Become a National Equity Fellow!

The National Equity Atlas is officially accepting applications for its second cohort of fellows. The program is designed for grassroots leaders of color who want to learn how to use data to advance racial and economic equity in their communities. The application deadline has been extended to January 25, 2023, and the fellowship will begin in March 2023.

Data disaggregated by race, gender, income, and geography are essential to advancing policies and solutions that confront structural racism, eliminate racial and economic inequities, and further racial equity. Yet, grassroots community-based organizations that are advocating for equity-focused policy solutions face significant barriers to effectively accessing, analyzing, and incorporating local data into their efforts.

Through the National Equity Atlas Fellowship, the National Equity Atlas (a partnership between PolicyLink and the USC Equity Research Institute) will work with eight to 10 grassroots leaders of color to sharpen their data skills and produce new data visualizations, dashboards, factsheets, or other research products to strengthen their organization’s policy and advocacy campaigns.

What will fellows gain from participating?

Fellows will increase their skills in data analysis and visualization while producing data products to use in their equity campaigns. They will also network with other equity advocates across the country, participate in group learning sessions and one-on-one coaching sessions, and partner with Atlas team members and other PolicyLink staff on their projects.

Who should apply?

The fellowship is open to people of color who are currently employed by community-based organizations that are working to increase racial and economic equity by advancing policy solutions and systems-level transformation. Fellows do not need strong data skills or experience but should have basic data literacy, an interest in building their data capacity, and the ability in their current role to develop data analyses and products. This fellowship is designed for individuals who have the ability in their organizations to self-manage aspects of their own work and time.

What does the application process include?

Interested applicants must complete the digital application form by 11:59 p.m. PT on January 25, 2023. In the application, applicants are asked to include up to three upcoming/ongoing policy campaigns that they will select from to create an aligned data product by the midpoint of the fellowship in September 2023. These proposals will allow the Atlas team to best assess our capacity and expertise to support the fellows’ projects. Some key topics for our team in the next year include:

  • Housing Justice and Equitable Development

  • Workforce Equity and Economic Justice

  • Water Equity/Environmental Justice

  • Infrastructure Justice (including Transportation and Digital Equity)

  • Criminal Justice and Community Safety
  • Education Justice

Applications are not limited to the list above. The list is intended to provide applicants with a better understanding of some of the Atlas team’s current resources and ongoing work, and we welcome applicants to include details in their applications that will help us best understand your work, particularly for cross-cutting campaigns. 

What will the fellowship program include?

During the first half of the fellowship, the program curriculum will focus on understanding how to use a research justice framework and skill-building in accessing public datasets, basic analysis, and data visualization. At the end of this training period, fellows will determine the type of data project they will undertake during the second half of the fellowship.

In the second half of the fellowship, fellows will design and develop their data project to support their organization’s policy campaigns, with support from Atlas staff on research and data visualization. Curriculum topics during this period will include support on narrative framing and designing data products. Projects may include interactive dashboards, factsheets, maps, and other custom visualizations and products.

At the conclusion of the fellowship, all fellows will prepare and present a webinar on their completed data project, which will be hosted on the Racial Equity Data Lab

To learn more about the projects the inaugural cohort is currently working on, visit the fellowship page.

How long will the fellowship last?

The fellowship is a year-long program that will begin in March 2023 and conclude in February 2024.

How will fellows be supported?

Organizations will receive a $7,500 stipend to support their fellow’s participation in the program. The stipend is given directly to each fellow’s organization as a general operating support grant. Fellows interested in learning Tableau will also receive support for accessing necessary Tableau licenses and receive training in building Tableau visualizations. Fellows will also receive technical assistance and support from Atlas staff.

When will fellows be selected?

The application portal will close on January 25, 2023. Selected fellows will be notified by mid-February 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any eligibility requirements for applicants?

Applicants must be an employee of the affiliated community-based organization that they list in their applications. This could be on a full-time or part-time basis, as long as fellows can commit to the monthly time commitment of the program and have direct access to organizational staff to ensure their project and time in the fellowship are in alignment with the organization’s overall policy priorities and campaigns.

Applicants must reside within the United States, and individuals of any immigration status are welcome to apply.

What is a qualifying community-based organization?

We consider qualifying community-based organizations to be those that have obtained 501(c) status or secured fiscal sponsorship from a 501(c) organization. We will prioritize organizations that are actively engaged with and accountable to the communities they serve and reflect as well as those that use power-building strategies for campaigns focused on systems and policy change.

Individuals from government offices, higher education institutions, and philanthropic organizations are not eligible for this fellowship.

What is expected of fellows?

Fellows are expected to fully participate in monthly cohort learning sessions and maintain regular check-ins with Atlas staff. Fellows are also responsible for completing all key milestones related to the fellowship and their selected data projects. We also encourage fellows to actively communicate with each other throughout the experience and be open to sharing and receiving feedback with their peers.

When are the monthly learning sessions and what topics will be covered?

The fellowship program will be broken into two segments. During the first five months, the program will focus on data access, analysis, and visualization skills. Fellows will learn about accessing and using the National Equity Atlas, developing a data narrative, understanding and accessing data sets, analyzing and visualizing data, and using an equity frame in research.

During the latter half of the program, learning sessions will focus on developing and building data projects, and fellows will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with each other and provide feedback. For the last month of the fellowship, fellows will prepare for sharing their projects and leading webinars on the Racial Equity Data Lab.

Monthly Learning Session Schedule for Cohort 2

All monthly learning sessions will be virtual and last for 90 minutes. Each session will be held on the first Monday of every month unless otherwise noted.

  • March 6, 2023 (This meeting may include travel to the Bay Area for an in-person orientation)
  • April 3, 2023
  • May 1, 2023
  • June 5, 2023
  • July 10, 2023 (moved to the second Monday of July due to the 4th of July)
  • August 7, 2023
  • September 11, 2023 (moved to the second Monday of September due to Labor Day)
  • October 2, 2023
  • November 13, 2023 (moved to the second Monday of November due to the election week prior)
  • December 4, 2023
  • January 8, 2024 (moved to the second Monday of January due to New Year’s Day)
  • February 5, 2024 (This meeting may include travel to the Bay Area for an in-person cohort meeting)

What is the time commitment required to participate?

Fellows are expected to participate in the monthly online learning sessions and individual check-ins and to work in partnership with the Atlas team to create a data product to support their organization’s equity campaigns. Fellows should be able to commit five to seven hours per month to fellowship-related activities and meetings. There may also be opportunities for one or two in-person cohort meetings during the year, including a possible orientation launch in March 2023.

Additional Support

If you have any questions or need to get in contact with us regarding the application process, please email Selena Tan at