About the Unum Fellows Program

As part of E Pluribus Unum’s foundational research journey in 2018, we found that people place a great deal of hope in their local political leadership and better embrace the concept of racial equity when local leadership actively seeks to advance it. Through UNUM Fellows, a signature program of E Pluribus Unum, elected leaders will gain or expand upon their understanding of how to address racial and economic equity within communities. Each UNUM Fellow will learn from nationally-recognized experts, consult with peers across the South, and design and implement an equity-based project that will create sustainable, meaningful change.

While success will look different in each community, Fellows will leave the program equipped to:

  • Foster meaningful participation among key community partners and leaders to drive the advancement of equity goals and projects.
  • Advance initiatives—beginning with their Fellowship project—that address racial and economic disparities in communities.
  • Cultivate long-term visions for equity within their communities that outlive any single term or administration.
  • Talk about racial and economic equity in ways that advance discourse, with a common language and understanding.
  • Act with urgency with the support of a strong peer network and community.

Program Partners Include

  • Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program
  • Center for American Progress (CAP)
  • The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
  • FrameWorks Institute
  • Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a project of Race Forward
  • Hope Policy Institute
  • National League of Cities University (NLCU)
  • PolicyLink
  • What Works Cities

Cohort I: Municipal Elected Officials

Class of 2020

UNUM Fellows’ first cohort includes a diverse set of Southern elected leaders, from rural mayors to suburban school board members to county commissioners and big-city mayors. This select group will embark on a year-long journey to address inequitable and discriminatory policies and practices within their communities. Uniquely positioned to redesign broken systems, they begin this signature program amidst a renewed national movement towards racial and economic justice.

Cohort II: State Legislators

Class of 2021

The select cohort of Southern state legislators will participate in a year-long program to advance racial and economic equity in their states through sustainable change and collaboration. They are uniquely positioned to redesign broken systems and begin this signature program amidst a renewed national movement toward racial and economic justice.

Cohort III: Youth     Fellows

Class of 2022

The Youth Cohort of the Unum Fellowship program consists of twenty 18-24-year old college students from sixteen southern academic institutions. The Fellowship program will equip the young leaders with resources, training, and technical expertise to develop and execute a project addressing racial and/or economic disparities on their school campuses or within their broader community.