Soros Equality Fellowship
The Open Society Foundations seek applicants for their Soros Equality Fellowship, which aims to support long-term leaders influencing the racial justice field. The fellowship award typically provides individuals with $100,000 to support the production of an innovative racial justice project over the course of 18 months. (Final award amounts to be included in updated call for proposals and guidelines, once released.)
We invite applicants to be innovative and audacious in their submissions. The aim of the fellowship is to incubate new ideas, promote risk-taking, and develop different ways of thinking that challenge and expand our existing assumptions. The proposed project must provide considerable value to the racial justice field and inspire new approaches to address issues of structural inequities and discrimination.
We encourage this year’s cohort to consider their project within the current social and political moment. We know toxic narratives, racialized anxiety, economic insecurity, and an outright assault on civil rights protections have reinforced divisions and the systems that perpetuate inequities. It is in this context that we ask applicants to place their project and explain how and why their project is necessary to counter these threats and move toward a new and inclusive multiracial democracy.
An entrepreneurial spirit guides Open Society’s approach to seemingly intractable problems like structural racism and xenophobia. Through this fellowship, we aim to provide promising leaders with the support they need to more effectively combat racism in all its forms. We seek a diverse and dynamic cohort of applicants, including but not limited to activists, lawyers, artists, journalists, and organizers with unique perspectives, to produce projects with meaningful impact.
Fellowship Term and Time Commitment
Applicants must be able to devote at least 35 hours per week to the project if awarded a fellowship; and the project must be the applicant’s only full-time work during the course of the fellowship. Fellows cannot be full-time students during their fellowship. In addition, if awarded a fellowship, applicants must be available to attend a set of activities during the fellowship term. Exact dates and locations will be confirmed upon fellowship selection.
Projects Based Outside the United States
Applicants may be based outside the United States, provided their work directly pertains to a U.S. racial justice issue and are able to demonstrate a proficiency in spoken and written English.
Up to two individuals can apply jointly for a Soros Equality Fellowship. However, joint applications will share one fellowship award. A joint application should be completed together as a single submission. For joint applicants, the full-time work requirement does not apply to each applicant. All other restrictions associated with an individual application still apply. Be sure to explain why this particular partnership is necessary to fulfill the objectives of the project and how responsibilities will be distributed.
Projects that include electioneering, lobbying, or other activity that does not fall within IRS 501(c)(3) guidelines will not be funded. Please carefully review the Tax Law Lobbying Rules before submitting an application. If awarded a fellowship, applicants are required to attend a training session on the tax law lobbying rules, conducted by the Open Society Foundations’ General Counsel’s Office; and must agree to refrain from engaging in restricted lobbying and political activities during the term of the fellowship.
The program does not fund the following:
- enrollment for degree or non-degree study at academic institutions, including dissertation research
- projects that address racial justice issues outside the United States (applicants themselves, however, can be based outside the United States, as long as their work directly relates to a U.S. issue)
- projects that serve as proxy for an organizational grant
- lobbying or political activities
Full guidelines and application materials will be released on or before December 1, 2020.
Alice Y. Hom2017Alice Y. Hom, will create a digital archive of oral histories of queer and trans people of color, designed to promote and share cross-generational stories of resistance and community organizing.
David Felix Sutcliffe2017David Felix Sutcliffe will produce a documentary musical examining the mainstream media’s role in spreading Islamophobia, and a series of short videos exploring the role of discrimination in current events.
Deepa Iyer2017Deepa Iyer will create a platform to provide racial justice organizations with resources to sharpen organizing and coalition building strategies, and promote solidarity across communities.
Hank Willis Thomas2017Hank Willis Thomas will use the tools of a contemporary advertising agency to create a campaign aimed at exploring and discrediting distortions in the racial narrative in the United States.
Leah Penniman2017Leah Penniman will train farm activists of color in strategies for addressing structural advocacy in the food system, with a particular focus on farmworker rights.
Purvi Shah2017Purvi Shah will create a hub to promote collaboration, coalition-building, and experimentation among lawyers working on racial justice issues.
Rachel L. Swarns2017Rachel Swarns will write a book exploring the role slavery played in the history of Georgetown University, and the impact of that chapter on the lives and descendants of the enslaved.
Alexandra Bell2018Alexandra Bell will produce a fictitious newspaper set in the future that explores issues such as police violence, housing crises, wealth inequality, and mass incarceration using a solutions journalism framework.
Douglas Belchior2018Douglas Belchior will develop networks of Afro Brazilian and African American organizations and individuals to mobilize against racism in the Americas.
Janvieve Comrie2018Janvieve Comrie will build a national network of AfroLatina organizers, and educate immigrant rights organizations about the realities faced by women who share a black Latina-immigrant identity in the United States today.
Khaled Beydoun2018Khaled Beydoun will build on his academic research to develop trainings to help educate and empower over-policed and under-protected Muslim communities on issues such as surveillance and counter-radicalization.
Michael Premo2018Michael Premo will produce a documentary film exploring race and culture in the United States.
Michelle Cook2018Michelle Cook will develop Divest, Invest and Protect, a project encouraging financial institutions to invest in companies that safeguard indigenous people’s rights.
Michelle García2018Michelle García will write Anima Sola: The Unmaking of the Frontier, a narrative nonfiction book about the United States’ entrenched frontier culture and how it affects current narratives of immigrants and Latinx.
Michelle Morse2018Michelle Morse will develop the Campaign Against Racism of the Social Medicine Consortium, a collective of individuals, universities, and key stakeholders fighting for health equity through education, training, and advocacy.
Raquel Willis2018Raquel Willis will create a project to develop the leadership of black trans women in the southern and midwestern regions of the United States.