The Rev. Liz Steinhauser, Senior Director of Youth Programs at St. Stephen’s Youth Programs
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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’ 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. Jobs are typically full-time, but sometimes part-time. 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 early career organizers. 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.
Empower Fellowship: In partnership with Combined Jewish Philanthropies, we are excited to announce the Empower Fellowship, a new track within the Fellowship for Jews who self-identify as people with disabilities, disabled, or differently-abled, and their employers. Part of JOIN’s efforts to center the leadership of Jews with marginalized identities, the Empower Fellowship will include many benefits for placement organizations, including funding, accessibility and inclusion training, and access to the full range of our talented candidates. Learn more about the Empower Fellowship here. To apply to be an Empower placement, please indicate your interest when completing the placement application.
Click here to learn more about our application to be a placement.
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 actively work to recruit and support Jews with marginalized identities, 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 Interview Day, inviting dozens of organizers from the Greater Boston area to help us choose 25 finalists from our pool of around 40 semi-finalists each year. Then, at our Matching Event in May, placements have the opportunity to interview several candidates from this finalist pool to explore if there is a good fit. Thus, by the time your organization interviews JOIN applicants, only the top candidates will have made it through JOIN’s rigorous set of phone, in-person, and group interviews.
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 anti-oppression skills.
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.
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.
Finally, through the Empower Fellowship, Fellows with disabilities will receive additional support to develop their leadership. Topics will include the Americans with Disabilities Act and reasonable accommodations, intersections of Judaism and disability, and adapting organizing best practices to fit one’s unique abilities. Empower Placements will also receive training and coaching about inclusion, accessibility, and best practices for employing people with disabilities.
Now in its twenty-first 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 salary of at least $31,000 (there is no maximum), and provide health insurance and other benefits commensurate with other full-time employees. For part-time positions, Fellows must organize at least 15 hours per week, and the Fellow’s salary can be lower but should be proportional to the full-time minimum salary based on hours.
For the 2019-2020 Fellowship year, we have multiple funding opportunities to support organizations that would like to hire a JOIN Fellow but are limited by budgetary constraints. Thus, we encourage you to apply to host a Fellow even if you cannot provide the full salary.
The two funding opportunities are as follows:
- The Empower Fellowship is an initiative within the Jewish Organizing Fellowship designed to support Fellows with disabilities and their placement organizations. Empower placements will receive between $5,000-$20,000, depending on financial need, plus training and coaching on accessibility and inclusion.
- We also have funds available to support non-Empower Placement organizations that would like to hire a Fellow but are limited by budgetary constraints ranging from $1,000-$10,000. If you are applying to host an Empower Fellow, and require funding to support your Fellow, we encourage you fill out this subsidy application as well. This would still keep you in the pool for funding in the event that you are not accepted as an Empower Placement, and/or if you don’t match with an Empower Fellow. You can learn more about this process on our FAQ page.
More details are available in the placement application, and we encourage you to contact Tali Smookler at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 617-350-9994 x 203. with any questions or to discuss your organization’s unique circumstances.
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