20 Fellowships for Racial Equity

Jan 16, 2023
A picture of the Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial statue in Washington, D.C. on a beautiful day with a bright blue sky smattered with wispy clouds.
Code2040 Fellows spend the summer at top tech companies, participate in a series of career-building sessions, and engage in racial equity advocacy work in the tech industry. © James Byard/123RF.COM

Last updated January, 15, 2024

In the spirit of creating a more equitable society and finer world, many industries have been working on advancing racial equity by diversifying their talent pools and tackling some of the most challenging problems facing society. Through programs like the fellowships listed below, you can have an impact on issues affecting communities across the globe. Whether these experiences are creating opportunities for underrepresented groups or working to solve specific problems, all have the mission of pursuing progress and promoting justice.

The following list contains opportunities to engage in racial equity work across a variety of sectors, including law, tech, government, and public service, as well as opportunities to collaborate with others to drive widespread social change.

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“Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

1. Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity

The Fellows program recruits 20 high-impact leaders from South Africa and the United States to participate in an immersive, dialogue-based program based at Columbia University and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The experience includes virtual and in-person sessions in South Africa and the United States through which Fellows share experiences, build connections and networks, and create and test new strategies for social change. Fellows also develop projects whilst receiving a stipend, coaching and other supports to enhance their development. There are no academic qualifications required to apply.

2. CEO Action for Racial Equity Fellowship

The Fellowship is the largest business-led initiative aimed at advancing racial equity through public policy. To drive sustainable and systemic change, our Fellows work closely with community organizations, subject matter specialists, NGOs, public and private foundations and policy makers at the local, state and federal level. The program seeks diverse backgrounds, skillsets and perspectives, from data specialists to lawyers to human resources professionals to government relations. Any tenured employee may be sponsored to participate from 50% part-time to 100% full-time for at least one year. There is no cost to a signatory to participate separate from providing all compensation and benefits to their sponsored employees.

3. Code2040 Fellows Program

As a Code2040 Fellow, you’ll spend your summer in an intensive career accelerator for 9 weeks between June and August. Students intern at top tech companies, participate in a series of career-building sessions and engage in racial equity advocacy work. To be eligible, applicants must: Be undergraduate or graduate students planning to return to school in the fall semester following the internship, have experience coding, attend a U.S. college or university, demonstrate leadership potential, self-identify as Black and/or Latinx, and be interested in advocating for racial equity in the tech industry.

4. Federal Fellowship for Racial Equity

The Federal Fellowship for Racial Equity is designed to place racial equity experts in federal agencies to help ensure systemic justice for marginalized communities. This fellowship invites experienced individuals from academia, nonprofit organizations, or state and local government, to work in a federal agency on priority programs and projects for up to two years. Federal fellowships will be focused on racial equity priorities and initiatives in service to the administration’s executive order. Fellows will gain unique public service knowledge and experience without having to leave their current field or maneuver a long-term career change.

5. FUSE Executive Fellows

FUSE Executive Fellows are mid-career professionals who are committed to racial equity, have 15+ years of private sector experience, and are looking to transition their careers for greater social impact. Executive Fellows are embedded in a government agency full-time for one year. FUSE works closely with government and community partners to co-create fellowship projects based on their highest priority challenges. Executive Fellows receive a salary of $80,000 and have access to a range of benefit options. Fellowships are announced on a rolling basis throughout the year. Please check the website regularly for updates about projects and timelines.

Interested in the FUSE Executive Fellows program? Read our interviews with Fuse Executive Fellows Wilford Pinkney, Jr. and Sean Doss. In each, they share their background, fellowship experience, and application tips.

6. Greenlining Institute Leadership Academy Fellowship Program

The Greenlining Institute – Leadership Academy Fellowship is an 11-month professional development program for emerging social justice leaders taking the lead on race equity work, and advocating for change on a systemic level. Fellows are assigned to specific policy teams and hone their expertise by working with Greenlining staff on critical issues impacting our communities. Leadership Academy Fellows are passionate about working towards an equitable and just future for communities of color. Fellows are propelled by today’s political climate to engage in racial equity work and join a diverse, multicultural cohort that values and celebrates inclusivity.

Interested in the Greenlining Institute Leadership Academy Fellowship? Read our interviews with Greenling Institute Fellows Vinhcent Le and Danielle Beavers. In them, they share their background, fellowship experience, and application tips.

7. Kairos Fellowship

The Kairos Fellowship Equity Cohort is an eight-month paid on-the-job training program for emerging leaders of color in the field of civic technology. Kairos will match and place 15 fellows at leading national and state organizations where Fellows will work mostly on issue advocacy campaigns on the federal and state level. Fellows will receive hands-on training, mentorship, and an eight-month paid online campaigner apprenticeship. The program is designed to teach you the unique strategic framework and pillars of digital campaigns, which are rooted in racial and gender justice. Candidates must possess deep ties to communities of color.

8. Marshall-Motley Scholars Program

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) offers Marshall-Motley Scholars Program (MMSP) invests in populating, developing, and enriching the field of civil rights lawyers committed to racial justice. The program is for incoming law students pursuing a traditional 3-year law degree who intend to pursue a career in Civil Rights Law and are committed to racial justice. The Fellows program offers a full law school scholarship for tuition, room, board, and incidentals to alleviate the debt burden that can prevent future lawyers from pursuing a career in racial justice; summer internships at LDF and other national civil rights organizations; and a two-year postgraduate fellowship at a national, regional, or local civil rights organization with a racial justice law practice in the South.

9. National Urban Fellows

The National Urban Fellows (NUF) program is a rigorous, 14-month, full-time graduate degree program and leadership accelerator for early to mid-career BIPOC professionals committed to racial equity and social impact. In addition to fully-funded graduate education, Fellows gain ongoing personal and professional development. They also receive a $25,000 stipend distributed over the 14 months of the program, along with reimbursements for health care, books, and relocation expenses. Fellows also receive travel and lodging at NUF’s annual leadership conference in January. Check the website for an early deadline.

Interested in the National Urban Fellows program? Read our interview with National Urban Fellow Robin Selwitz. In it, she shares her background, fellowship experience, and application tips.

10. Next Generation Fellowship

The Next Generation Fellowship (NGF) is a leadership development and policy advocacy training for formerly incarcerated or justice-involved individuals from across California. It supports emerging leaders in 1) advancing racial justice and cultural healing, and 2) influencing state and local government through policy advocacy. The fellowship focuses on the movement to end mass incarceration with an emphasis on promoting healthy, safe communities. NGF prioritizes racial equity, cultural healing, and building the people power necessary to end the carceral system’s harm.

11. Open Society Foundations Soros Equality Fellowship

The Soros Equality Fellowship seeks to support individual leaders with 10+ years of work experience who are influencing the racial justice field. The aim of the Fellowship is to provide a space to incubate new ideas, promote risk-taking, and develop different ways of thinking that challenge and expand our existing assumptions. A successful project should identify a challenge and propose a critical intervention that will meaningfully address the systems that reinforce inequities and discrimination in the United States. Applicants must be able to devote at least 35 hours per week to the project if awarded a Fellowship. Applicants may be based outside the U.S., provided their work directly pertains to a U.S. racial justice issue and is able to demonstrate proficiency in spoken and written English.

12. Othering & Belonging Institute Summer Fellowship

The Othering & Belonging Institute Summer Fellowship is a three-month-long, part-time, 20-hour/week paid research experience. The purpose of the fellowship is to prepare and engage with the next generation of researchers and future community leaders who are committed to social and racial justice by providing mentorship and hands-on experience. In addition to independent work on assigned summer projects, fellows will explore pressing social justice issues as a cohort by participating in bi-weekly workshops and collaboratively organizing a local field trip to engage with issues and stakeholders in the field. The fellowship runs from mid-May to mid-August every year and takes place at the Othering & Belonging Institute office on the UC Berkeley campus.

13. Piton Fellowship: Mid-Career Cohort

With a strong focus on justice, racial equity, diversity, and inclusion, the Piton Fellowship Mid-Career Cohort is a 5-month fellowship that helps Denver-based leaders of color who are at least 10 years into their careers explore new paths of leadership. Fellows will deeply engage in individual and collective work to expand their knowledge and understanding of key issues faced by communities of color throughout metro Denver. While fellows will gain collective benefits from being part of the Piton network, each fellow will also have the opportunity to get personalized coaching to guide them along their unique journeys of impact.

14. Racial Equity in Homelessness Fellowship

The Racial Equity in Homelessness Fellowship is a 9-month experience for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) leaders in the Homeless Response Sector across Los Angeles County who are committed to racial equity and justice. The Racial Equity Fellows spend time building relationships with each other, connecting to larger questions around racial equity and homelessness, and creating a framework for centering equity and inclusion within the workplace. The fellow will receive executive coaching and mentorship, a $2,500 stipend, and other benefits.

15. Racial Justice Fellowship Program for Graduate Students

The University of California, Santa Barbara offers a Racial Justice Fellowship program designed to help recruit students whose research and teaching interests, mentoring experiences, and/or other demonstrated commitments are focused on racial justice. The Divisional Deans and the Graduate Division support the Racial Justice Fellowship. The Racial Justice Fellowship is open to incoming graduate students in any discipline. The Racial Justice Fellowship gives awardees a stipend of $8,000 for the first three summers following each academic year.

16. Technology & Racial Equity Graduate Fellowship

The Center for Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity (CCSRE) is continuing a graduate fellowship program designed to create a supportive community of graduate students working to advance racial equity in and through technology, public-facing collaborative projects that expand the understanding of racial equity, and technology, an interdisciplinary space to workshop graduate student research. The fellowship will foster collaboration between engineers researching technical systems and social scientists, humanists, and others researching the power and politics that shape society. The fellowship is open to all graduate students at Stanford. Each student will receive $1000 per quarter.

17. The Equity Lab Nexus Fellowship

The Nexus Fellowship is designed intentionally to provide equal benefits to individual fellows and their organizations. By the completion of the fellowship, each fellow will be equipped to serve as a nexus for long-term, sustainable change within their organizations and their individual lives. Each of The Nexus Fellowship’s four-weeklong residencies provides expert training focused on four key areas: self, adaptive leadership, technical leadership, and the equityXdesign process. Support in the form of dedicated coaching, a virtual learning community, modules, and resources is included.

18. WKKF Community Leadership Network Fellowship

WKKF Community Leadership Network fellows will spend 3 years enhancing leadership skills and sharing their experiences as a cohort of developing leaders. We are looking for existing or emerging leaders who can be transformative social change agents in their communities so that vulnerable children and their families can achieve optimal health and well-being, academic achievement, and financial security. Fellows will meet quarterly on an annual basis – once as a full class and three times within their place-based cohorts. The $60,000 three-year grant is inclusive of a stipend, support for learning opportunities, and travel to required seminars. The fellowship supports both emerging and existing leaders in the foundation’s four U.S. priority places – Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, and New Orleans. It also supports a national cohort of leaders focused on racial equity.

19. Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Fellowships

The CBCF Congressional Fellowship Program equips early-career policy professionals who are committed to contributing to public policy with the necessary skills to become the next generation of leaders in public service. The program is an intensive 12-month policy training and leadership development program which enables fellows to receive hands-on public policy training as full-time legislative aides and policy analysts. CBCF fellowship types include Congressional Fellowships, John R. Lewis National Racial Equity Initiative Social Justice Fellowships, and Research Fellowships. Fellows are paid an annual salary plus benefits. Participants must reside in or relocate to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

20. National Equity Atlas Fellowship

The National Equity Atlas Fellowship is a year-long program that provides intensive, hands-on data training and support to leaders of color in communities across the United States who are advocating for equity-focused policy solutions. The fellows will develop data visualizations and products for advocacy campaigns focused on advancing policy and systems change. The fellowship is open to people of color who are currently employed by community-based organizations that are working to increase racial and economic equity by advancing policy solutions and systems-level transformation. Organizations will receive a $7,500 stipend to support their fellow’s participation in the program.

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