Open Society Puerto Rico Youth Fellowships

The Open Society Foundations’ Puerto Rico Program seeks applicants for its Puerto Rico Youth Fellowships. The fellowships come with an award of up to $35,000 for full-time, 12-month projects (prorated for part-time projects).

The Puerto Rico Youth Fellowships will support the next generation of youth leaders aged 18–27, who want to implement a project of their own design that advances human rights in Puerto Rico, particularly in the context of Puerto Rico’s economic crisis and the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Successful applicants should demonstrate a connection to the community in which they will be based, and a desire to reimagine the island beyond its current constraints (geographic, political, social, cultural, and so forth). Human rights projects could include those relating to criminal justice, workers’ rights, LGBTIQ rights, food justice, environmental justice, education (including the right to public 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 in Puerto Rico. 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 27. Their proposed projects must focus on human rights and take place in underserved communities in Puerto Rico.

Applicants must be at the earliest stages of their careers, and want to learn more about what it takes to be most effective in catalyzing civic engagement and community education around critical issues affecting the island.

There are no minimum education requirements. 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

The Puerto Rico Youth Fellowships does 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.
  • Projects that deal with direct service provision.
  • 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 September 30, 2018. Once registered, applicants will be able to proceed to the application itself, and upload the following documents:

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

Complete guidelines in English 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 Puerto Rico project at [email protected].

Selection and Notification Cycle

  • Letters of intent due: September 30, 2018 (11:59 p.m. EDT)
  • Full proposals invited: October 2018 (only those applicants who have been selected to submit a full proposal will be contacted)
  • Full proposals due: November 2018
  • Finalists selected: late November 2018
  • Finalist interviews: December 2018
  • Selected fellows notified: December 2018
  • Projects begin: No earlier than January 2019

Informational Conference Call

For further information, we invite you to join one of our conference call on September 12, 2018 (conducted in Spanish) in which we provide information on this opportunity and answer prospective applicants' questions.

Date: September 12, 2018
Time: 12:00–1:00 pm
Call-in number: +1-800-747-5150
Call-in code: 2797188#