such foundations as the Marguerite Casey Foundation and the Ford Foundation.
Youth Work Alumni: Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr., Jackson, Miss.; Dr. Antoine Allen, CEO, Metropolitan Wilmington (N.C.) Urban League.
Contact: National Urban Fellows, 102 W. 38th St., Suite 700, New York, NY 10018; (212) 730-1700; http://www.nuf.org.
Echoing Green Fellowship
Eligibility: Individuals or partnerships working on an original organization or social project in its early phases. Applicants will have to leave other employment to devote themselves to the project full time and must commit themselves to leading the project for another two years. They must be at least 18 years old.
Selection Criteria: A plan that will result in a sustainable organization, the ability to articulate vision for social change, and entrepreneurial skill.
Focus: This nonacademic fellowship awards money for an idea that creates new models for dealing with difficult social issues. The two-year program envisions the launch of such an organization.
To Apply: The applications will be posted on the Echoing Green website. Phase one applications can be submitted between Sept. 17 and Dec. 1.
Financial Information: Individuals – A $30,000 stipend per year for two years. Partnerships – $45,000 per year for two years. A health insurance stipend is also offered.
Funding: General Atlantic LLC and The Atlantic Philanthropies.
Youth Work Alumni: Eric Rosenthal, founder of Mental Disability Rights International; Orlando Watkins, vice president of programs, The Greater New Orleans Foundation.
Contact: Echoing Green, 494 Eighth Ave., New York, NY 10001; (212) 689-1165; email@example.com; http://www.echoinggreen.org.
Alston/Bannerman Fellowship Program
Eligibility: People of color with more than 10 years of organizing experience. Must live in the United States or in a U.S. territory. Fellows must be able to take three months off from their day-to-day routines.
Selection Criteria: Applicants’ work must have been focused on organizing those affected by injustice to attack unjust systems, as well as networking with other groups and constituencies to reach common goals. Work should be focused on placing power and accountability within disadvantaged communities, while acknowledging the cultural values of those communities.
Focus: Three-month sabbaticals for long-time activists of color. Fellows must produce a brief report after their time off and have no other required activities. The idea is to provide respite for those who have devoted their lives to helping the community.
To Apply: Applications are available on the Alston/Bannerman website, as well as by mail. The application deadline for this year was March 15, but deadlines for next year are not yet available. No major changes are expected.
Financial Information: $25,000 stipend for the three months.
Funding: Private donations.
Youth Work Alumni: John Jackson, director, California Child Care Providers for Action; Faye Bush, executive director, Newtown Florist Club.
Contact: Alston/Bannerman Fellowship Program, 1627 Lancaster St., Baltimore, MD 21231; (410) 327-6220; info@Alston/Bannerman.org; http://www.alstonbannerman.org.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation Children and Family Fellows
Eligibility: Must have at least 10 years of experience working toward bettering the lives of children and families, their communities or the systems that serve them.
Selection Criteria: Applicants must show a history of increasing leadership responsibility throughout their careers. Fellows should have demonstrated the desire to seek new challenges professionally and assume greater leadership roles. Unlike in previous years, fellows do not face the possibility of needing to resign or take a leave from their current jobs.
Focus: An 18-month program for mid-career professionals that seeks to build the skills needed for community reforms aimed at helping children and families. The program includes group seminars for fellows to see what a program working toward change looks like. Fellows also work on projects with organizations of their choice to improve communities. Between the seminars, fellows will develop and execute an individual learning plan and a fellowship project.
Nomination: Closed nomination process. A national network of individuals and organizations, chosen by the foundation, submits nominations, which can include self-nominations. Nominees receive applications, and finalists are reviewed by a panel. The selection for the next class of nominees is expected in late 2009, but no official date has been set.
Financial Information: Covers travel, program tuition, meals, lodging, materials and additional expenses.
Funding: The Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Youth Work Alumni: Norman Yee, former president, San Francisco Board of Education; Yolie Floris Aguilar, member, Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education; Chet Hewitt, CEO, Sierra Health Foundation.
Contact: The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 701 St. Paul St., Baltimore, MD 21202; (410) 547-6600; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.aecf.org.
Bush Leadership Fellows Program
Eligibility: Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and have lived and worked in Minnesota, North Dakota or South Dakota for at least one continuous year immediately prior to the application deadline. Applicants must be at least 28 years old at the time of the application deadline and cannot have received a leadership fellowship in the past.
Selection Criteria: Demonstrated competence and intelligence in leadership positions, especially in community service. Plans created by fellows must be realistic, ambitious and unachievable without the fellowship.
Focus: The program encourages fellows to reach leadership positions in their professions and communities. Applicants prepare goals and propose an educational program designed to reach those goals. The program can last from two to 18 months.
To Apply: Applications are available online and are due by Oct. 12.
Financial Information: A stipend of $4,000 per month for living expenses and $6,000 for travel. Fellows share instructional expenses, such as tuition and mentoring fees.
Funding: The Bush Foundation.
Youth Work Alumni: Patricia Petite, president, Fond du Lac Tribal College, in Cloquet, Minn.; Vickie Lynn Allen, assistant professor, St. Catherine University, in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.
Contact: Martha Lee, Suite East 900, 332 Minnesota St., St. Paul, MN 55101; (651) 227-0891; email@example.com; http://www.bushfoundation.org/fellowships/leadership_overview.asp.
Health Policy Fellowship Program
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Eligibility: U.S. citizens who are mid-career professionals in the fields of allied health; biomedical sciences; dentistry; economics or other social sciences; health services organization and administration; medicine; nursing; public health; or social and behavioral health.
Selection Criteria: Professional achievements, potential for leadership in health policy, potential for future growth and career advancement, interpersonal and communication skills and individual plans for incorporating the fellowship experience into specific career goals.
Focus: The year-long program puts fellows through a series of seminars, preparing them to work in the field of health care policy. After training, fellows negotiate for working assignments with Congress, helping to craft policy. Fellows may decide to extend the program by four months to remain in their assignments with Congress longer.
To Apply: Applicants must obtain sponsorship from nonprofit health care organizations or academic centers. Applicants also have the option of asking the Institute of Medicine (part of the National Academies) to administer their fellowships. Applications will go online in mid-September. The deadline will be in mid-November.
Financial Information: Up to $165,000 is available per fellow. Up to $94,000 may cover the first year of salary support (not to exceed the fellow’s previous year’s salary). The rest is used for further salary supplementation, travel expenses, research and networking.
Funding: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Youth Work Alumni: Jay Berkelhamer, president, American Academy of Pediatrics; Susan Scavo Gallagher, director of the Tufts University MS Program in Health Communication in Boston.
Contact: RWJ Health Policy Fellowships Program, 500 5th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001; (202) 334-1506; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.healthpolicyfellows.org.
Community Health Leadership Program
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Eligibility: Mid-career professionals in the health services field who work in communities where health care has been neglected. A leader must be affiliated with a nonprofit or government agency. The services must be performed in a local community.
Selection Criteria: Must have successfully worked to expand health care and social services to underserved and isolated communities across the United States. Must have demonstrated leadership abilities and innovation in the field of health services. Ten individuals are selected.
Focus: Improve and hone leadership qualities, increase the capacity of the leader’s organization and raise awareness of the leader’s activities.
Nomination: Leaders must be nominated by someone very familiar with their work who believes strongly in it. The deadlines for the 2009-10 nomination process have not been set, but they are expected to be this fall, and announcement of the fellowship recipients is expected in October 2010.
Financial Information: $125,000 for each leader: $105,000 for the leader’s organization and $20,000 as a personal gift.
Funding: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Youth Work Alumni: JoAnn Lum, executive director, National Mobilization Against Sweatshops; Ruth Ann Norton, executive director, Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning; Clayton Guyton, co-director, Rose Street Community Center; Elroy Christopher, co-director, Rose Street Community Center.
Contact: Helen Dundas at (888) 631-9989, email@example.com; http://www.communityhealthleaders.org.
Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowships
Open Society Institute
Eligibility: Two to six years of advocacy experience. Undergraduate or graduate degree is not required, but if the applicant is enrolled in a degree program, he or she must have completed the program by the start of the fellowship.
Selection Criteria: Applicants must demonstrate leadership ability, drive and creativity. Projects must be creative, feasible plans for dealing with one of the U.S. Justice Fund’s criminal justice priorities, such as improving public defense services or curbing racial profiling.
Focus: The goal of this 18-month fellowship is to aid emerging and existing leaders in advocacy. The projects must affect one or more issues in criminal justice. Projects can include litigation, public education, coalition-building and research, and must be directed toward a specific goal.
To Apply: Information about deadlines for the 2010 program should be posted on the website later this month. The deadline for the 2009 program was in mid-October 2008.
Finances: A stipend of $69,750, up to $6,000 for repayment of graduate student loans, $3,750 for health insurance, $1,000 for professional development, and funds to attend the annual fellows meeting.
Funding: Soros Foundation.
Youth Work Alumni: Neelum Arya, director of research and policy, Campaign for Youth Justice; Dee Ann Newell, principal investigator and program manager, Services of Children of Prisoners and Their Families.
Contact: Open Society Institute, 400 W. 59th St., New York, NY 10019; (212) 548-0600; http://www.soros.org/initiatives/usprograms/focus/justice/programs/justice_fellows/guidelines/advocacy.
Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs
Eligibility: A bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience. Fellows come from all academic disciplines, careers and backgrounds. The age range for recent classes has been 21 to 58.
Selection Criteria: Post-graduate academic and/or work experience are desirable, along with participation in civic or campus activities. Must show leadership ability and concern for the well-being of communities.
Focus: A nine-month, full-time post-graduate program designed to expose public servants to all aspects of public affairs. The program is based in Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and St. Louis. It consists of field assignments, site visits, interviews and special projects.
To Apply: A pre-application form is available on the website. People who fill it out will receive regular updates on the application process. The deadlines for the 2010-11 class have not been set.
Finances: Financial details vary among the sites. Stipends average $8,000 to $11,000. Tuition fees are about $3,000, but need-based financial aid is provided. Most programs help with transportation, housing and healthcare costs.
Funding: Foundations, corporations and individual donations.
Youth Work Alumni: Iris Chen, president and CEO, “I Have a Dream” Foundation; Eliza Leighton, co-founder, Stand for Children; Bill Jackson, president, founder and CEO, http://GreatSchools.net; and Tim Kaine, governor of Virginia and chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Contact: Coro National, c/o Manatt Phelps, 700 12th St. NW, Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20005; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.coro.org.