Black to the Future Public Policy Institute:

FAQ 2023

Black to the Future Public Policy Institute:
FAQ 2023

To help you with the application process, here are frequently asked questions regarding:

If you don’t see your question answered here, please contact us:


The Institute

What is the Black to the Future Public Policy Institute? What is the social justice framework of the Institute?
Black to the Future Public Policy Institute (The Institute) is a policy advocacy and leadership training fellowship that provides the tools needed to transform Black communities into constituencies that wield independent, Black political power.
What is the cost of the Institute?

The Institute is free of charge. Fellows will be required to participate in the program using a computer and internet access. If they do not have access to a computer/internet, the Institute has a “loaner” program that will provide equipment and internet access.

Who has participated in the past?

For a look at the Institute’s prior cohort, see here.

When are the program dates?
Sessions will take place from 1:00-2:45pm ET (10:00-11:45am PT) every Tuesday, starting on September 12, 2023 and ending April 23, 2023.
What is the time commitment during the Institute? Will the program be remote?

Institute trainings will take place online via Zoom over an eight month period. Trainings will occur on Tuesdays from 1:00-2:45pm ET (10:00-11:45am PT). Attendance in live webinar sessions is mandatory, and all team members are expected to be actively engaged in the program. Fellows may not miss more than a total of 3 webinar sessions throughout the course of the Institute. If more than 3 sessions are missed, the Sponsoring Organization will forfeit at least one monthly stipend. Continuous absences will result in being dismissed from the program. If this occurs, monthly stipends to the Sponsoring Organization will cease. The only exception will occur if additional fellowship team members continue participating in the Institute and are still working at the Sponsoring Organization.

What are some examples of training sessions to expect?

The training sessions will cover a wide range of topics, including but not limited to:

  • The Policy Making Process
  • Analysis of Targeted Policy Areas, including: Democracy/Voting, the Economy, Public Health/Healthcare, Criminal-Legal Systems and Abolition Fights, Structural Barriers and Reform
  • Solving for Structural Inequity
  • Building Political Power
  • Policy Research & Strategy Development

In all, there will be 30 sessions, some of which are built in work time to give teams the time they need to work with mentors to build out their policy campaign.


Can individuals/teams not in CA, GA, LA, NC, and WI apply?
Yes, applicants from other states will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
I am employed in an industry that is different from my proposed policy campaign. Can I still apply?
Yes, you may still be eligible for the program, as long as you have a Sponsoring Organization associated with your policy proposal listed on your application. Your Sponsoring Organization must be actively engaged in working on the issues related to your policy idea and have a proven track record of supporting Black communities.
As an individual member of a team, I’m currently self-employed or unemployed. Am I eligible for the Institute?

No. In order to be eligible for the Institute, all applicants must be employed and sponsored by a Sponsoring Organization. The Sponsoring Organization listed in your application must be associated with your policy proposal.

I am an undergraduate or graduate college student and not currently employed by an organization. Am I eligible for the Institute?
No, you are not eligible.
I am working or volunteering with an elected official or candidate. Would this impact my eligibility for the Institute?
If you are in a paid role with an elected official, you are eligible to apply. However, if you are a paid and/or unpaid staff member working on a candidate’s election campaign, you are not eligible.

Sponsoring Organizations

What is the role of a Sponsoring Organization?
Participants are expected to work in coordination with their Sponsoring Organization to create a policy plan to be initiated in 2023/24. Sponsoring Organizations are required to commit to the goals of the Institute and provide ongoing support to the individuals they are sponsoring, throughout the duration of the program and policy campaign. For more information regarding the role of the Sponsoring Organization and criteria, see the Call for Applications.
What is the criteria for a Sponsoring Organization?
Sponsoring Organizations can be a for-profit, non-profit, or government group. Applicants must be employed with a Sponsoring Organization in order to be eligible for the program. Sponsoring Organizations must already support Black communities and be committed to having an impact on public policy. Sponsoring Organizations must provide operational support and guidance to participants during their campaign.
Do I have to have a Sponsoring Organization? Why?
Yes, each fellow is required to have a Sponsoring Organization. The Institute is designed to support existing organizing work, with organizations that have a proven track record of supporting Black communities. Sponsoring Organizations will be asked to provide ongoing support to the individuals they are sponsoring, throughout the duration of the program and policy campaign.
Is a Sponsoring Organization required to sponsor one individual or ALL members of a policy campaign team?
Sponsoring Organizations can provide sponsorship to one individual and/or multiple members of a team. A team may also have multiple Sponsoring Organizations involved in providing support. All members of a policy campaign team must be sponsored by a Sponsoring Organization.
If I don’t have a Sponsoring Organization, does the Institute have a way of matching applicants with an organization?
No, interested applicants must already have a Sponsoring Organization that can support them in implementing the policy campaign.

Application Requirements & Timeline

When is the application due?

The application is due June 20, 2023 at 8pm ET/5pm PT.

Is there an interview process? When do interviews take place?
Finalists are expected to participate in one 30-45 minute interview with Institute leadership. Finalist interviews will be conducted July 20-21, 2023.
What should I know about the interviews?
Interviews will take place from July 20-21, 2023. The full campaign team will be required to participate, along with at least one member of the Sponsoring Organizations’ executive leadership team. Candidates will be expected to discuss their policy proposal and answer questions related to their campaign idea.
When will I hear back about my application?
Applicants will be notified by the end of July if they have been selected to move forward with the interview process.
What can I do to strengthen my application?
The application will be judged based upon the criteria outlined in the Call for Applications. The policy idea detailed in your application will play an important role in the application review and interview process.
The application calls for an ‘in-depth policy idea’. How detailed does the policy idea have to be?

Because the Institute is focused on providing fellows with the tools to build a campaign from the ground up, we do not expect you to be ready to move on your idea right away. However, we do expect you to clearly articulate:

  • The problem you are trying to solve
  • The type of policy you would like to move
  • Timeline for moving your policy
Can the applicant choose the campaign that they want to pursue with their team, or is one given to us or determined for us by the Institute?
The applicant is responsible for proposing a campaign they want to achieve with their team, not the Institute.
Are there any other materials we will need to provide?
Applicants will be required to submit .jpg or .png photos of themselves and each member of the team. The maximum file limit per photo is 10 MB. If you are selected for the program, photos will be used for marketing materials.


Will I be matched with the mentor I have requested in my application?
We cannot guarantee placement with the mentor you have selected in the application. The Institute will match mentors with teams based upon issue area expertise, skill-set and project needs.
What if I do not have a specific mentor in mind that I would like to work with?
We recommend assessing who from your current network might be able to support you in your work. However, a mentor does not have to be someone you have an existing relationship with. Our goal is to get a deeper sense of the skills and expertise you might require to successfully implement your policy idea. Mentors will be able to fill that gap and provide technical expertise to help you achieve your objectives.

Campaign Teams

My team members are located across different states. Can we apply for the Institute together?
Applicants applying as a team located in the same state will be given priority. Applicants located in different states, but working on a policy goal in the same municipality or state, will be considered on a case by case basis.
My team members come from different organizations. Can we apply for the Institute together?
Yes, a campaign team may have multiple Sponsoring Organizations involved in providing support to different team members.
I don’t have a team. Can the Institute match me with a team?

We strongly encourage applicants to form their own teams and apply as a group. If you don’t have a team but have a detailed policy idea you would like to pursue in your state, please contact the for more information about connecting with other applicants/potential team members.