Fellowship for Serving African American Communities

The Fellowship for Serving African American Communities brings together talented and diverse emerging leaders from any race or ethnicity working to reduce disparities in African American and other underserved communities in the U.S. through efforts in health care, education, economic development, public policy, criminal justice reform, social entrepreneurship, and a variety of other fields.

The Fellowship for Serving African American Communities connects fellows with highly accomplished leaders from Boston and around the globe who will guide them toward:

  • Fostering sustainable change in African American and other underserved communities

  • Inspiring new ideas and innovative change in programs and policies to serve these communities

  • Building cross-sector partnerships and collaborations

We need committed people working to achieve social change despite significant odds. We need emerging leaders from any race or ethnicity who want to strengthen their ability to transform communities.

We need you.

Hillary Anderson

“CPL connected me to a group of passionate changemakers who will influence my life for years to come. The fellows challenged me to think bigger about the impact I could make in the world. They provided reassurance and guidance when I felt hesitant about my next career move. The networking opportunities with students, alumni, and distinguished public leaders will be critical to my success in the future. I look forward to continuing to grow with these fellows and support them along their leadership journey as they support me along mine.”

— Hillary Anderson, MPP 2021


Applications for the 2022-2023 cycle are now closed. Check back in Fall 2022 for details on the 2023-2024 application process.


Interviews: Finalists for the Fellowship for Serving African American Communities will be interviewed in late February 2022 by members of the Fellowship Selection Committee.

Note: Before submitting your application, we expect that you have thoroughly reviewed all pertinent information related to the Fellowship for Serving African American Communities, including but not limited to: program requirements, eligibility information, and the background and purpose of the fellowship, including the history and background of the donor. Being a CPL fellow carries with it certain responsibilities including maintenance of good academic standing as required by your degree program; attendance at all fellowship programming for the entire duration of the fellowship; leading program sessions and service activities including a field experience trip; and responsible conduct in representing CPL and Harvard University. Please visit our Fellows FAQs page for more information.

Commitment to Nondiscrimination: As a matter of commitment, policy, and law, Harvard Kennedy School does not discriminate on the basis of gender, gender identity, color, race, age, sexual orientation, religion, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, intellectual focus, disability, or veteran status. The School strongly believes diversity enhances the value of all its activities, from research and teaching to degree programs and public events. The School encourages applications from candidates who are interested in careers in public service and acknowledges a special responsibility to train effective leaders in public policy and management.

Program Information


The fellowship provides:

  • Full tuition scholarships for a master’s degree program at Harvard Kennedy School. Joint or concurrent degree students are eligible for a different financial aid package depending on their school in residence.

  • A comprehensive co-curricular/leadership development program

  • Most importantly, a network of exceptional peers and mentors who will enhance your ability to impact the communities you serve

Up to five recipients each year will receive full tuition, health insurance, and a $10,000 annual stipend during their full course of study at Harvard Kennedy School (one to two years).

The fellowship is open to all admitted degree program students at Harvard Kennedy School. Domestic students from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply, as well as students interested in business, medicine, law, education, and public health.

Applicants will be considered based on their academic credentials and demonstrated leadership promise, interest and work in reducing disparities in African-American and other underserved communities.

Fellows will participate in a yearlong co-curricular program designed by Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership. This not-for-credit program is intended to inspire, to provide concrete opportunities for leadership skill-building, and to connect fellows with an interdisciplinary network of like-minded peers and mentors that will last a lifetime. The fellowship co-curricular program includes dinner seminars, an annual retreat, and robust field experiences grounded in discussions with visionary leaders whose work has had significant impact in marginalized communities. The program will also focus on strengthening core competencies central to public leadership, such as promoting strong moral character and ethics, mastering the arts of persuasion and negotiation, and leading effective teams.

The Fellows for Serving African American Communities will create a vibrant network of students and alumni committed to advancing knowledge, collaborating on solutions to pressing problems, and building leadership capacity in their communities, their nation, and the world.