New York City community organizers working on issues ranging from immigrants’ rights to economic justice to public health reform are eligible to apply for a new fellowship operated by the Research Center for Leadership in Action at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

The New York City Social Justice Fellowship identifies talented and passionate individuals interested in working collaboratively with communities to address immediate needs while also seeking systemic solutions through changes in public policy. Detailed guidelines for the 2006-2007 class can be found at The application deadline is May 1, 2006.

The fellowship grew out of the New York City Community Fellows Program, which was founded in 1998 by the Open Society Institute (OSI). In late 2005, OSI provided a major multi-year grant to the Research Center for Leadership in Action (RCLA) to transform the program into its current incarnation.

“For the past eight years, the Community Fellows Program has supported some 80 New Yorkers who created innovative grassroots initiatives that addressed structural barriers of social and civil opportunities in the city,” said Alvin Starks, associate director, Racial Justice Initiative and Fellowship Programs, at OSI. “OSI is proud of the impact these fellows have made to improve both communities and public policy, and we are confident that under the guidance of NYU Wagner, that the New York Social Justice Fellowship will continue in that tradition.”

“Fantastic work has been achieved by fellows in the OSI program,” said Millard “Mitty” Owens, associate director of NYU Wagner’s Research Center for Leadership in Action. “We hope to strengthen the linkage between those individuals, so that organizers working on different issues and with different communities come to know each other better, and to add a research component that enables learning about social justice organizing and leadership.”

Selection of the new class of Social Justice fellows will occur this summer, with work commencing in September. Fellows will receive stipends to support them for more than 15 months, along with a benefits allowance, project seed grant, and a variety of opportunities for training, support, and networking.

“NYU Wagner is very excited to be launching the Social Justice Fellowship program,” said Ellen Schall, dean of NYU Wagner. “Supporting organizers and enabling them to play significant roles in improving day-to-day life within their communities fits in perfectly with the primary goal of Wagner, which is to shape the careers of the next generation of public service leaders.”

Previous projects of fellows included: improving the image of youth of color in the media and enabling their own media production; creating programming and advocacy to support girls in sports in Brownsville and Bedford-Stuyvesant; strengthening the network of community credit unions providing vital financial services to low-income communities; and legal training and business assistance to support Mexican/Latino immigrant street vendors.

“We are delighted to welcome the New York City Community Fellowship program to our dynamic network of public service leadership efforts,” said Marian Krauskopf, co-director of the Leadership Center for Research in Action. “We are supporting leadership from the ground up by inviting our program participants to help us develop nuanced knowledge about the collective efforts of groups and networks of individuals striving to create change, and the Social Justice Fellowship program will be a wonderful addition.” NYU Wagner also operates several other critical leadership programs, including the Next Generation Leadership Alumni Network and the research component of the Leadership for a Changing World program.

Launched in 2003, The Research Center for Leadership in Action strengthens work in social change and public service through a rich array of programs and projects. It develops interdisciplinary research and other field-based projects where academicians and public sector and nonprofit leaders can come together to explore the complex challenges of leadership today. It translates personally held practitioner experience into shared expertise, and leadership theory into useful instruments to build capacity.

Established in 1938, the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service offers advanced programs leading to the professional degrees of Master of Public Administration, Master of Urban Planning, Master of Science in Management, and Doctor of Philosophy. Through these rigorous programs, NYU Wagner educates the future leaders of public, nonprofit, and health institutions as well as private organizations serving the public sector.

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