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We know governments are being asked to address increasingly complex issues with few resources. Many are struggling to prepare for a large percentage of impending staff retirements and lack of a talent pool that reflects the diversity of their communities. Local governments will benefit from the skills and the time commitments of these fellows without having to spend precious time and capital recruiting and training new personnel.

Do you think an LFNC Fellow can make a difference within your organization?


Some of the fellows might serve across governmental jurisdictions or serve an entire region. For example, strong regional councils of government might host a fellow or provide projects or mentors for fellows. Or a county and municipality could share a fellow.  LFNC is using this pilot program to test a few different types of host/fellow pairings in order to determine which structures best meet program goals and maximize impact for our local communities.


Fellows will be given specialized training from leading public service and MPA programs on topics like economic development or community health prior to beginning their service so that they can be immediately impactful in your community. The Fellow will be further trained and supported over the course of two years by Lead for America, MPA faculty and staff, and staff or members from local government associations. Fellow candidates for each role will be specifically identified and recruited for the skillset matching your needs, for their prior connection to your community, and for their demonstrated interest in remaining in the community after completing their service. Local governments are encouraged to make full-time offers to Fellows prior to the end of their Fellowship to retain the Fellows as part of their workforce.


Local governments also benefit from the cohort nature of the Fellowship. Every few weeks, Fellows are able to nominate a community challenge. Selected communities then benefit from a team of Fellows, working under the guidance and direction of MPA faculty and Lead for America staff, to conduct research and otherwise provide assistance and recommendations. Finally, Fellows can help your community tap into additional resources. In the case of successful Fellowship placements–those in which both the host government and Fellow have a positive experience–we work to send future cohorts of homegrown Fellows to the area and equip the Fellows to forge stronger connections between regional universities and the community’s public institutions, non-profits, and small businesses.


Host Commitment

Local Government Qualifications / Fellow Work

We are using the pilot program to test a few different models in order to determine which best meets program goals and maximizes its impact in the state. There will be different criteria used to evaluate local governments based on their economic tier. However, all host local governments must meet the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated need for additional capacity to help local government with general operations or to address a specific local or regional need
  • Ability and willingness to supervise, mentor, and support fellow (in local governments without the management form of government, the administrator, clerk, finance officer, or other department head may serve as the fellow’s mentor/supervisor)
  • Ability to contribute to financial cost of hosting fellow (based on sliding scale)
  • Ability to enter into 2-year contractual commitment with fellow
  • Willingness to participate in program training and evaluation

Additionally, host local government(s) will agree to:

    • Assign an internal champion/mentor. While LFA provides robust support externally, we believe it’s even more essential that there is a key stakeholder, whether a director or senior government manager (city/county manager, clerk, department head, etc), that directly mentors and otherwise supports the Fellow during the two years. The internal mentor will work with the fellow’s supervisors to identify appropriate professional development opportunities.
    • Integrate fellow into local government staff. Prepare local government staff to welcome fellow and treat fellow as professional colleague. Engage in LFNC training related to fellow support.
    • Connect fellow with broader community. Help fellow identify opportunities to connect with community leaders and organizations outside the local government.
    • Facilitate fellow’s growth and professional development. The fellow’s supervisor (and others) will provide regular constructive feedback to the fellow about his/her work and engage in a formal performance evaluation process at least once per year. The fellow’s supervisor will work with the fellow’s mentor to identify appropriate professional development opportunities.


  • Participate in all LFNC Trainings and Ongoing Support Opportunities for Fellows. Local governments will have



Financial Commitment

All local governments are expected to financially contribute to the fellowship model. Our fellowship model covers a living stipend for the fellows (paid at minimum wage), a housing stipend, health insurance, and accounts for human resource costs incurred by the local government. Additionally, our financial model covers the 4-week summer training for the fellows, room and board, ongoing training opportunities, professional development events, and ongoing support to the fellows.

Local governments should expect to contribute up to $50,000 each year to host a fellow. The final cost of the fellowship varies based off housing opportunities for fellows, fellow health insurance, human resource costs, and state retirement mandates. With the generous support of private donors, foundations, and corporations LFNC is able to offer a subsidy for local governments located in Tier I communities.


Local governments located in Tier II and Tier III counties are asked to pay the full freight of the fellowship (up to $50,000). Tier II and Tier III communities can work with the UNC School of Government Advancement team to identify community-based foundations and private philanthropic support to help offset the local government contribution.


For more questions on financing the fellow, please reach out to Dylan Russell (interim Executive Director of Lead for North Carolina) at



If you are interested in applying to host a fellow for the August 2019 cohort please reach out to Dylan Russell (interim Executive Director of Lead for North Carolina) at


Meet the host governments – to be created later