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Cleveland Foundation to offer up to five $30,000 public service fellowships


The Cleveland Foundation announced last week that it has created three to five year-long paid fellowships through its Public Service Fellowship program. Chosen applicants from a nationwide search will receive $30,000 and be placed with one of the foundation’s partner agencies in the public service sector.

“We’re killing five birds with one stone here,” says Cleveland Foundation president and CEO Ronn Richard. “We absolutely have to get the best and brightest involved in the public sector. It’s really important for the public sector, but it’s also important to help bring young people to Cleveland.”
 
The program also helps college graduates break into the work world. “It’s really hard for young people,” says Richard. “Even if they did really well in college, it’s hard to get that first job.”
 
The foundation is looking for college grads who have earned their degrees in the last two years, says Richard, and who are interested in exploring northeast for long term careers. “It’s a really important first job because it pays well. They can get something on a resume and, hopefully, have a life-transforming experience,” he says.  “It’s altruistic in helping lives, but it also feeds excellent people into the non-profits.”
 
The hope is fellowships will not only bring talented young adults to Cleveland, but that they will then stay here. “We have to attract people nationally, like every other city, and we have to be a magnet for people nationally,” says Richard. “When people come to Cleveland who have never been here, they come to love it and stay.”
 
In addition to working with a public service agency, fellows will be paired with mentors and a have professional development and networking opportunities with senior-level executives and even CEOs. “These are high-profile, high-level [positions],” says Richard of the fellowships. “It’s not going to be filing and answering phones.”
 
The associated agencies have yet to be chosen, but will be selected based on submitted proposals. The agencies will not pay for the fellows; the program will be funded by the Cleveland Foundation.
 
Applications for the fellowships will be accepted through March 3. Applicants must register with the Cleveland Foundation’s application portal. Officials are expecting over 100 applications, of which they will choose 20 interviewees. Three to five will then be chosen as fellows. Richard is optimistic about the applicants.

“We really think we’ll get the best and the brightest,” he says.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 18 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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