Who We Are?
At EPU, we believe that the path to building a more just, inclusive, and equitable South is by
advancing social change and racial equity. Network building and sharing what works can
strengthen and expand the success of leaders who are advancing equity, so we partner with
advocates and pastors, policymakers and community members, non-profits and media, and
everyone in between.
Our Unum Fellows program is a unique, non-partisan fellowship that supports Southern leaders
as they drive sustainable change in their communities. Through previous iterations of Unum
Fellows, leaders gained or expanded upon their understanding of how to address racial and
economic equity within communities. Each Unum Fellow learned from nationally recognized
experts, consulted with peers across the South, and designed and implemented an equity-
based project that to create meaningful change.
What We’re Looking For?
This year we’re focused on climate and environmental justice. We’re looking for public and civic sector leaders in the American South who are engaged in work on climate and the environment and who want to deepen their focus on racial equity. We’re seeking individuals who demonstrate:
- A strong commitment to learning about and promoting equity,
- Openness to continued learning and self-reflection,
- An awareness of environmental and climate issues in your community, and
- The will to meaningfully engage with community partners when building solutions.
We want to support projects where a year of flexible financial support will catalyze your work, impact, and results. Projects could include things like:
- A mayor launching a new workforce development program to prepare economically disadvantaged residents for green jobs;
- A state legislator improving regulations to protect at-risk communities from exposure to toxic chemicals;
- A senior official embedding equity in a city’s disaster preparedness efforts; or
- A non-profit leader developing interventions to improve air quality for residents.
We understand that this work takes time. Some projects may move forward by leaps and bounds during the fellowship, but still be multi-year projects. Others may produce complete bodies of work.
You can read about and meet our past cohorts to get a sense of the types of people and projects we look for.
What We Offer
We bring Fellows together over 18 months to learn and exchange ideas. The first phase will involve learning about equity and designing a responsive equity initiative. We’ll focus on:
- Foundational skill-building in applying a racial equity framework,
- Using disaggregated data to make the case for equity,
- Communicating effectively about equity, and
- Building strong partnerships with community.
In the second phase, we’ll support Fellows as they implement the project they’ve developed. Fellows will receive baseline funding of $10,000 for their projects, with the opportunity to apply for additional funding from EPU. (Note that during the fellowship a fiscal agent relationship must be established with a non-profit, community-based organization for project funding to be dispersed.)
However, we believe this fellowship is about more than money to do your work. Your cohort will become your community. You’ll be part of a tight-knit, catalytic group of fellows interested in climate and environmental justice who will be working on their projects alongside you.
You’ll be supported by experts stationed inside EPU and external advisors to EPU. You’ll have use of our deep connections to and across the South, its communities, its policymakers, and its racial justice champions, clergy, artists, movers, and shakers.
The fellowship runs for 18 months. The program is not full-time; we designed it to complement your current work and projects. As we want you to make the most of your EPU time and resources, Fellows are expected to fully participate in program convenings, webinars, and calls. Fellows should plan to spend around 5 – 7 hours a month on fellowship activities.
|Applications Open||January 27, 2023|
|Applications Close||March 15, 2023|
|Opening Convening in New Orleans, LA||June 14 – 16, 2023|
|Fellowship Concludes||November 2024|