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Leadership in Government Fellowship

Fellowships to USA Former Public
Sector Officials to Advance Social Change

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Open Society Foundations (OSF)

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

07/16/19 12:00 PM EDT


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Fellowships starting at $90,000 and additional project support to USA and territories individuals who have served in senior-level positions within state, local, or federal governments. Selected fellows will carry out projects to advance policy ideas that will bring their unique perspectives on social change into the public dialogue.

Open Society-U.S. will award individual grants to people who have played a significant role in advancing social change from within government in the United States and its territories at the city, county, tribal, state, and federal levels. The individual grant will allow recent government leaders to reflect on their public service, expand their network and knowledge, and insert their unique perspectives and expertise into the public dialogue. Selected individual grantees will be referred to as fellows. Fellows will undertake a project of their choosing that will help them promote a richer and more nuanced understanding of the opportunities for making and implementing change from inside of government and, in turn, give them the chance to promote specific policy ideas beyond their former jurisdictions. Open Society-U.S. will consider proposals for projects that tackle one of the core issues on which it works.

Fellows will be able to take advantage of the considerable intellectual and logistical resources of the Open Society Foundations and contribute meaningfully to the Foundations' thinking in return. Fellows will also have opportunities to network with one another as a cohort. This networking and relationship building will also provide fellows with deeper connections and broader perspectives on social change in the United States.

The work of Open Society-U.S. is organized around four central goals: Justice, democratic practice, equality, and economic advancement. The topic of the project should align with one or more of Open Society-U.S.’s goals. Project themes can focus on a particular issue or cut across these broad areas of interest.

For more information about these goals, see:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 172989

Estimated Size of Grant:

Fellows will receive a stipend in a general range of $90,000 to $130,000 depending on percentage of time committed to the project, which will range from 12 to 18 months in duration. In addition to the stipend, fellows will receive a small project budget. That budget may include expenses such as travel (including airfare and hotel), conference fees and health insurance.

Term of Contract:

The project will range from 12 to 18 months in duration.

Though most fellowship terms are for one year, the program will consider requests for projects lasting up to eighteen months. The expectation is that fellows will spend sixty to eighty percent of their time (based on a 40-hour work week) over the course of the fellowship devoted to their project.

The fellowship will start in January 2020, with a possibility to begin the fellowship earlier on a case-by-case basis.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants:

- Open Society-U.S. seeks fellowship applicants who have served in senior-level government positions in the United States and its territories. Ideal candidates are public servants who have recently completed their time in government (within the last two years) or will have completed their term prior to the beginning of their fellowship and have served in the chief executive role or senior management of their agency or office. For example, there have been applicants and fellows with the following titles: Deputy Mayor, Commissioner, Chief of Staff, Sheriff, City Manager, Counsel, Senior Policy Advisor, Legislative Director, and Assistant Undersecretary.

- Ideally, applicants see themselves serving as change agents within government in the future or are looking to apply their public service experience to an advocacy career. People of all political parties or ideologies are encouraged to apply, especially those who can challenge thinking and approach to social change.

- Successful applicants will demonstrate the following qualities: a keen interest in reflecting on their government service; a passion for solving problems and implementing policy; the desire to advance ideas beyond their former jurisdictions; and a desire to inject their work into the public dialogue. Applicants should also have an interest in engaging constructively with the grantee network, and in furthering one of the central goals of Open Society-U.S.

- The fellowship program only accepts individual applications. Joint applications will not be considered.

Ineligible applicants and projects:

- Joint applications will not be considered.

- The fellowship does not fund enrollment for degree or non-degree study at academic institutions, including dissertation research.

- Projects that include lobbying or political activities will not be funded. Please carefully review the Tax Law Lobbying Rules before submitting an application. In addition, the entity within the Open Society Foundations that will issue these fellowships is a U.S. private foundation. As a U.S. private foundation, it is prohibited from participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate for public office. This prohibition applies to direct action by the foundation and to action funded through its grants. As a result, fellows may not use grant funds for prohibited political campaign intervention.

- Fellowship expenses cannot include operational or programmatic costs, such as employees, physical infrastructure, office space, or computers. The purpose of the fellowship is to support individual fellows; therefore the program will only cover individual expenses.

Pre-Application Information:

- Application deadline: July 16, 2019 (12:00 p.m. EDT)
- Finalists notified: Mid-September 2019 (All applicants will be notified via email whether they have been selected as a finalist.)
- Finalist interviews: Week of September 17, 2019 (All finalist interviews will be held at the Open Society Foundations offices in New York City.)
- Selected fellows notified: Early to mid-October 2019
- Fellowship Start: January 2020, with a possibility to begin the fellowship earlier on a case-by-case basis.

Applicants who are uncertain whether some aspect of their proposed project fits within the parameters of the Leadership in Government Fellowship guidelines may submit a brief email inquiry before proceeding with the full application, no later than July 8, 2019. The Foundation will do its best to respond to all emails inquiries within a week of receipt.

Grantee Communities Portal Help Articles:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Grantee Communities Portal:

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For technical assistance and support using the Portal:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

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