Skip to main content

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 $100,000 to $140,000 depending on percentage of time committed to the project. Projects are either 12 or 18 months in duration. 

For information on the previous Leadership in Government Fellow cohorts, please visit the Past Fellows tab on this page.

Eligibility Criteria

All projects must relate to one or more of Open Society-U.S.’s areas of focus. Projects can focus on a particular issue or cut across broad areas of interest. In addition, this year, we ask that applicants demonstrate how their expertise and proposed fellowship work is connected to the unprecedented challenges and opportunities facing the United States today, including the COVID-19 pandemic, democracy reform, climate change, and/or racial justice. 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 November 15, 2021, 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 provided here in the attached PDF. Completed applications must be submitted by November 22, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. EST through the Open Society Foundations Grant Portal. The System will begin accepting materials on September 15, 2021.

Applicants will have to provide basic contact information and answer questions about their government experience. Applicants will also submit a proposal of ten questions along with their resume. Once registered with the system, applicants can save their progress before submitting a final application.

Download Files

Download the complete guidelines.

Download the application.

Filter by:
Showing 29 fellows
Filter by
Filter by:
Showing 9 fellows
Filter by

Subscribe to updates about new grant opportunities

By entering your email address and clicking “Submit,” you agree to receive updates from the Open Society Foundations about our work. To learn more about how we use and protect your personal data, please view our privacy policy.