Build a Movement

Bayard Rustin Fellowship & Mentorship Program

Supporting the next generation of Black, brown, and LGBTQ+ movement leaders working toward a robust democracy.

Brilliant strategist. Masterful tactician. Tireless activist. Fearless organizer. These phrases all describe Bayard Rustin, the legendary civil rights activist who fought tirelessly to move America towards a robust democracy. As an openly gay, Black man who is revered as the organizer of the civil rights movement, Rustin lived the intersectional values he fought to have realized for all people.

“If we desire a society without discrimination, then we must not discriminate against anyone in the process of building this society. If we desire a society that is democratic, then democracy must become a means as well as an end.” —Bayard Rustin.

Bayard Rustin Fellowship Program

Named in his honor, the Bayard Rustin Democracy Fellowship Program offers a pathway to leadership for people of color (POC) and LGBTQ+ folks in the movement facing the same obstacles to leadership that Rustin faced. Rustin envisioned a world where democracy was not just the end goal, but also the pathway to change. The DI is building toward his dream by working to diversify the democracy movement.

We believe that increasing opportunities for individuals to experience a supportive environment with meaningful professional development and fair compensation will create a pipeline for a more diverse pool of applicants dedicated to furthering our democracy. Each placement will be designed for the fellow to develop and lead projects or campaigns in the democracy movement, while providing capacity for the host organization to increase its involvement in the democracy space.  

This is a paid, full time, twelve-month fellowship. Individuals seeking to advance beyond mid-level positions, shape strategy, and grow diverse and inclusive organizations that reflect the emerging majority are encouraged to apply. Candidates must be passionate about using proactive democracy reform solutions to disrupt systems of oppression. This is a senior-level fellowship. Black, Brown, and LGBTQ+ individuals especially encouraged to apply.

Apply for a Fellowship

Bayard Rustin Mentorship Program

The goal of this program is to connect professionals in the democracy space willing to offer an average of five hours a month to mentor an individual in entry level positions or seeking advancement while in mid-level positions. Mentees are placed with a mentor and will be responsible for formulating a six-month project, gaining experience through the completion of design, implementation, and evaluation phases.

The mentee’s organization in turn will gain a completed work product that meets programming goals and strengthens support for expanding both programming and staff. The mentee is provided a stipend to offset costs of participation.

Apply for Mentorship

For more information about the Bayard Rustin Fellowship and Mentorship Programs, contact Movement Building Director Ashli Bolden.

Become a Democracy Champion.

Enroll Today