The Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowship is an 11-month leadership development program that trains, inspires, and sustains a network of leaders committed to social justice.
Emerson Hunger Fellows gain practical experience fighting hunger and poverty through field placements in community-based organizations across the country, as well as policy experience through placements in Washington, D.C. Fellows also explore the root causes of hunger and poverty in a peer learning community. The Emerson program bridges community-based efforts with national public policy to develop Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellows as effective leaders in the movement to end hunger and poverty.
Each year 18-22 participants are selected from across the country for this year long program. They assemble in Washington, D.C. in August for a comprehensive orientation and field training, where they learn about hunger, poverty, and racism in the United States and strategies for social change.
Fellows are placed for half the year with community-based organizations involved in fighting hunger and poverty at the local level, such as food banks, anti-hunger advocacy groups, food policy councils, research institutions, and state and local government agencies. Each host organization identifies specific goals and outcomes for the Fellows’ projects and provides the supervision and resources necessary to accomplish them.
In mid-February, the Fellows regroup in Washington, D.C. to share and reflect on their field experiences and participate in an extensive policy training.
Fellows then work in national nonprofit organizations and federal government agencies that develop, implement, and advocate for policies that address hunger and its root causes, including racism. During their time in D.C., Fellows complete research, outreach, advocacy, and public education projects that support national policy initiatives.
Throughout the year, the Fellows develop a strong learning community for reflection, resource sharing, and skill building that supports their field and policy work and their leadership development.
· Commitment to ending hunger and its root causes
· Commitment to racial equity and social justice
· Demonstrated leadership qualities and skills
· Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
· Flexibility and ability to adjust to new situations
· Creativity and initiative in problem solving
· Enthusiasm for learning from experts in the field, and searching for new models in anti-hunger and anti-poverty work
· Experience working in low-income communities
· Excitement about peer learning in a tight-knit community of Fellows
· U.S. citizenship or permanent legal residency
The Congressional Hunger Center establishes Fellow financial packages based on location, taking into consideration the field and policy site location cost of living. (One resource the Hunger Center considers when setting financial packages is this Living Wage calculator.) Typically, Fellows receive financial packages in the range of $38,000 to $43,000 over the duration of the fellowship. Fellows serve as Independent Consultants; they must secure and finance their own health insurance, and are responsible for saving for and paying their own taxes, as no taxes are withheld from Fellow pay.
Emerson Fellows also gain:
· Membership in a dynamic learning community of Fellows
· Connection to an extensive network of alumni, partners, and experts
· Experience working with community and policy leaders
· Training / mentoring / leadership development
· Project management experience
How to Apply:
Before you start your application, please read the Emerson Fellowship Application Guide. Applications to the Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowship will be accepted online only. The deadline for applications is Monday Jan. 11, 2021.
· October 16, 2020: Application opens
· January 11, 2021: Application deadline for the 27th Class of Emerson Fellows
· January – February 2021: A selection committee of Emerson Fellow alums reviews all applications; Hunger Center staff select semi-finalists
· February 2021: Semi-finalists invited to online one-on-one interviews
· March 2021: Finalists invited to online group interviews
· March – May 2021: Fellows are selected and notified of acceptance on a rolling basis.
· Early June 2021: Fellows notified of field placements
· Late August 2021: 27th Class arrives in Washington, D.C. for orientation and field training