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Policy Entrepreneur Fellowship

Grass with dandelions


The Forum’s Policy Entrepreneurship Fellowship is a three-person cohort comprised of Black leaders with a passion for advancing transformative change and a desire for developing policies that improve the lives of Black Minnesotans. It’s the only such fellowship/cohort like this in Minnesota.

In 2020 the Twin Cities region became an international symbol of racial violence and gross inequity, resulting in troubled consequences from decades of inaction. Today Black Minnesotans continue to live with some of the worst health, wealth and education disparities in U.S. The African American Leadership Forum recognizes this struggle for racial and social justice as not merely a complication, but an opportunity with a responsibility to make Minnesota a model for systemic change.

This critical work isn’t new to us at The Forum. Since 2006, we’ve been engaged in advancing racial equity. 2020 gave us the chance to re-engage in a broader and more expansive way. Now we’ve launched our Policy Entrepreneurship Fellowship; a new generation– a fortified pipeline of policy leaders working on issues that matter most to them and their community. If you have experience organizing campaigns, protesting in the streets, perhaps even lobbying, running for office or launching a business or start-up, we encourage you to consider this fellowship. Whatever you thought you were skilled at, our fellowship will make you even better. We need a foundation of shared priorities and bold solutions that center Black communities, putting Black-led institutions in the lead.


Two years commencing in June 2023


$75,000 full-time with benefits


Minnesota residency or relocation required


In early 2023, The Forum started recruiting Black leaders who shared a passion for advancing transformative change through a desire to develop policies that improve the lives of Black Minnesotans. Three Policy Entrepreneur Fellows who will work with The Forum for two years to develop uniquely innovative policy solutions that lead to advocacy and action. 

Our goal was to find a trio of fellows from different backgrounds and experiences, both in and out of public policy, to ensure that we’re expanding the capacity of Black policy experts, by funneling new people into the leadership pipeline.  

Policy Entrepreneurs are individuals who are not satisfied with the status quo.

They are persistent in pursuing innovative ideas to advance policy strategies. 

They employ nontraditional strategies in their work, including their lived experiences, as that enhances their ability to create policy solutions that address the needs of those most impacted and often overlooked. 

They are not afraid to take risks, to ask the critical questions, and to improve not just the work we do, but how we do the work. 

This threesome of PEF’s will work with our Minneapolis-based team for two years to drive policy change at the state and/or national level. They’ll receive an annual salary of $75,000, with competitive benefits and professional development training on the skills necessary for conducting policy research, development and advocacy. A Minnesota residence is mandatory to qualify for this fellowship

    • Someone passionate about creating a stronger, more progressive and more inclusive Minnesota.
    • Someone who believes in the power of policy ideas to create that society more quickly.
    • Someone who has a public policy problem they want to solve, and is determined to develop solutions, not just research problems.
    • Someone who wants to explore the root causes of a problem, conduct original research in this area and develop creative policy solutions.
    • Someone who is  a rigorous thinker, committed to using policy levers to create a fairer society.
    • Someone who is a thinker and a doer not intimidated by complex problems, but committed to clever solutions and what’s necessary to craft change.
    • Someone who is prepared to learn from and support others to make policy progress. You believe in the power of people, that impacted individuals and communities must be at the table to drive better public policy.
    • You may have politics, policy, direct service, campaign or organizing experience—or you may not. You may have experienced the very challenge you want to solve—or you may not. You must, however, be committed to showing how citizens, businesses, government, and philanthropy can unite to prioritize the social and economic well-being of Black people.
    • Research, develop, and advocate for transformative public policy solutions that will better the lives of Black Minnesotans.
    • Work directly with Black communities to develop innovative and original policy solutions that directly impact their lives.
    • Support the building and advancement of The Forum’s Black Agenda for Change.
    • Create and publish your research and policy ideas, promote them and advocate for them in state and national arenas.
    • Collaborate with fellow Policy Entrepreneur Fellows and staff members on your research, working across issue areas to ensure continuity and a holistic approach to systemic change.
    • Learn, develop, and grow in your research, policy, advocacy, and communication skills, as well as expand your network of advocates, policy and government leaders, and change agents in your field.

We have no Policy Entrepreneur Fellowships open now.

Our fellows

  • Kendrick Walton headshot

    Kendrick Walton

  • Busisiwe Hands

    Policy Entrepreneur Fellow

  • Samuel Benda

    Policy Entrepreneur Fellow


“This fellowship has provided me with a distinctive chance to collaborate with and gain knowledge from exceptional individuals. The program presents a suitable level of challenge, and the team’s support, coupled with the emphasis on fostering a sense of community and networking, makes this experience truly invaluable.”

— Kendrick Walton
2023-2025 Policy Entrepreneur Fellow


  • Full Time Salary & Benefits

  • Two days per week in office attendance

  • Integral role of the Data, Research & Policy Unit

  • Annual Professional Leadership Development experience: Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference in Washington D.C. in 2023