Announcing Our Nonprofit and Public Interest Policy Fellowship

The Aspen Institute’s Tech Policy Hub is thrilled to announce the launch of our Nonprofit and Public Interest Policy Training Fellowship. This year, rather than a traditional fellowship cohort focused on recruiting individuals, we’re piloting our Nonprofit and Public Interest Fellowship to support public interest organizations in achieving policy impact. The program will consist of two blocks: 1) a mandatory full-time policy bootcamp that teaches participants the basics of policymaking, including practical exercises; and 2) an optional final project. The policy bootcamp will tentatively run July 10-July 28, 2023, in person in the Bay Area. Fellows will have the option to take advantage of Hub staff support and work part-time and remotely on a final project from July 31-September 15, 2023.

NEW! Admitted organizations will be given the opportunity to pitch a project at the completion of the bootcamp, and the nonprofit with the best project will receive up to $50,000 to support that work. Applications are now due on April 27 to give all interested organizations the opportunity to apply.

This program is for US-based organizations working in the public interest – for instance, nonprofits, public benefit corporations, unions, or university centers – that want to build a capacity to change policy. To be eligible, your organization (or the unit within your organization that is applying) must not currently employ any policy or government relations staff or lobbyists and must have at least one leader available to join us as a fellow for 3 weeks in the Bay Area. We will prioritize admitting organizations focused on science, technology, cybersecurity, or a related field. We will also prioritize organizations that work directly with communities who face marginalization and/or that seek to tackle disparities around race and ethnicity, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, and other aspects of diversity. In the application, organizations will be asked to denote an organizational leader to participate in the fellowship program.

The mandatory bootcamp will include an orientation introducing fellows to the fellowship and the policymaking process; classes exploring what policy is, how to identify problems, how to define alternatives, how to develop relevant outputs, and how to communicate to stakeholders; and action-oriented practical exercises, such as ‘how to write a policy memo’ or ‘how to give an elevator pitch’, founded on real world problems provided by our partners.

In the optional part-time final project, fellows also will have the opportunity either to develop an advocacy plan for their organization, or to take on a substantive policy project in which they create at least one practical policy output—for instance, mock regulations, toolkits for policymakers, white papers, op-eds, or an app. We expect organizations to commit a minimum of 8-10 hours a week for this project phase if they choose to participate.

Participating organizations will be paid a $6,000 honoraria to defray costs of their leader participating in the in-person fellowship (e.g., food and lodging). Out of town participants will also receive a small stipend to cover travel to the Bay Area. If space permits, organizations may be able to send a second leader to the policy bootcamp free of charge. 

Hub staff will host informational webinars on March 23, April 5, and April 11, 2023. See here to register.