The Rev. Liz Steinhauser, Senior Director of Youth Programs at St. Stephen’s Youth Programs
The year-long JOIN Jewish Organizing Fellowship, founded in 1997, 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.
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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. JOIN attracts smart young leaders who are hungry for justice, both recent college graduates and more experienced recruits. Around 85% of our fellows continue to work with their Placements past the Fellowship year, so if you are looking to hire a longer term organizer, this process can support you as well. We also actively work to recruit and support Jews with marginalized identities into the Fellowship, including Jews of Color, Jews from working class backgrounds, trans and gender non-conforming Jews, and Jews with disabilities.
Over the years, the number of applicants and the quality of our applicant pool has increased dramatically. Typically, around 70-90 applicants apply for one of 12 – 17 positions. We hold an in-person Selection Event, inviting dozens of organizers from the Greater Boston area to support our selection of 25 finalists from our pool of around 40 semi-finalists each year. Placements have the opportunity to interview several candidates from this finalist pool to explore if there is a good fit.
In each recruitment cycle, we selectively pre-screen applicants 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 two decades 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 Community Development Corporations, 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.
Now in its twentieth 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.
We ask that Placements pay their Fellow a minimum salary of $31,000, and provide health benefits commensurate with other full time employees. JOIN is aware that many organizations that would value a JOIN Fellow are limited by budgetary constraints, and responds to this need by subsidizing some of our Fellows’ positions. Pending available funds, JOIN may be able to provide small subsidies for organizations that meet our placement criteria.
JOIN Fellowship Organizations
The group of JOIN organizing placements changes each year. In the past Jewish Organizing Fellows have worked at places such as the following Greater Boston area organizations:
- Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation
- Boston Center for Independent Living
- Boston Youth Organizing Project
- Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee
- Community Action Agency of Somerville
- Disability Policy Consortium
- Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation: Youth Force
- The Food Project: Real Food Challenge
- The Haitian Coalition
- Harvard Union of Technical and Clerical Workers
- The Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union, Local 26
- The Irish Immigration Center
- The Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action
- Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters
- The Jewish Labor Committee
- Health Care for All
- Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston
- Massachusetts Senior Action Council
- Massachusetts AFL-CIO
- MICAH: Metropolitan Interfaith Communities Acting for Hope
- Moishe Kavod House
- National Organization of Women, Boston chapter
- Neighbor to Neighbor
- Parents United for Child Care
- ROCA, Inc
- Rosie’s Place
- Service Employees International Union, Local 509
- State Health Care and Research Employees/AFSCME
- Somerville Community Corporation
- The Tax Equity Alliance of Mass.
- The Welcome Project
- The Workmen’s Circle
- United for a Fair Economy
- United Interfaith Action