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Summer 2017 Fellows standing or seated in wheelchairs, smiling and posing for the camera

Community Outreach/Grassroots Organizing Fellowship

The National Leadership Program: Community Outreach/Grassroots Organizing Fellowship

RespectAbility has recently developed its volunteer corps format and is seeking a Fellow who can support the recruitment, meaningful engagement and retainment of our highly valued volunteers. See our online volunteer corps information here.

Steve Rabinowitz with RespectAbility Staff and Fellows in front of the RespectAbility banner

Communications Expert Steve Rabinowitz with RespectAbility Fellows and Staff

Through the RespectAbility Volunteer Corps, we aim to amplify our work “from sea to shining sea.”  Most of our volunteers are currently clustered in specific cities and states—we plan to grow our presence and actively engage volunteers in many more cities and states. We do so by identifying volunteers who are in our Communities of Practices (geographically-focused partnerships that convene local stakeholders to work together for the local disability community); individuals with disabilities; media and the entertainment industry; stakeholders in the faith community; funders; workforce professionals; employers health and service providers; disability organizations; and local elected officials.

Fellows – including Community Outreach/Grassroots Organizing Fellows – will be closely involved in this critical work while stationed at our office in Rockville, MD. Our program is fully accessible for people with disabilities and offers full-time in-house job coaching, skills development and networking opportunities. Assistive technology and personal care support are available as needed.

Who We Want

The National Leadership Program is ideal for people who want to gain skills and contacts while making a positive difference for people with disabilities. We are looking for thoughtful and results-driven individuals who want to achieve breakthrough results while getting hands-on experience. The Fellowship is for college and graduate students, as well as for people transitioning into the workforce for the first time, or back into the workforce after a break. Fellows ideally will have an interest in the nonprofit/faith inclusion sector. Past inclusion experience is not necessary.

Fellowship Duties

The Community Outreach Fellow will work closely with our Community Outreach & Impact Director and with our National Leadership Program Director. Individual projects will be assigned based on an individual’s unique skill set and their own ability to “bring something to the table.”

Self Advocacy Panelists at the 2019 RespectAbility Summit smile together behind a table with RespectAbility's logo on it

Self Advocacy Panelists at the 2019 RespectAbility Capitol Hill Summit

Specific tasks might include best practices research; event planning; media and political outreach; database consolidation and data entry; and tracking task assignments, phone calls, and follow up with volunteers.

The Community Outreach Fellows will learn about all of our other issue areas and departments too. The Fellowship helps both to increase a Fellow’s skill set and to advance RespectAbility’s mission.

Each Fellow will receive many opportunities to learn new skills, network and gain direct experiences. In addition to hands-on work experiences, all Fellows will participate in special presentations by guest speakers and intensive strategic communications workshops. A career plan will be developed by each Fellow that will enable him or her to gain appropriate workplace experience while contributing directly and measurably to RespectAbility’s impact. Upon the completion of the Fellowship program, applicants can expect to come away with excellent experience in the fields of inclusion, policy, strategic communications and fundraising; fair knowledge of issues for people with disabilities; and leadership skills to help them grow into confident advocates.

Important Details for Applicants

  • Excellent communication and organizational skills are strongly preferred, and Fellows should exhibit leadership skills to complete their own projects.
  • Strong preference for college juniors and above.
  • Commit for a minimum of nine weeks.
  • Hours are 9-5. Summer Fellows are required to work a minimum of 35 hours per week and Spring/Fall Fellows should be able to work at least 20 hours a week, though 40 hours per week is preferred.
  • There is no tuition cost to do the Fellowship, and stipend Fellows will be awarded $300 a month as a transportation reimbursement.
  • A limited number of paid Fellowships will receive $15/hr for a total of 360 hours of work.
  • The Fellowship takes place in Rockville, Maryland. The office is a short distance from the White Flint Metro Station on the Red Line.
  • Your cover letter must explain why this Fellowship in particular is of interest to you and why you believe you have the skills, focus and independent drive to make a positive difference in your time with us at RespectAbility.

RespectAbility provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, veteran status or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, RespectAbility complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

Fill out the linked Google Doc Form and send your resume and cover letter to Ben Spangenberg at to apply for any of our National Leadership Program opportunities! If you are applying for a paid Fellowship, explain in your cover letter how you can advance diversity and intersectionality issues.




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HQ: 11333 Woodglen Drive, #102, Rockville, MD 20852
West Coast: 350 S Bixel Street
Los Angeles CA 90017

Office Number: 202-517-6272


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