Nick Guthman is a former Voqal Fellow and is the co-founder and executive director of Blue Future. Below he shares some reasons why you should apply for the 2020 Voqal Fellowship.
It was a cold, rainy day in December of 2017 when I received an email from Voqal. It said, “you have been selected to join the 2018 cohort of the Voqal Fellowship.” I was ecstatic, and while the day itself may have been cold and rainy, the future was looking bright!
Looking back on the one and half year journey since that day, I couldn’t be more grateful to have earned the support of Voqal for the civic engagement start-up I founded called Blue Future. A mentor encouraged me to apply, and now YOU have the opportunity to apply too. If you have an idea for a project or business that could bring about progressive change, here are three reasons why you should apply to the Voqal Fellowship.
1. You will grow professionally and personally.
I had real imposter syndrome when I applied for the Voqal Fellowship. I was 22 years old. I had no clue what it took to run a business. I had no formal training in fundraising or organizational development. But Voqal believed in me before I believed in myself.
Once I was accepted to the 2018 cohort, I was equipped with the tools and network to grow my own leadership strengths. I was provided with the opportunity to fail, and if there’s one thing the Fellowship taught me, it’s that through failure, tremendous growth becomes possible. Failure is something that many of us are afraid of, yet by investing in the early-stage development of progressive technology, Voqal is putting their money where their mouth is and trusting resilient leaders to persevere through failure.
Professionally, I’ve learned so much more than I could imagine learning in any other job. I’ve been given the opportunity to explore problems, and design solutions, that force me to use every part of my brain, from fundraising to graphic design, and everything in between. I’ve learned how to create structures and systems to build an innovative, cost-effective program to unleash youth civic engagement. Personally, I’ve felt more connected to my community and Voqal has given me the opportunity to build a life rooted in my values of justice, democracy and freedom.
2. You will meet incredible intersectional changemakers.
The cohort model of the Fellowship is invaluable. Whereas my focus for the Fellowship was about engaging more young people in progressive electoral politics, other Fellows who are now good friends, continue to work on immigration, organizing and activist training, reshaping media narratives, developing the future of equitable block-chain technology, addressing the nonprofit industrial complex and much more. The various projects that Fellows take on are a microcosm for the intersectional and multi-faceted approach we must take as a movement if we truly want to build a world filled with dignity, equity and joy. Voqal is modeling the way for a multi-pronged investment strategy, and the cohort and our world is better because of it.
3. You will be the change.
Above all, you should apply to the Voqal Fellowship because in these times we all have an opportunity and responsibility to work for change. It is not enough to post on social media, or even donate to the causes that you care about. We must do more. If you’re reading this, you likely are at least thinking about applying to this one-of-a-kind Fellowship. I hope you will because we need your skills, your perspective and your understanding of whatever social challenge you’re hoping to solve. We can do better.
And because we can, we must.
Interested in applying for the 2020 Voqal Fellowship? Visit our offering fellowships page to sign up to receive an e-mail when applications open on September 3.