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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’s Community Outreach and Impact division plays a continually evolving role within RespectAbility. It includes developing and delivering innovative programs – both in-person and virtual – as well as cultivating the RespectAbility Volunteer Corps, and conducting community outreach in a variety of forms. Some examples are: overseeing our annual Capitol Hill Summit (virtual in 2020); developing and implementing a first-ever Empowerment Training Series for Women with Disabilities in NYC and its subsequent Women and Nonbinary Speakers Bureau: NYC; overseeing a state-by-state push for National Disability Employment Awareness Month; responding to COVID-19 by advocating for people with disabilities who use SNAP (food stamps) with a dozen state governors and their SNAP directors, and facilitating townhall-style Zoom gatherings for people who are low-vision and blind; developing RespectAbility’s credentialing program in Disability, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (dDEI); and more. 

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

Communications Expert Steve Rabinowitz with RespectAbility Fellows and Staff

Its energetic director, Debbie Fink, is seeking a Fellow who enjoys “tapas” – a taste of a variety of community outreach efforts; who thinks outside the box, yet who also is okay doing routine work; and who looks to grow in both confidence and competence.

The RespectAbility Volunteer Corps recruits and cultivates 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.

All Fellows – including Community Outreach/Grassroots Organizing Fellows – will be closely involved in this critical work while working remotely. 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/community organizing 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 them to gain appropriate workplace experience while contributing directly and measurably to RespectAbility’s impact. Upon the completion of the Fellowship program, graduates 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 seniors and above.
  • Commitment for a minimum of nine weeks.
  • Hours are 9-5. Fellows are required to work a minimum of 15 hours per week though more is appreciated and more hours per week is preferred.
  • There is no tuition cost to do the Fellowship, and stipend Fellows will be awarded $300 a month.
  • 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.


  • A minimum commitment of 15 hours per week.
  • Participation in staff meetings three days per week.
  • Attendance in weekly speaker series.
  • Work with the National Leadership Program Director on advancing your career goals. This will include strengthening your resume, cover letter and building your professional network.


Fill out the form below and send your resume and cover letter to Ben Spangenberg at to apply for any of our National Leadership Program opportunities!




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    Los Angeles CA 90017

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