Leadership in Government Fellowship
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.
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: OSUSFellowships@opensocietyfoundations.org.
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.Apply Now
Download the complete guidelines.
Download the application.
Charles West2017Charles West will create a guide to help local government officials develop and implement policies and programs to improve the life outcomes of boys and men of color.
Chiraag Bains2017Chiraag Bains will write a book addressing the need to reform policing in the United States and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
Gigi B. Sohn2017Gigi B. Sohn will use multi-platform storytelling techniques to help demonstrate how public policy can improve access to communications networks, new technology and media to communities often left behind in the digital age.
Ralph Becker2017Ralph Becker will create a guide for local leaders featuring solution-oriented approaches to making policy change in contrary political environments.
Terri Gerstein2017Terri Gerstein will develop the capacity of state and local government agencies to improve the conditions of low wage and immigrant workers through strategic enforcement of labor laws.
Cindy Polo2021Cindy Polo will work on mass communications plans designed to educate Latino voters on policy and the role of government.
Kristine Reeves2021Kristine Reeves will develop a public policy process model and toolkit for addressing the perpetuation of systemic oppression and exclusion through the promotion of intercultural sensitivity coaching, training, and policy evaluation.
Laurel Paget Seekins2021Laurel Paget Seekins will build collaborative tools for advocates and government change-makers to use to promote equitable transit services, whose necessity has been made clear by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lorelei Salas2021Lorelei Salas will promote livable and sustainable working conditions and consumer participation by giving worker-centers, unions, and policymakers the tools they need to ensure people come before profits.
Michael Tubbs2021Michael Tubbs will work with community-based organizations and governments to launch innovative programs and policy experiments—including basic income pilots with mayors across the state to address poverty and economic mobility.
Nic Santos2021Nic Santos will create a burial protection guidebook and an accompanying workshop series to empower the movement for adequate and equal protection of cultural and environmental resources in Guam.
Diane E. Thompson2020Diane E. Thompson will work to advance regulatory advocacy and public accountability at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in an effort to foster economic advancement and strengthen democratic practices.
Joshua Breitbart2020Joshua Breitbart will develop strategies for local and state governments to help connect all of their residents with internet service.
Julia Figueira-McDonough2020Julia Figueira-McDonough will work to create good jobs for caregivers to the elderly, design a workforce development program, and push to include both elders and their caregivers in the public conversation on caregiving.