NREI John R. Lewis Social Justice Policy Fellowship

The NREI John R. Lewis Social Justice Policy Fellowship is a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) program designed to give young, Black professionals the opportunity to work in Congress and with the Foundation to address social justice and racial equity issues that affect the Black community. Distinguished by two six-month rotations, Social Justice Fellows are placed in the U.S. Congress with Congressional Black Caucus members and the CBCF’s Center for Policy Analysis and Research (CPAR) for a total of 12 months.

Fellows produce social justice policy research and analysis on topics that include, but not limited to, criminal justice reform, education, community/economic development, health equity, and civil rights. While working in Congressional Black Caucus member offices, Fellows gain invaluable legislative experience as they engage in the development of public policy initiatives, attend briefings, conduct research, write speeches, and develop rapport with key leaders all in the areas of social justice. In the Center for Policy Analysis and Research, Fellows work under the NREI Director and in cooperation with other stakeholders to conduct policy analysis, research, and data collection with the goal to disseminate research findings and relevant information to advance NREI’s mission. Fellows during their term may also organize social justice forums and brain trusts, serve as an expert in their field, and produce issue briefs, fact sheets and other publications related to social justice.

Candidate Requirements
COVID vaccination, including booster shot;
• U.S. citizenship or a permit to work in the U.S. for the duration of the program;
• At least five years of community activism or grassroots organizing in a leadership position OR a graduate/professional degree completed prior to the program start date;
• Familiarity with the federal legislative process, the U.S. Congress, the Congressional Black Caucus and its members, and related policy;
• Superior analytical skills, outstanding oral and written communication skills; and
• Demonstrated commitment to social justice either through public policy, professional experience, or community-related activism aimed at improving the living conditions of the global Black community.

Areas of Social Justice Specialities
• Cannabis Policy
• Child Welfare/Education Policy
• Dental/Oral Health Policy
• Finance Policy
• Health Policy
• Technology Policy

September 2023 Cohort Program Dates:
Start Date: September 11, 2023
End Date: September 6th, 2024
Application Deadline: June 30, 2023

Application Materials
• The completed online application must be submitted by 11:59PM EST, June 30, 2023;
• The following items will be requested through the online application:
o 2 Essay Question Responses
o 2 letters of recommendation, submitted electronically (hard copy letters will not be accepted)
o Resume listing extracurricular activities, honors, employment, community service, and special skills (2-page limit)
o Cover letter discussing the applicant’s academic and professional background, and explaining the applicant’s interest in the Fellowship, how the fellowship fits into the applicant’s career plans, and any experience that would make the applicant highly effective in this position (2-page limit)
o A recent photograph suitable for publication (i.e., a graduation photo or other professional-quality photograph in which the subject is formally dressed)
Selection Process
The selection process is highly competitive. Annually, CBCF accepts fewer than 10% of those who apply. Applications are reviewed by a selection committee comprised of CBCF staff and external partners. Only top candidates receive an invitation to interview for a select number of fellowship opportunities, based on the quality of their application and demonstrated interest in social justice policy. Finalists are selected and notified by the CBCF. Any incomplete or late application packets will not be reviewed.

Fellowship Benefits
NREI Fellows receive a full salary and benefits for the duration of the program. The salary range is $70,000 and is non-negotiable.
• As part of our new partnership with Air B n B, Fellows who take part in our Fellowships will receive transitional housing prior to their official move to Washington, DC. Details will follow pending applicant acceptance.

COVID-19 Guidelines
The in-person nature of this program will require both full vaccination and adherence to CDC guidelines, given the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to applying to this program, please read the following expectations in their entirety:

Vaccination Policy
• Congressional Fellows must (i) provide proof that they are fully vaccinated prior to the start date of the program or (ii) obtain an approved exemption as an accommodation (the process for seeking an accommodation is explained below). Note: Only vaccines authorized for emergency use and/or full use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are acceptable under this policy
• Until full vaccination is documented or an approved exemption as an accommodation is obtained, NREI Fellows may not be approved to participate in the Fellowship.
• All NREI Fellows are expected to have completed a full vaccination regime (to include booster shots) or have an approved exemption accommodation.
Congressional Fellows who fail to become fully vaccinated or obtain an approved exemption accommodation before the program’s start date will be subject to being rejected from the program.

Requests for Accommodations
• Fellows may request an approved exemption from the vaccination requirement as an accommodation for medical or sincerely held religious reasons. A medical reason such as a disability (as defined by applicable law), pregnancy (or childbirth or a related medical condition), being a nursing mother, having a documented medical condition that contraindicates the vaccination, or any other trait, characteristic, or class for which applicable law requires the CBCF to provide reasonable workplace accommodations.
• Fellows may request an accommodation for a non-medical reason, such as an objection to being vaccinated on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs and practices.
Accommodation requests should be submitted to Human Resources in writing.

Additional Note:
Former Fellows, immediate relatives of a CBCF employee, CBC Member, CBC Spouse, a staff person of a CBC Member or Spouse, a member of the CBCF Board of Directors, Corporate Advisory Council Member of CBCF, or any CBCF-sponsoring entity are not eligible for CBCF Fellowship programs.
Please email with any questions.

Anticipated Total

Anticipated total amount over the full term of this award.


Supplemental Questions
  1. Essay 1: You are working in the office of a congressional member as a subject matter expert in your respective profession. Draft a memo to your congressional member discussing three policy areas that you deem most critical to the advancement of the Black community, and why your representative should prioritize these items on his/her agenda, and how s/he can create awareness on these issues. Be sure to cite your sources. [1,000 word maximum]
  2. Essay 2: Choose a social justice policy issue (i.e., criminal justice reform, Black maternal health, school-to prison pipeline, public education, or racial discrimination in the workplace) you find most relevant to the Black community in the last three congressional sessions. Discuss the status of the legislation, the key members involved with the issue, and the potential or current effects of the legislation on the Black community. Be sure to cite your sources. [1,000 word maximum]
  3. Select your preferred specialty subject matter.