The Obama Foundation Fellowship program seeks to support outstanding civic innovators from around the world in order to amplify the impact of their work and to inspire a wave of civic innovation.
The Obama Foundation Fellows will be a diverse set of community-minded rising stars – organizers, inventors, artists, entrepreneurs, journalists, and more – who are altering the civic engagement landscape. By engaging their fellow citizens to work together in new and meaningful ways, Obama Foundation Fellows will model how any individual can become an active citizen in their community.
The inaugural class of 20 Fellows will be integral to shaping the program and the community of Fellows for future years. For this first class, the fellowship is seeking participants who are especially excited about helping to design, test, and refine the Fellowship.
The two-year, non-residential Fellowship will offer hands-on training, resources, and leadership development. Fellows will also participate in four multi-day gatherings where they will collaborate with each other, connect with potential partners, and collectively push their work forward. Throughout the program, each Fellow will pursue a personalized plan to leverage Fellowship resources to take their work to the next level.
The Fellowship is looking for individuals who are working to solve important public problems in creative and powerful ways. The Fellowship is inspired by a broad vision of what it means to be “civic,” one that includes leaders tackling a range of issues, in both traditional and unconventional ways.
Applicants of Diverse Disciplines
The Fellowship needs people working from all angles and with different perspectives to strengthen our communities and civic life. This Fellowship is for organizers, inventors, artists, entrepreneurs, journalists, and more. It is for those working within systems like governments or businesses, as well as those working outside of formal institutions.
Applicants at the tipping point in their work
Successful applicants must have already demonstrated meaningful impact in their communities, gaining recognition among their peers for their contributions. Now, they stand at a breakthrough moment in their careers. They’re poised to use the Fellowship to significantly advance their work, perhaps by launching new platforms, expanding to broader audiences, or taking their work to a national or global stage. If you’ve already gained global recognition for your work or if your civic innovation work has just begun, you may not be the ideal candidate for this program.
Applicants who are talented, but not connected
The Fellowship is committed to expanding the circle of opportunity to include new and varied voices. Thus, there is a strong preference for civic innovators who are not currently connected to the networks and resources they need to advance their work. If you’re not sure whether you fit this description, feel free to apply — and make sure to articulate how the resources of the Fellowship would uniquely impact your work.
The Fellowship is building an authentic community. A strong moral character is essential for the strength of this community, the integrity of the program, and the longevity of its value. The Fellowship is seeking inspirational individuals who demonstrate humility and work collaboratively with others towards shared goals.
Keep it brief and real: The application fields have been kept short in order to encourage answers that are straightforward and authentic. The Fellowship is looking for writing that distills what’s important to you.
Don’t be afraid to brag: While it can feel uncomfortable to put yourself in the spotlight, the Fellowship needs to know why you are the right candidate for the Fellowship by hearing about your work, your impact, and your personal connection to your community.
Save your work: Please note that you cannot save your application. It is strongly recommend you draft your application responses offline. Once your application answers and video are ready for submission, you can revisit the site and submit your application in one sitting.
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