Meet the 2020 Fellows
Lead For Minnesota
... are the next generation of Minnesota's locally-rooted, systems-oriented changemakers. LFMN Fellows return to their hometown, region, or state to strengthen our public institutions, revitalize our local communities, and cultivate the next bench of transformational civic leaders. They bring added capacity to resource-strapped communities - particularly rural, tribal, and economically distressed urban neighborhoods - often working at the intersection of key "magic wand" interventions that, with added capacity and talent, would transform the community.
We look for Fellows who are committed to building a more just, prosperous, and caring Minnesota for all. Who are eager to build a relational foundation of care to drive their service in Minnesota communities. Who are inspired to plan from the future. Who see their communities from places of abundance over scarcity. Who are ready to catalyze change. Who have a genuine excitement to co-create and be part of a larger movement of "homecoming" - particularly to places where the narrative of success so often means "leaving and never coming back."
Fellows agree to serve 4 out of the next 7 years in a role that centers their community’s wellbeing. You can apply for a pre-confirmed host site, or suggest your own. Check back in November 2020 for a list of 2021 pre-confirmed host sites.
Co-Created Project Scope
Each Fellow's Project Scope is generated by the local community and adapted to take advantage of the Fellow's unique skills, passions, and talents. Fellowship applicants can initiate project scope and hosting conversations with a potential host in their hometown, and therein co-design a unique project scope that activates the passions of the Fellow as well as respond to a significant challenge facing the community. In pre-confirmed placements, Fellows work on community challenges specifically crafted by the Host Community for the purpose of the fellowship, and is further refined through a joint Envisioning Meeting between the Host and Fellow
Entrepreneurial Community Venture
Fellows conduct a Listening Tour of their community within the first quarter of their Fellowship, which inspires them to launch a Community Venture that is led by the Fellow and supported by community leaders. The Venture can be tangential to their Project Scope, or completely different. Fellows receive mentorship, inspiration, and model play-books from the LFA network to kickstart, implement, finance, and sustain their own Venture. Though localized to specific contexts, every Venture is designed with the aim of building relational and civic capacity within their community. Across the Project Scope and Community Venture, Fellows are empowered to do meaningful, imaginative, and transformative work.
By Year 2 of the Fellowship, each Fellow is expected to recruit an additional 5-10 young leaders to return, move to, or become activated to serve in their home community. This can look like attracting additional young leaders to apply for the Fellowship, get involved in your Community Venture, take on a full-time employment role in your community, bring their business to your town, etc.
Compensation + Financial Accessibility
Fellows receive a monthly scholarship that is calibrated to their community's average cost of living. LFMN anchors the base monthly scholarship off of the AmeriCorps Living Allowance guidelines per county. On top of the Living Allowance, Fellows are also guaranteed housing and health insurance. Opportunity for additional financial aid is available on a case-by-case basis. LFMN is also actively pursuing opportunities to provide education loan forbearance and financial awards to go towards loan repayment or future study.
Training + Education
Fellows receive training that grounds the fellowship in the relational foundation of community renewal & innovation. The Catalyst Institute partners with higher-ed institutions Harvard Kennedy School, Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts, the University of Minnesota Morris, Crookston, and Twin Cities - the Humphrey School and College of Design, and White Earth Tribal College. They receive technical & mentorship support from faculty and community organizations like Rethos MN Main Street, Dept. of Public Transformation & Voices for Rural Resilience. Each region focuses on a pillar of LFA's Convergent Leadership model, equipping Fellows with the conceptual and practical frameworks to bring to convergence the pillars of Foresight, Innovation, Service, and Justice within their change-making work.
Fellows are part of a national network and movement of bright young leaders from across the country. In addition to being together for a month of the Changemaker Summit and Catalyst Institute, they share learnings, challenges, and support one another through pod calls, retreats, fellow exchanges, and the building of lifelong friendships.
In addition, Fellows belong to the Luminary Network, an intimate community of dedicated mentors which include community development experts such as the New Localism's Bruce Katz, mayors and elected officials such as Ithaca, NY's youngest and first African American mayor Svante Myrick, Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Founder of RISE, Amanda Nguyen, and visionary social entrepreneurs like Baltimore Corps CEO Fagan Harris and Community Renewal International Founder, Mack McCarter. Mentors intimately support Fellows in launching their Community Projects, supporting the Project Scopes, and grounding Fellows in the larger call to holistic and transformative community and relational renewal.
Host sites are selected through two processes: Pre-Confirmed & Fellow-Led.
Pre-confirmed hosts are communities that have applied to be a host, developed a project scope, and confirmed preliminary funding and structure to host. LFMN then geo-targets our recruitment process to find Fellows to fill those placements. Fellow-Led placements are communities initiated by an applicant. LFMN works with the candidate and proposed host to develop a match and structure for hosting.
Click on the locations in the map below to learn more about the project scopes and host institutions in each place. Return periodically to see new sites added!
Andrea Duarte Alonso presenting at Changemaker Summit
Andrea Duarte Alonso presenting at Changemaker Summit
Suidi Hashi, Minnesota Fellow
Click on each phase for more info.
Finalist application + interview with Lead For Minnesota.
Interview + match with your host.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do I need to have experience with policy or government?
No! You don’t have to be a policy expert or a political science major to be a great Fellow—all kinds of skills can translate to success in a community organization as long as you’re ready to work hard, exercise humility, and learn on the go.
Can international residents apply?
Unfortunately, due to the hiring restrictions of many of our community partners, Lead for America may only accept U.S. citizens, nationals, or legal permanent residents for admission into the Fellowship.
Can I apply to be a Fellow if I already have a graduate degree or am in the middle of a graduate program?
Yes. Folks who have earned or are in the process of earning graduate degrees may apply for the Fellowship so long as they earned their bachelor’s degree no earlier than 2011, are between the ages of 21 and 30, and are legally authorized to work in the US. Applicants who are in the middle of a graduate degree program must be prepared to take a two-year sabbatical from their graduate studies to participate in Lead for America.
Please note: the compensation package is the same for all Fellows in a given city, regardless of whether or not they earned a graduate degree before beginning their Fellowship term.
Can I apply to work in a specific area even if it's not on the pre-confirmed site list?
Yes, if you would like to work in your hometown or have a specific reason for wanting to go to a specific location, you are welcome and encouraged to propose going there in your application. However, if you want to work for a host that Lead for America does not have a pre-existing relationship with, you will be given support by LFA to advocate for yourself to your proposed host during the Finalist and Endorsed Finalist stages of the application. A Fellow can only be confirmed when both an Endorsed Finalist and the proposed host officially approve of the match.
Can I apply to work at the state level?
Lead For America aims to cultivate outstanding recent graduates to be leaders in their hometowns or places they have strong personal connections. We believe this element of "place" is very important to help revitalize communities that struggle to retain talent because our Fellows serve as a role model for youth and others in the community to reframe the narrative of success from "leaving and never coming back" to one of serving home. For these reasons, our program generally focuses on service in local organizations (governments at the municipal, county, tribal, or COG level, or community-rooted non-profits or businesses).
However, if a candidate proposes a state-level role that has a compelling connection to a community they are strongly rooted in, exceptions may be possible.
Can I apply to multiple application cycles?
Yes! If you do not receive the fellowship during an earlier application cycle you are welcome to apply again at a later deadline, but you must fill out the application again to signal that you would like to be reconsidered.
When will I be notified if I was selected as an endorsed finalist?
Cycle 1: January 7th, 2021
Can I apply for both the hometown fellowship and a state-based fellowship (Lead For Minnestota or Lead For North Carolina)?
For those who have strong ties both to North Carolina or Minnesota as well as to another community somewhere else, we ask that, for the first round application, you choose just one fellowship track. However, if in later rounds you would like to switch your application preference to a different track, you may do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I need to have talked to my proposed host organization before submitting the first round application for the "Fellow-Led" track?
How should I send my recommendations?
What happens during the finalist interviews?
How do I know you received my application?
If you received the confirmation email, then we received your application. If you did not receive a confirmation email in your inbox or in your spam folder within 24 hours of submission, then email email@example.com letting us know.
What is the difference between an "Applicant-Led" and "Pre-Confirmed" placement?
Application are now open for Applicant-Led Fellows. Lead For Minnesota works with these applicants to confirm a Host Placement based on the connection that the applicant has to that community and proposed Project Scope. They may propose a community to which they'd like to serve in the application. Lead For Minnesota will work with the candidate to facilitate an introduction to the potential host supervisor and build a fellowship placement in the proposed community or region.
Do I apply for LFA or LFMN?
If you are interested in serving in Minnesota, you will apply to serve as a Lead for Minnesota Fellow here.
What does the application process entail?
What will I be doing during the fellowship?
Fellowship roles are not meant to replace existing entry-level jobs, but rather are original and customized positions meant to address a complex and urgent problem facing the community that the community organization lacks the bandwidth to fully address. These roles will be structured around a small number of tangible project-oriented goals, where the Fellow will be expected to take on major project management responsibility, to think on their feet, and to innovate in collaboration with their team.
When does the Fellowship start?
Our Fellowship begins in Summer of 2021. Check back here for more information.
How do you select what community organizations to work with?
Can my project scope be partisan?
LFA is a nonpartisan fellowship program, which means that we do not choose our placements or our Fellows to cater towards any partisan agenda.
Can I have other employment during the fellowship?
Generally, we do not allow employment outside of the Fellowship during the years of service. Because the fellowship experience is very intensive and we hope that Fellows can focus as much of their time as possible on impacting their communities, Fellows will be asked to refrain from holding simultaneous employment, including part-time jobs.
Can I attend school during the fellowship?
Will any travel be required?
Do I get time off as a Fellow?
Yes. Fellows get a reasonable number of personal days similar to the number of days given to regular new employees of their city, town, or county (in addition to the 13 regular holidays). However, Fellows are expected to attend all Fellowship trainings & retreats, will be given opportunities to attend other conferences, and are thus expected to plan their time off accordingly.
As a Fellow, what will my training and support look like?
You will begin your fellowship with all the LFA Fellows during the Changemakers Summit. You’ll learn alongside professionals, academics, and social sector leaders across a multitude of fields, and receive leadership development, equity, and character-building training.
What benefits do Fellows receive? How much are they paid?
Lead For Minnesota is a State/National AmeriCorps Program. After consulting with dozens of peer service year programs, we have concluded that the AmeriCorps stipend can be very challenging for some young individuals to live on when they must also pay for housing and health care costs. To ensure that our program is financially accessible for young leaders of all income backgrounds, we provide the equivalent of an AmeriCorps stipend as a baseline scholarship, and also pay for the costs of housing and health care for those Fellows who are not able to cover those costs through in-kind support, such as living with family, parental health insurance, etc.