The year-long JOIN Fellowship Program, now in its eighteenth year, recruits and trains excellent young community organizers, and builds pathways for organizing as a sustainable career path by creating communities grounded in Jewish heritage and social justice values. Our Fellowship alumni are incredibly talented and successful in their field. The majority of them continue to work as organizers in the fight for social justice.
A central element of the program is the Fellows’ full-time jobs as organizers at local organizations that partner with JOIN. Typical partner organizations include unions, issue-based organizations, community development corporations, neighborhood organizations, and broad-based or interfaith organizations. The partner organizations are the official employers of JOIN Fellows, paying the Fellow’s salary, and offering high-quality supervision.
The Fellows—Jewish young professionals ages 21-30—gather for regular training sessions designed to develop the skills of an early career organizer. Fellows have access to JOIN’s network of experienced organizers and community leaders as trainers and mentors. Additionally, Fellows receive mentorship from JOIN Fellowship alumni and staff.
Benefits of working with JOIN for Justice
Recruitment of Talented Organizers
By recruiting a pool of talented emerging organizers, JOIN adds value to your organization’s next hire. Traditionally, JOIN has attracted smart young leaders who are hungry for justice, both recent college graduates and more experienced recruits, with a particular emphasis on people who are looking to stay in the organizing field in the long run. Over the past 3 years, the number of applicants and the quality of our applicant pool has increased dramatically. Last year, 120 applicants applied for one of 13 positions. An in-person, three day interview and matching weekend allowed us to thoroughly evaluate the 40 finalists from 22 states and 3 countries.
In our next recruitment cycle, we expect to generate a pool of well over 120 applicants, whom we will selectively pre-screen before sending them into our matching process with our partner organizations. Thus, by the time your organization interviews JOIN applicants, only the top candidates will have made it through a rigorous set of phone, in-person, and group interviews through JOIN.
Training and Professional Development
JOIN’s Organizing Fellows add value to their placement organizations by undergoing a year of focused training in community organizing and other professional skills necessary for high-functioning non-profits.
JOIN’s training curriculum has been honed over a decade of implementation and evaluation, and it continues to evolve based on the changing needs of our partner organizations and Fellows. Fellows participate in interactive and practical trainings led by experienced organizers and social change leaders, centered on skills ranging from recruiting leaders and mounting campaigns to facilitating meetings and raising funds. Trainings are designed to be relevant to a range of organizing settings, including unions, neighborhood organizations and CDCs, issue-based organizations, electoral campaigns, and interfaith or broad-based organizations. More information about our training curriculum is available upon request.
Additionally, JOIN provides our Fellows with regular, structured opportunities to reflect on their work and professional growth, to engage in best-practice sessions with other Fellows, and to seek mentorship from their peers and more experienced organizers.
Finally, the Jewish component of the fellowship encourages Fellows to connect their social justice work to their heritage, traditions, sense of spirituality, and community. Grounding the challenging work of organizing in a Jewish context helps Fellows to see the work as a sustainable career path, and to connect their work to a rich heritage of organizing for justice. Fellows do not generally “wear their Judaism on their sleeve” in secular settings, but are willing and eager to share this connection with others when asked.
Now in its eighteenth year, the Jewish Organizing Fellowship has a strong network of alumni who are experienced organizers and leaders in social justice organizations throughout Boston and beyond. Fellows can opt to be paired with an alum mentor, and Fellows can also use the alumni network as an informal source for professional advice and support. JOIN fellows and alumni often find opportunities to make connections across organizations, uniting their constituencies and organizations in campaigns.
Many social change organizations that would value a JOIN Fellow are limited by budgetary constraints. JOIN is aware of the challenges of funding social change work, and responds to this need by subsidizing some of our Fellows’ positions. Pending available funds, for organizations that meet our general criteria and subsidy eligibility, JOIN can provide small subsidies.