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Who is Eligible for an Alston/Bannerman Fellowship?


To qualify for an Alston/Bannerman Fellowship, you must:

  • be a person of color

  • have more than 10 years of community organizing experience

  • be committed to continuing to work for social change

  • live in the United States or its territories

Beyond the basic eligibility criteria, the Alston/Bannerman Program seeks applicants whose work:

  • Attacks roots causes of injustice by organizing those affected to take collective action.

  • Challenges the systems that perpetrate injustice and effects institutional change.

  • Builds their community's capacity for self-determination and develops grassroots leadership.

  • Acknowledges the cultural values of the community.

  • Creates accountable participatory structures in which community members have decision-making power.

  • Contributes to building a movement for social change by making connections between issues, developing alliances with other constituencies and collaborating with other organizations.

The Alston / Bannerman Program distinguishes between organizing, services and advocacy, and believes that organizing low-income people at the grassroots level is the most effective way to achieve progressive social change. Therefore, the Alston / Bannerman Program does not make awards to individuals :

  • who only provide services, such as substance abuse counseling, after-school programs, HIV-AIDS outreach or shelter for the homeless.

  • who advocate on behalf of a community without directly involving the members of that community in asserting their own interests and choosing their own leadership.

We do recognize, however, that services, advocacy and organizing are sometimes combined, and that providing services can be a companion to organizing. Similarly, we know that cultural work can be part of an organizing process. In such cases, applicants must demonstrate that their work has a direct or close connection to organizing, leadership development and democratic participation.

We also recognize that organizing is a full-time job for some, but for others it is voluntary work done outside of their employment. Both are eligible to apply.


  • Fellows are expected to stop their day-to-day work activities for at least three consecutive months and devote that time to activities which are substantially different from their normal routine.

  • Fellows are expected to attend pre- and post-sabbatical retreats.

  • Sabbaticals must be taken within one year of the awarding of the Fellowship.

  • Fellows must submit a report on their sabbatical.

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