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Open Society Foundations Announce 2022 Leadership in Government Fellows

NEW YORK—The Open Society Foundations are pleased to announce the 2022 recipients of the Leadership in Government Fellowship, an initiative supporting accomplished, senior public servants from federal, state, and local governments, working to advance economic, social, and racial justice.

Among others, the 2022 class features a former police chief from New Jersey, a deputy chancellor who oversaw the implementation of New York City’s early childhood programs, the founding director of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs in Atlanta, the first Latina to serve on the Detroit City Council, the chief democracy officer for New York City, and a public policy and urban spaces champion. 

The fellows have made their marks in diverse fields in communities across the country, and at all levels of government. Their projects will include: efforts to diversify policy forces and improve their relationship with the communities they serve; an implementation guide for states and localities to expand early education programs; tools to promote voter participation and combat disinformation by working with local community-based organizations; an education initiative on available COVID-19 pandemic resources for those excluded from local pandemic responses; a holistic coaching program for women of color elected into office; and a project to promote economic opportunity for all through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

“As we start to rebuild our country after two years of a devastating pandemic, the innovations these former public servants bring to the table will help us create a more just and equitable society,” said Tom Perriello, executive director of Open Society-U.S. “We are so excited by this year’s fellows and are eager to see their projects unfold.”

The program, now in its sixth year, is intended to help fellows build on their time in the public sector. Fellows are also encouraged to reflect on their public service as they decide on the next steps in their careers, and to share with advocates insights about effectuating policy change in a low-trust public opinion environment.

Grantees and staff from Open Society may also learn from the fellows about how to better navigate government and leverage its resources, to confront the challenges that are facing the country, including the turmoil caused by COVID-19, anti-democratic voter restrictions, and the moment for racial justice.

“We at the Open Society Foundations look forward to working with the sixth cohort of Leadership in Government Fellows,” said Elizabeth Guernsey, chief of office at Open Society-U.S. “We are at a crossroads in the fight for racial and economic justice in this country, and this group of diverse and experiences fellows will help bring much-needed perspectives to advance the values of an open society and a fairer country.”

Awards for the fellowship range from $100,000 to $133,000 to facilitate projects lasting between 12 and 18 months. Fellows will devote up to 32 hours per week to their projects.

2022 Leadership in Government Fellows

Ivonne Roman will work to integrate evidence-based research on policing into policies and practices to help diversifying the American police workforce and improve outcomes for police departments and the communities they serve.

Josh Wallack will work in partnership with states and cities to develop resources to help implement and expand effective, equitable early care and education programs.

Laura Wood will promote voter participation and civic engagement while combating disinformation about elections and democracy by working with cities and community-based organizations to catalyze local action.

Michelle Maziar will educate organizations, journalists, advocates, and civil society actors on available COVID-19 pandemic resources, to help those excluded from local pandemic responses receive the benefits they deserve.

Raquel Castañeda-López will create a holistic coaching program, the Restorative Democracy Project, to support and build the capacity of women of color in office and those transitioning out.

Stephanie Gidigbi Jenkins will advance community-centered projects, racial equity practices, and climate resilience principles to promote economic opportunity for all through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

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