Fellows are placed with a local organization to serve in a full-time, paid position and have project scopes designed to address critical community challenges.
From forming lifelong bonds with other Fellows to receiving 1:1 expert mentorship, Fellows join a network of local changemakers that will serve as friends and co-creators in building stronger communities. As alumni, Fellows also have access to graduate school scholarships and seed-funding for launching their own organization.
Fellows are provided in-person and virtual training throughout their Fellowship experience. This includes training in LFA’s leadership model, public administration, and community engagement. Past training locations have included Washington, DC, Boston, MA, and Shreveport, LA, and partners have included the Rural Studies Institute, the Harvard Kennedy School, Urban Rural Action, and esteemed elected officials.
Fellows begin their placement with a Listening Tour to understand the local landscape of challenge and possibility by meeting with members of their community.
Fellows serve in full-time paid positions with a local host institution (e.g. nonprofit, local government, service-driven organization) in a community they call home. Lead For America Fellows become an integral member of the host organization's staff, helping address critical challenges at the local-level alongside experienced co-workers.
Lead For America and its Fellows work with host organizations to create a project scope, which serves as detailed description of what challenges the Fellow will work to address, setting clear expectations, and envisioning how their planned impact fits into larger community goals. See project scope examples below!
After receiving feedback from alumni, current Fellows, hosts, and partners, Fellows starting their fellowship in 2022 will now have an opportunity to renew their fellowship when nearing a year into their placement. Fellows, their host organization, and LFA will meet for a check-in to discuss the fellowship experience, progress made on the Fellow's goals, and whether the Fellow would like to renew their fellowship for an additional one-year term (for a total of a two-year fellowship). Most Fellows renew their fellowship placement, committing to long-term impact in their community.
"I can think of no better way to get started in a career of public service than by serving the city that welcomed me with
— Grant Kirkpatrick, Fellow
Example Project Scopes
Fellows at Catalyst Institute
"Being a Fellow has helped me become more creative in approaching and addressing the issues my community faces. I've been able to establish networks of support and avenues of collaboration. What could have been a frustrating and lonely journey has been exciting and empowering."
— Shandiin Herrera, Fellow
Fellows are provided in-person and virtual training throughout their fellowship experience. Prior to starting their full-time placements around the country, Fellows come together in person for the Lead For America Changemaker Summit. The Summit focuses on three primary objectives:
Equip Fellows with training in leadership, public administration, history, community engagement, and working across lines of difference to be effective leaders in their fellowship and beyond;
Inspire Fellows to lives of leadership and commitment to place by meeting and hearing from Lead For America alumni and other incredible civic leaders from around the country;
Cultivate lifelong friendships among their fellowship cohort. Past Summits have been held in Washington, DC, Boston, MA, and Shreveport, LA, and have included partners such as the Harvard Kennedy School, Tisch College for Civic Life, Urban Rural Action, and esteemed elected officials.
Throughout the fellowship, Fellows will receive additional support and training through regular virtual 1:1s with a dedicated Program Manager, virtual events, and Fellowship retreats with their cohort.
Listening Tour &
Fellows begin their return to their community by conducting a Listening Tour. This is an opportunity to hear from the voices in town, whether they be local leaders. the ma & pa store clerk, or the single-parent family next door. Fellows gather insight from these conversations to gain a better understanding of the local landscape of challenge and possibility.
From the Listening Tour, Fellows are encouraged to create their own Community Venture. Entrepreneurial in nature, Fellows can develop a community project that helps address a challenge or set of challenges identified during their conversations with community residents. Example ventures include a recycling awareness initiative, launching a community resource center, starting a non-profit, and running for office.
Fellows receive support from Lead For America when launching their Community Venture. Whether it's seed money to get started and/or getting connected with experienced mentors, LFA Fellows are supported in their pursuit to address the challenges in their community in a way that is informed by the voices in that community.
Alumni & Community Support
Over and over, Lead For America Fellows share that the friendships and bonds they create with their cohort are one of the best benefits of the fellowship. Alongside the programmatic gathering opportunities like the Changemaker Summit, annual retreats, and virtual engagements, Fellows are encouraged and provided support to visit other Fellows in the their home communities.
Through the fellowship, Fellows join a network of local changemakers who will serve as friends and co-creators in building stronger communities.
Through Lead For America's name-brand recognition, graduate schools continue to seek out Fellows because of their commitment to service and demonstration of creating impact. If Fellows pursue graduate school, LFA has several partnerships with leading public service graduate institutions that provide tuition scholarships to LFA alumni.
The Lead For America fellowship is a one-year AmeriCorps national service program, meaning our Fellows become AmeriCorps members and enjoy the benefits of this incredible opportunity.
As an AmeriCorps member, Fellows receive:
AmeriCorps Segal Education Award worth $6,345 and available upon successful completion of your first (or second) year of the fellowship. Can be used for future schooling or to repay qualified student loans.
Student loan forbearance for qualified student loans.
Health insurance reimbursements: basic health, vision and dental coverage.
Partial childcare reimbursements.
Learn more here on AmeriCorps benefits.
AmeriCorps is a national service program that brings together people of all ages and backgrounds to serve their communities.
AmeriCorps helps activate more than 80,000 Americans in intensive service each year at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country. Since the program’s founding in 1994, over 1 million AmeriCorps members have contributed more than 1.4 billion hours in service across America while tackling pressing issues and mobilizing more than 2.3 million volunteers for the organizations they serve. As a Lead For America Fellow, you will join this national network of AmeriCorps servicemembers!