Lead for America is now accepting applications for the 2022 Fellowship cohort. *The LFA Fellowship can be located in any city, there is no location restriction. See below for more details.
Who We Are
Lead For America (LFA) is a national nonprofit that helps outstanding young people become civic leaders and address the tough challenges facing their communities. LFA seeks to direct homegrown talent where it’s needed most — in towns and counties where challenges outpace resources available — often in rural and under-resourced communities. Through their flagship two-year paid Fellows program, LFA has funded and placed over 215 Fellows in over 100 communities and 35 states in newly created positions in Fellow home communities since 2019.
The Lead For America Fellowship is a launching pad for a lifelong commitment to public service in a community that Fellows call home. This begins with a one-year AmeriCorps Service term where Fellows are placed within a local organization (e.g. nonprofit, government, service-minded organization) to serve in a full-time, paid position addressing critical community challenges. Fellows can renew their fellowship for an additional one-year term, or receive support while pursuing the next step in their civic leadership journey.
During the Fellowship, all Fellows receive five weeks of leadership and community-building training from leading partners that have previously included the Harvard Kennedy School, Urban Rural Action, and the UNC School of Government. Additionally, Fellows conduct a community Listening Tour to better understand the local landscape of challenge and possibility. Fellows have the option to build on their listening tours by creating a project they lead, called a Community Venture, to address those challenges.
Altogether, Fellows build lifelong relationships with their cohort and mentors and join the hundreds of changemakers in the LFA nationwide network. At the conclusion of the fellowship, Fellows have access to LFA’s graduate school scholarship partners and can receive support from LFA to continue their locally-rooted impact.
What is the National Hometown Fellowship (Applicant-led)?
Lead For America has two different fellowship tracks: the National Hometown Fellowship (applicant-led) and pre-confirmed placements. The applicant-led process can be thought of as a “create your own” fellowship opportunity. Candidates apply to serve any community in the country where they have a strong connection and have a deep passion for the type of change they want to create. If selected, LFA works with you to secure a local organization to host your fellowship.
However, it should be noted that even if you apply to be a National Hometown Fellow (Applicant-Led), you can still be a part of a State Affiliate Program or Challenge-Based Track. For instance, if you apply to serve in Minnesota to work on public health, you can gain the added training and experience of being a member of Lead For Minnesota and our Public Health Equity Corps! To clarify, your Fellowship Type (Applicant-Led or Host-Led) doesn’t limit which Fellowship Pathway you join.
Click here to learn more about the different Fellowship Pathways.
What Are the Responsibilities of a National Hometown Fellow?
- Placement and Project Scope: Fellows are placed with a local institution (nonprofit, local government, service-driven organization) to add capacity with tackling a community-identified “critical challenge”. By working within these institutions, Fellows will gain access to resources and develop an understanding of the key roles that they can play in growing & sustaining a vibrant community.
- Listening Tour + Community Venture: Fellows conduct a Listening Tour of their community to identify areas where their unique talents and passions can serve greater community needs. Fellows then have the option to create a project they lead, called a Community Venture, to address the critical challenges identified during their listening tours. Lead For America supports Fellows’ Community Ventures by helping them develop a project strategy and offering initial seed funding to get started. Lead For America can also help Fellows connect with strategic funders and mentors.
- Multiplier Effect: Fellows will identify emerging opportunities for their communities and mobilize community members to seize those opportunities. Fellows also help recruit additional young leaders to return, move to, or become activated to serve in their home community.
What is the application process for the National Hometown Fellowship?
- Submit your application. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, so you will hear if you are moving forward within a few weeks of your submission.
- Semi-Finalist – Submit a Personal Narrative Video. Submit a short 3-5 minute video detailing your personal story and call to service.
- Finalist – 30 Minute Interview. This is the final stage of the application process, where you will be interviewed by a panel of Lead For America staff members and alumni.
- Endorsed Finalist – Match with a Host. As an Endorsed Finalist, you have been selected by LFA to become a Fellow within our 2022 cohort! We then work with you to identify and contact at least three potential host organizations in their community. For each interested host organization, LFA and the Endorsed Finalist will work to, (1) build/confirm a project scope, and (2) secure funding.
- Confirmed Fellow. Once your host organization is confirmed on both sides, you will officially be named a Fellow. Overall, this is a challenging process that offers Endorsed Finalists the benefit and opportunity to be creative and entrepreneurial in co-creating their fellowship experience.
It is important to note that some Endorsed Finalists are not able to secure a host organization based on available funding or a lack of interest from potential hosts. In this case, Endorsed Finalists become highly competitive candidates for any pre-confirmed sites that open on January 10th, 2022.
Who is the ideal National Hometown Fellowship candidate?
LFA National Hometown Fellows are deeply committed to place, specifically where they call ‘home’. Great candidates want to serve the community, or communities, that helped make them who they are. They plan on making a long-term commitment so their success story can be a reality for others too.
National Hometown Fellows candidates are creative and success-driven. Candidates are co-creators of their fellowship experience, working with LFA to create a project scope, identify potential host organizations, and pitch the fellowship to those possible hosts. This process requires a strong entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to share your vision of change.
Ideal candidates are willing and excited to work with others, especially those who come from different backgrounds and hold different beliefs than them. Ultimately, the ideal LFA Fellow is dedicated to tackling the critical challenges in their community.
Benefits of the National Hometown Fellowship
As a National Hometown Fellow, you will have a greater degree of influence over what your project scope looks like. Compared to pre-confirmed placements which have rigid project scopes, you will be instrumental in creating a scope that is in line with your passions and vision for your community.
Every Fellow enjoys the many benefits of the Lead For America fellowship:
- Attend the 10-day Changemaker Summit at the beginning of your Fellowship.
- Attend semi-annual retreats with your cohort.
- Participate in virtual plenary conversations.
- Access to the LFA Fellow Fund that provides for resources to attend professional skill-building events.
- Past training partners include Harvard Kennedy School, UNC School of Government, Urban Rural Action, Community Renewal International, Tisch College of Civic Life, and leaders such as Shreveport (LA) Mayor Adrian Perkins, Acting Chief Executive Officer of AmeriCorps Mal Coles, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Amanda Nguyen, and the Mayor of Ithaca (NY) Svante Myrick.
- Biweekly calls with an LFA Program Manager to ensure you are meeting your professional and personal goals.
- An Employee Assistance Program that provides legal, financial, tax, and mental health resources.
- A hand-selected, local mentor who is a leader in their field, tailored to Fellows’ personal aspirations.
- Segal AmeriCorps Education Award – Fellows will earn $6,345 in scholarship funding for every 1,700 hours of service (one program year) that can be applied to current educational expenses or to repay qualified student loans. Learn more here. Note this scholarship is taxable and a person cannot earn more than the aggregate value of two, full-time education awards.
- Alumni graduate scholarships to a growing list of top MPA and MPP schools, including the Fels Institute at the University of Pennsylvania and the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown.
- Grants of up to $5,000 for alumni to launch entrepreneurial initiatives to serve their community.
- A lifelong community of some of the most talented, passionate, and dynamic changemakers in the country.
About Lead For America
Lead For America believes that building stronger communities, and a stronger America, starts by serving and leading, where you live. We exist to ensure that our nation’s most dynamic and diverse leaders are working on our communities’ toughest challenges.
Learn More & Contact Us
To learn more about the fellowship program or LFA, please see here.
If you do not see an email from LFA after submitting your registration in the LFA application portal, please check your spam folder.
You can also contact: email@example.com with general inquires.