Open Society Community Youth Fellowships

The Open Society Foundations’ Youth Exchange, in partnership with the Open Places Initiative, seeks applicants for its Community Youth Fellowships. The fellowships come with an award of up to $60,000 for full-time, 18-month projects (prorated for part-time or 12-month projects).

The Community Youth Fellowships will support dynamic activists aged 18-25 who want to implement a project of their own design that advances human rights in Buffalo, San Diego, or Puerto Rico. Successful applicants should demonstrate a connection to the community in which they will be based. Human rights projects could include those relating to criminal justice, workers’ rights, employment, education, health, housing, or immigration, among other subject areas.

Through these fellowships, the Open Society Foundations aim to provide young people at the early stage of their work with the support they need to develop great ideas that contribute to dismantle challenges in their communities and advance the values of an open society. Applicants may employ, either alone or in combination, any number of strategies to achieve the goals and objectives set forth in their projects. These strategies include but are not limited to: grassroots organizing, public education, strategic communications, policy advocacy, and coalition building. 

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants should be between the ages of 18 and 25. Their proposed projects must focus on human rights and take place in underserved communities in Puerto Rico, Buffalo, or San Diego.

Applicants must be at the earliest stages of their careers, have and want to learn more about what it takes to be most effective as an activist. Applicants directly affected by, or with significant direct personal experience of, the challenges, policies, practices, and systems their projects seek to address are strongly encouraged to apply. Applicants with intellectual and developmental disabilities are also strongly encouraged to apply regardless of support required. Effective and meaningful support will be provided to ensure the candidate is successful.

Ineligibility Criteria

Community Youth Fellowships do not fund the following:

  • Enrollment in an academic institution for degree or non-degree study, including dissertation research. However, candidates who apply for a part-time fellowship may continue their academic studies on their personal time.
  • Lobbying. Please carefully review our Tax Law Lobbying Rules before submitting an application. If awarded a fellowship, applicants must agree to refrain from engaging in restricted lobbying activities during the term of the fellowship.

To apply, applicants must complete the online form by March 22, 2017. Once registered, applicants will be able to proceed to the application itself, and upload the following documents:

  • Resume or bio: No more than two (2) pages
  • Letter of intent (LOI): A single-spaced letter of intent (maximum 2 pages) structured according to the template you will find online. The LOI can be submitted instead as a video or sound recording (maximum 4 minutes) covering the same points in the template

Complete guidelines in English, Spanish, and an easy-to-read version are available in the Download Files section on this page. If you have questions or experience technical difficulties with the online application form, please contact the Youth Exchange at [email protected].

Selection and Notification Cycle

  • Letters of intent due: March 22, 2017 (11:59 p.m. EST)
  • Full proposals invited: April 2017 (only those applicants who have been selected to submit a full proposal will be contacted)
  • Full proposals due: late-May 2017
  • Finalists selected: June 2017
  • Finalist interviews: June 2017
  • Selected fellows notified: June/July 2017
  • Projects begin: No earlier than July 2017

Informational Conference Call

For further information, we invite you to join one of our conference calls on March 17, 2017 (conducted in English and Spanish) in which we provide information on this opportunity and answer prospective applicants' questions.

Date: March 17, 2017
Time (Español): 12:00–1:00 pm
Time (English): 1:00–2:00 pm
Call-in number: +1-800-747-5150
Call-in code: 5480372