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American Council of Learned Societies Invites Proposals to Host 2021 Leading Edge Fellows (sponsored)

New Program Will Help Nonprofits Enhance Their Capacity to Advance Social Justice Initiatives

The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) has launched the third competition of the Leading Edge Fellowship program, which places talented, socially engaged humanities PhDs with national and community-based nonprofit organizations to advance projects promoting justice and equity in society. The competition is made possible by the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

ACLS is now accepting applications from prospective nonprofit host organizations, with proposals due by January 18, 2021. Up to 40 national and community-based nonprofit organizations will be selected as partners. Each will be paired with a Leading Edge Fellow to help advance their organization’s project during a 12-month post to commence September 2021. ACLS will provide fellows with a $60,000 stipend plus health insurance and professional development funding and access to new professional networks.

Nonprofits representing various sectors and working in communities across the country are encouraged to apply. Successful proposals will feature projects where fellows lead substantive, community-engaged work that advances equity and justice, civic participation, and anti-racist policies and practices in sustainable and scalable ways. The roster of current Leading Edge partner organizations and projects, which support communities hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, is available here.

Learn more about the program and how to apply to be a host organization.

ACLS launched Leading Edge in July 2020 with support from the Henry Luce Foundation. It is the latest chapter in a decade-long history of successful publicly engaged humanities partnerships. To date, ACLS has paired more than 200 humanities PhDs with exciting community initiatives led by a broad array of nonprofit and government organizations including the American Friends Service Committee; Asian Cultural Council; Innocence Project; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; PolicyLink; Public Radio International; Race Forward; the Smithsonian Institutions; Southern Poverty Law Center; and UNCF, the United Negro College Fund.

For more information about the program, contact

Sign up for alerts about this program and opportunities to partner with ACLS in other fellowship programs. 

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