Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow

Job Type

Full Time



Application Deadline



District of Columbia
United States


The Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellows Program is a leadership development program that trains, inspires, and sustains a network of leaders committed to social justice.

Emerson Hunger Fellows gain practical experience fighting hunger and poverty through field placements in community-based organizations across the country, as well as policy experience through placements in Washington, D.C. Fellows also explore the root causes of hunger and poverty in a peer learning community. The Emerson program bridges community-based efforts with national public policy to develop Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellows as effective leaders in the movement to end hunger and poverty.

Each year 16-20 participants are selected from across the country for this year long program. They assemble in Washington, D.C. in August for a comprehensive orientation and field training, where they learn about hunger, poverty, and racism in the United States and strategies for social change.

Fellows are placed for half the year with community-based organizations involved in fighting hunger and poverty at the local level, such as grassroots organizing groups, advocacy organizations, economic development agencies, food banks, hospitals, and local government offices. Each host organization identifies specific goals and outcomes for the Fellows' projects and provides the supervision and resources necessary to accomplish them.

In mid-February, the Fellows regroup in Washington, D.C. to share and reflect on their field experiences and participate in an extensive policy training.

Fellows then work in national nonprofit organizations and federal government agencies that develop, implement, and advocate for policies that address hunger and its root causes, including racism. During their time in D.C., Fellows complete research, outreach, advocacy, and public education projects that support national policy initiatives.

Throughout the year, the Fellows develop a strong learning community for reflection, resource sharing, and skill building that supports their field and policy work and their leadership development.

Selection Criteria

  • Commitment to racial equity and social justice
  • Demonstrated leadership qualities and skills
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
  • Flexibility and ability to adjust to new situations
  • Creativity and initiative in problem solving
  • Enthusiasm for learning from experts in the field, and searching for new models in anti-hunger and anti-poverty work
  • Experience working in low-income communities
  • Excitement about peer learning in a tight-knit community of Fellows


The Congressional Hunger Center establishes Fellow financial packages based on location, taking into consideration the field and policy site location cost of living. (One resource CHC considers when setting financial packages is this Living Wage calculator.) Typically, Fellows receive financial packages in the range of 38,000 to 43,000 over the duration of the fellowship. Fellows serve as Independent Consultants; they must secure and finance their own health insurance, and are responsible for saving for and paying their own taxes, as no taxes are withheld from Fellow pay.

Emerson Fellows also gain:

  • Membership in a dynamic learning community of Fellows
  • Connection to an extensive network of alumni, partners, and experts
  • Experience working with community and policy leaders
  • Training / mentoring / leadership development
  • Project management experience

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

4-year degree

How To Apply

Applications to the Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowship will be accepted online only. The deadline for applications is Jan. 14, 2019.

Application Timeline:

  • January 14, 2019: Application deadline for the 2019-2020 class of Emerson Fellows
  • The selection committee will review applications throughout January and we expect to make decisions on a rolling basis, with most interviews in February and March.
  • April 17, 2019: Decision notification deadline
  • Late August 2019: 26th Class of Emerson Fellows begin

If you have questions, please email or call (202) 547-7022 ext. 10

Please note that partially completed applications cannot be saved. We encourage you to prepare all materials (resume/CV and written responses) before beginning your application.