Project-based fellowships are funded by a third-party, allowing the fellow to work on a special project with a host organization for a fixed period of time, typically one to two years.
Fellows work with a host organization to develop a project which they describe to the funding organization in an application. Funders ordinarily have particular requirements and preferences for projects they fund. Factors that funders will consider include the applicant’s qualifications and experience, the host organization’s capacity to support the project, and the potential benefit and impact of the project.
Candidates do not always need to have well-developed projects before approaching a host organization. Many host organizations have project ideas they are looking to share with fellowship candidates. The host organization may prefer projects addressing particular issues or communities, or projects that fall within the scope of their existing service areas.
Examples of well-known project-based fellowships:
- Equal Justice Works Fellowships: Equal Justice Works (EJW) administers many two-year fellowships each year, with the goal of providing legal services to underserved populations in the United States. Fellows work with a host institution to develop a project in line with the EJW’s goals, and submit the application to EJW. The fellow is paid a salary commensurate to what an attorney with similar experience and/or responsibility would receive at that organization. EJW pays a portion of the salary (procured from various sponsoring organizations), and the host organization funds the remainder.
- Skadden Fellowships: The Skadden Foundation typically funds 25 two-year fellowships each year to provide legal services to the poor, elderly, homeless, disabled and those deprived of their civil or human rights. Applicants work with a host organization to design a project in line with the goals of the Skadden Foundation, and apply directly to Skadden. Skadden provides each fellow with a salary and pays all benefits to which an employee of the host organization would be entitled.
- New Voices Fellowship: Two-year fellowship within the United States. New Voices provides salary-support grants to small nonprofits that address issues in fields related to justice and peace.
- Echoing Green: Each year, 12-15 two-year fellowships are awarded to social entrepreneurs. Fellows receive up to $90,000 in seed funding and technical support to turn their innovative ideas into sustainable social change organizations.
- Open Society Justice Initiative Fellowship: One-year fellowship for fellows eager to communicate original and provocative ideas to a broad audience, as well as to shape policy and inspire critical debate among activists, intellectuals, decision makers, and the public. A fellow's contribution may take several forms. A fellowship project might identify a problem that has not previously been recognized, develop new policy ideas to address familiar problems, or offer a new advocacy strategy.
For more information on project-based fellowships, please see our Resource and Contacts section.