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Leadership in Government Fellowship


Open Society-U.S. will award individual grants to former senior-level government officials and staff who have played a significant role in advancing social change.


The Open Society Foundations’ Leadership in Government Fellowship Program was founded in 2016 to support former senior-level government staff in the United States who have recently left public service and have played a significant role in advancing social change from within government in the United States at the city, county, tribal, state, and federal levels. We are interested in public sector leaders that have a deep interest in using this fellowship opportunity to reflect on their time in government and to undertake a project that advances policy ideas and inserts their unique perspectives about making change from within government into the public dialogue. The fellowship is part of a larger effort within Open Society-U.S. and the Open Society Foundations to invest in new voices that inform and challenge our collective thinking about advancing open society in the United States. Please see the fellowship guidelines for more information on the grant making program and how to apply.

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. 

For information on the previous Leadership in Government Fellow cohorts, please click on the fellowship year: 201720182019.

Eligibility Criteria

All projects must relate to one or more of Open Society-U.S.’s four central goals: justice system reform (including drug policy), strengthening democratic practice, equality for racial minorities and immigrants, and economic advancement. Projects can focus on a particular issue or cut across these broad areas of interest. Please carefully review the complete guidelines for more details on the fellowship requirements.

A project might identify a problem in the implementation of policy that has yet to be fully recognized or discussed, offer new strategies on how to work with government and advocate for policy change, or highlight a different approach for legislative or executive action. We strongly encourage applications for projects that offer unique insights and perspective into how government implements programs and policies with an eye towards their effect on low-income communities, communities of color, immigrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, people who are LGBTI, women, and those otherwise historically marginalized communities in the United States and its territories.  

We strongly encourage applications from people who see themselves serving as change agents within government again in the future or are looking to apply their public service knowledge and experience to an advocacy career. People of all political parties, ideologies and levels of government (i.e., city, county, tribal, state, federal) are encouraged to apply.

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, to:

Please note grants to fellows are considered public information and the fellow’s name and project description will be included in the Open Society Foundations’ tax returns, as per IRS regulations.


Download and review the complete guidelines and application provided here in the attached PDFs. Completed applications must be submitted by July 16, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. EDT through the Open Society Foundations' Grantee Communities Portal. The Portal will begin accepting materials on May 9, 2019. When using the Portal, applicants will need to fill out personal information and must upload two documents:

  1. Resume
  2. Completed Cover Page and Proposal (available from the Download Files section)

Three important notes regarding the Portal

  1. When you register, please be sure to click “Individual” and not “Organization.”
  2. Once registered, please do not fill out the information for the “Bank Accounts,” “Academic History,” and “Work Experience” tabs in your user Profile.
  3. You can start applications and come back to continue working on applications by logging back in to the portal. Please make sure to hit submit when you are ready to submit your completed application to the Open Society Foundations.
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Download Files

Download the complete guidelines.

Download the application.

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