What is the Voqal Fellowship?

The Voqal Fellowship is an investment in a new generation of social entrepreneurs. Fellows receive financial resources and mentoring to bring an early-stage idea to life. The Voqal Fellowship is an opportunity for early career innovators to test assumptions, research target audiences and build strong business plans.

Voqal Fellows receive a $30,000 stipend to complete a project in six months. Candidates cannot be currently enrolled in a full-time educational program. The Fellowship is intended to provide an opportunity to build out an idea or concept that would not be possible to accomplish with a full-time job. Qualifying Fellows may also be eligible to receive an additional stipend to help offset the cost of personal health insurance.

The Voqal Fellowship is designed to further progressive, social justice-oriented causes. Ideal applicants will have a specific issue or challenge they want to address over the course of the Fellowship. Projects can be broad in scope, or a simple tool that will help resolve a social inequity or lead to progressive social change.

How can I apply?

When applications are open, you can apply online at https://voqal.org/our-work/offering-fellowships/. Applications for the 2019 Fellowship have ended. Please check back in Fall of 2019 for more detailed information about the 2020 Fellowship.

What is required of Fellows?

Soon after the Fellowship is awarded, Fellows must submit an action plan, including a project timeline with distinct milestones. Fellows must treat these six months as a sabbatical and refrain from full-time work. All Fellows must submit a final product that sums up their work once the Fellowship ends.

Voqal Fellows must attend an in-person orientation and a wrap-up meeting. The orientation is typically in February in Denver and the wrap-up meeting is at the annual Netroots Nation conference in the summer (time and location vary each year). Voqal will cover travel expenses in addition to the Fellowship stipend.

I applied for the last round of the Fellowship. Can I apply again?

Yes, if you are still eligible.

How many Fellows are chosen?

In 2019, Voqal accepted eight Fellows, though this may vary from year-to-year.

When will Fellows start?

Start dates are somewhat flexible. Once selected, Fellows can start as early as February. All Fellows will be required to submit a project action plan and timeline with start and end dates before a start date is set.

Who is an ideal candidate?

Ideal candidates for the Fellowship are driven, tech-savvy social change agents who thrive under self-direction. We are recruiting creative thinkers with a track record of advancing social change and/or using innovative solutions to help communities.

Does location matter?

The Voqal Fellowship is virtual and Fellows can be based anywhere in the United States. However, we are especially interested in locations where we have a broad base of partners: Chicago, Denver, Twin Cities and Portland. Voqal will not consider international projects.

Candidates must be U.S. citizens or be able to work in the U.S. Voqal cannot offer Visa sponsorship to Fellows.

Is there an age limit for Fellows?

The Fellowship is designed for early career professionals working on an idea-stage project. We are aware that people take many different paths along their career track so if you consider yourself to be in the early stages of your current career, we encourage you to apply.

What types of projects are you looking for?

If you have a passion for social justice, progressive politics or transformative media and technology, this program is for you. Here are a few (but not all) types of projects Fellows could pursue:

  • Mobile Apps
  • Media Products
  • Information Access
  • Tools for Wrangling Big Datasets
  • Algorithms
  • Software for Social Change Agents
  • Websites

Will there be opportunities to connect with other Fellows?

Yes. There will be two in-person gatherings each Fellowship cycle: an orientation and a wrap-up meeting. We will also organize monthly check-ins and educational conference calls/Google hangouts to help Fellows troubleshoot and share ideas with one another. Fellows will also be assigned a mentor for the duration of the Fellowship.