Travis Ghirdharie, Hometown Fellow '19
"As a student, I appreciate Lead For America helping me connect with work I feel passionate about. They helped me cement my interests in law and government while also making an impact."
— Fatima Taj, Summer Fellow
"GovChallenge is a call for us to think creatively. It is refreshing to be challenged to think and engage my creative mental-muscle. It gave me the opportunity to take initiative to identify and offer a solution to a grand problem."
— Priscilla Heaton, GovChallenge
Priscilla Heaton, GovChallenge '19
Through the Lead For America GovChallenge, local governments turn their largest problems into real-world cases which students attempt to address through a presentation day judged by local city councilors, mayors, and county commissioners. Winning teams are awarded the opportunity to work directly with the government to implement their proposed solutions. GovChallenge Directors will be in charge of managing every aspect of the GovChallenge, from host government outreach to case confirmation to on-campus recruitment to event planning.
Current GovChallenge Projects
community leaders nationwide
... begins with our education system. Lead For America’s focus on education rests upon the reality that meaningful civics education and engagement is critical to cultivating adept, informed, and intentional leaders.
Currently, our education initiatives — such as GovChallenge and Summer Fellowship — focus on building partnerships between young leaders and public institutions to get talent working on challenging problems in local governments and to empower young people to be agents of change.
Delanya Storey, Summer Fellow '19
"Lead For America provided me with the indispensable opportunity of serving my community. It had been a long standing goal of mine and I finally got the chance to contribute to the amazing work happening in my city. Local government is an undervalued source of life changing and fulfilling work. Through my experiences as a Summer Fellow, I truly learned the value of connecting with city government. "
— Delanya Storey, Summer Fellow
Lead For America places the country's most dynamic, diverse, and high-integrity college students in Summer Fellowships to reinvigorate our civic institutions and drive change in the communities nationwide that most need the help. Our second cohort of Summer Fellows began their internships in June of 2020.
We are specifically looking for students who have a demonstrated commitment to public service and who wish to return to, or remain in, a community to which they are already connected. We see this program as an opportunity for young leaders to support critical work on a local level while assessing whether Lead For America can work with our partner organizations to place Fellows in impactful, growth-spurring environments in local government, non-profits, or civically-oriented small businesses.
In the immediate term, Fellows provide critical technical assistance to resource-strapped placement sites. Fellows will engage in projects addressing economic development, community health, disaster relief, education, and more. In the long term, Summer Fellows commit to a practice of convergent leadership and support their communities in building a bench of community + civic leaders around them.