Obama Foundation Fellowship FAQ
About the application process
Q:What is the timeline for the 2020 Fellowship selection?
Applications for the 2020 Fellows program will open in mid-September.
Q:When will the 2020 Fellows class be announced?
We will announce the new class of Obama Foundation Fellows in May 2020. You can meet the current Fellows here.
Q: How often do you accept applications?
We will select a Fellowship class every year.
Q:If I’m not chosen, can I apply again during a future round?
Absolutely! We’d be happy to review later applications from applicants who have advanced their work.
About the program
Q: What is included in the Fellowship?
- Guidance in developing a personalized Fellowship roadmap to help you get the most out of the program
- Ongoing skill-building and training courses tailored to your particular needs
- Individual coaching and mentoring to help you move your work forward
- Participation in a global cohort of leaders poised to change the civic engagement landscape
- Exposure to opportunities provided by other Foundation programming, such as mentorship roles and speaking engagements
- Participation in four gatherings (including economy airfare to/from the event, lodging, and all meals during the events)
Q: What is the time commitment?
The Fellowship is not a full-time commitment, but active and engaged participation is key to creating a meaningful Fellowship experience. Fellows commit to:
- Participating in the full programming of the four Fellowship gatherings
- Devoting a few hours each month to ongoing training and programming
- Sharing responsibility for creating a supportive, collaborative community of Fellows
- Collaborating with the Foundation throughout the Fellowship to evaluate and refine the program for future classes
- Contributing their leadership, creativity, and voice to other Foundation programs. We’re looking for Fellows who are eager to explore the roles they can play in the broader ecosystem of the Foundation — whether serving as mentors, facilitating local trainings, or writing about their work for a wider audience.
Q: Will Fellows be paid a stipend?
Fellows will not be paid a stipend at this time.
Q: Do I need to move somewhere to be a Fellow?
Fellows are not asked to move anywhere to participate in the Fellowship program. However, there will be four occasions where they will be asked to travel for in-person gatherings.
Q: What eligibility requirements does the Fellowship have?
We cannot choose applicants who are:
- Under 18
- Current participants in other Obama Foundation programming
- Candidates for a political office chosen through a partisan election, either now or during the Fellowship term
- Working for 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(6) organizations
For more information on our eligibility requirements, please participate in our Eligibility Quiz.
Q: How does the Foundation accommodate applicants and Fellows with disabilities?
It’s important to us that applicants with disabilities can fully participate in our process. The Foundation will provide reasonable accommodations deemed necessary for qualified applicants and Fellows to participate in the selection process and in the Fellowship. If you are a qualified applicant and require a reasonable accommodation to complete the application, please contact our team here.
Q: Is English proficiency required?
Yes, Fellows must be fluent in spoken and written English as all programming is conducted in English.
Q: Do I need to be a US citizen?
No. We’re looking for a diverse group of Fellows from all over the world.
Q: Is there an age requirement?
Applicants must be 18 or older. We’re looking for participants who are at a “tipping point” stage in their careers, rather than those who fit a particular age requirement.
Q: Do I need to cover the costs of travel for the Fellowship gatherings?
The Foundation covers transportation and accommodation for the in-person convenings. While we can provide support in procuring visas, Fellows are responsible for covering any visa costs.
Q: Do I need to belong to the Democratic Party of the US or maintain a particular political affiliation?
The Obama Foundation is a non-partisan, non-political entity. The Fellowship is not affiliated with any political party or entity, and is guided by the personal values of President and Mrs. Obama, including a belief in the importance of reaching across ideological differences to find common ground and pursue innovative approaches to public problems. As such, we’re looking for Fellows who bring a diverse set of political opinions and perspectives to the program.
Q: I’m not ready to apply for the Fellowship, but I still want to participate in Foundation programming. How can I get involved?
The Obama Foundation Fellowship is just one part of the Obama Foundation’s programs. Follow along for updates on our program offerings here.
Q: Can groups, co-founders, or pairs apply?
We select individuals, not groups or pairs, to participate in the program.
Q:I have a lot of great ideas on how I can change my community, but I haven’t put them into action yet. Am I still eligible to apply?
The Fellowship program lifts up the work of civic innovators who have already shown meaningful impact in their communities. If you’re still in the process of developing your great idea or vision, and haven’t yet put your ideas into action, then this Fellowship may not be the right fit for you.