Since 1986, the third Monday of the year has been the day on which we commemorate and honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. And in 1994, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was officially recognized as a national day of service.
In his 1957 Birth of A New Nation speech, Dr. King said, “The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community. The aftermath of nonviolence is redemption. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation. The aftermath of violence is emptiness and bitterness.” It is the dream of this “beloved community” that inspires idealists to commit a day (a week, an hour, or even an entire career) to the pursuit of a world absent of poverty, hunger, and hatred, and in which everyone is cared for.
On this day of service, we’ve gathered some of our best resources to meet you wherever you are on your social-impact journey. Here are some ideas for how to advance your own pursuit of a world where all people can lead free and dignified lives.
For a day
If you’re looking for shorter-term volunteer opportunities, look no further than our Volunteer+ listings. As of January 12, 2022, Idealist had over 500 volunteer opportunities related to the commemoration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Our listings truly run the gamut and include everything from online conversation and community-building gatherings and cooking for a cause to neighborhood clean-ups and housewarming basket collection for individuals experiencing homelessness.
For a year (or two)
Often funded by foundations or private donors, fellowships are designed to provide incentives and support to the next generation of nonprofit and social-justice leaders.
Fellowships are usually formal programs lasting anywhere from three months to two years, and often include:
- A stipend
- Challenging work experience
- Well-structured plans for training and professional development
- Access to seasoned professionals as mentors
In addition to well-established programs, universities and privately-funded nonprofits like Greenpeace are now setting up fellowships to attract emerging leaders, so opportunities are expanding.
Explore whether a public service fellowship may be right for you, and if you’ve already answered that question with a resounding “yes!” start searching fellowships on Idealist today. To get you started, here are a few current opportunities that land squarely in the social-justice space:
- ECC Climate Justice Fellowship, Empire Clean Cities
- Summer Institute Dean Internship, Sadie Nash Leadership Project
- Social Justice Fellowship, Episcopal Service Corps
For a career
We may be idealists, but we also understand that huge systemic change that honors Dr. King’s legacy won’t happen overnight. Many people around the country—and around the globe—dedicate their professional careers to building a better world. If that’s where you find yourself, welcome! We need you.
If you’re in the nascent stages of the big switch to the social-impact sector, here are a few resources to help you along the way:
- 17 Tips to Help You Make the Transition from For-Profit to Nonprofit
- How to Transition to a Social-Impact Career Without Starting from Square One
- Designing Your Dream Career is our free four-part email course designed to help you take the next (or first) big step in your social-impact journey
- If you’re wondering whether earning a graduate degree in the social-impact space may be your best first step, you’ll definitely want to explore our Grad Resources.
As the Associate Director of Editorial and Career Content at Idealist and a lifelong nonprofit professional, Alexis offers job seekers, game changers, and do gooders actionable tips, career resources, and social-impact advice.