The heart and soul of our program
... are public-serving institutions like yours. Whether you're a local or tribal government, a non-profit, or a business working to strengthen communities through robust collaboration with public institutions, we know that you are working hard every day to provide essential services to your community. But we also know this is a time in which our cities and towns are rife with polarization, are confronting massive challenges, and are facing a dwindling bench of leaders.
We can help. Our Fellows see public service as a calling. Through their Fellowship they 1) work full-time in their hosting institution to tackle tough community challenges, 2) recruit other leaders to the region to strengthen the civic ecosystem, and 3) continue to support the community after the end of their paid fellowship term. Hosting a Fellow is a sound investment for your organization in the immediacy, but it's also a bet on the future of your community and our country. We hope you'll join us.
"Our Fellow provides rational descriptions to the impacts and proposes potential solutions for discussion. He represents new and creative thinking and brings an intellect that is critical for the future."
— Scott Erbisch,
Marquette County Administrator
"With the ability to take a creative and unique approach to issues in this area, our Fellow possesses skills to make an impact."
— Michelle Akers, Southwestern Regional Day Report Center, Boone County, WV
Welcome Diverse, Trained Talent
Fellows possess extraordinary integrity, drive, and commitment to public service. Each has access to a variety of mentors, trainings and conferences. Fellows receive a world-class training in public administration from faculty at UNC Chapel Hill, Harvard, Tufts, Georgetown, BU and other top schools, helping bolster their ability to contribute.
Address Immediate Workforce Challenges
Our training is designed to make our Fellows real contributors in your organization from the start. You should challenge the Fellows to tackle significant, tough problems. For outstanding host organizations that cannot pay for the full cost of the Fellow's scholarship, we may be able to work with your organization to raise funds through community philanthropies.
Make a Long-Term Investment
Fellows are encouraged to work with partners in the community, including public institutions, small businesses and community-based non-profits for four of the next seven years. Some will also be helping mentor, teach, or otherwise engage high school students. Fellows are selected for their demonstrated commitment to the community or region.
Connect With Civically-Minded Organizations
We believe it is important that we connect our host institutions and organizational partners to one another. As such, all hosts are invited to join our online community of forward-thinking community organizations. All hosts will also benefit from the resources of our university partners.
What We Look For
Challenging + Engaging Work
Fellows are dynamic, industrious and well-trained. We want to see proposals for interesting work and projects that would really move the needle for your community. The work must be directly related to strengthening and supporting civic institutions in your community.
Click name to see project scope
Oljato Chapter Navajo Nations
Monument Valley, UT
Developmental Disabilities Council
Atlanta Regional Commission
Deputy City Manager,
City of Stockton
— Christian Clegg, Deputy City Manager Stockton, CA
“We’ve had an outstanding experience with our Fellow. Due to LFA’s rigorous vetting and training components, our Fellow is a very capable individual with a serious commitment to public service. They are delivering work beyond our expectations with a thoughtful approach to assignments coupled by meaningful work experience. This not only makes for a valuable professional opportunity for the Fellow, but also very intentional and quality work for the City.”
Interested in Hosting?
Frequently asked questions
How do you choose host organizations for the Hometown Fellowship?
How do you choose host organizations for the Lead For North Carolina and Lead For Minnesota fellowships?
Lead For North Carolina and Lead For Minnesota work closely with state-based local government associations, nonprofit leaders, and academic experts to identify community organizations that have the potential to be excellent Fellow hosts. Then, the LFNC and LFMN teams finalize host organization selection by evaluating through the lens of two central questions: how much of an impact would a Fellow make in the proposed role, and how much would the Fellow grow as a transformational civic leader in the proposed role? Host organizations are expected to show that they will create a dynamic, innovative, and highly important role for the Fellow, while also providing a supportive environment of active mentorship, community engagement, and intellectual cultivation.
How much does the program cost?
Who employs the Fellows?
For all legal purposes, the Fellow is not an employee or a contractor of Lead for America nor of the host organization. The Fellow is paid via scholarships from LFA per the rules of the IRS Fellowship classification due to the educational purpose of the program. Simply, host organizations provide financial contributions to LFA, and LFA provides the scholarship funds directly to the Fellows.
What is the time frame of the Fellowship?
2020 Fellows will begin in their placements in August of 2020 and serve for two years through July 2022.