Lead For America

Lead For America is a nonpartisan two-year fellowship program for recent grads dedicated to building community through strengthening and transforming local government institutions. Fellows serve in cities and towns across the country, but it places emphasis on selecting and supporting Fellows who see the Fellowship as a means of continuing service to a community, particularly if that community currently struggles to attract and retain talent.

For some Fellows that may be their hometown or college town, for others it may be a community they have otherwise lived in, visited, or studied. In all cases, prospective Fellows must be able to articulate why they want to serve in a particular town, region, or state.

It seeks Fellows who prioritize humility, service, and collective impact over self-advancement, who are just as committed to developing their character as they are their careers, and who are willing to question and vigorously pursue the intersection of their talents and the world's--and their communities’--deep need.


  • Be a US Citizen, Permanent Resident, or DACA Recipient. Most of our Local Government Partners don’t have the resources to go through the process of sponsoring a visa.

  • Earned your undergraduate degree by the time the Summer Institute in July, and that undergraduate degree received within the past two years.  The Fellowship is designed for recent grads (meaning graduating seniors, those a year or two into their careers, or grad students with a year or two of advanced schooling).

  • Have not already obtained an MPA degree.

  • While it doesn’t have a GPA cutoff, but the LFA does have high expectations across the board for our Fellows. If your classroom performance isn’t an accurate reflection of your abilities, make sure to let LFA know why in your application.

Period of Study

After summer training, the Fellowship consists of a full-time, two-year commitment to work at a LFA Government Partner.


After the Summer Institute, Fellows will head off to their host cities, towns, and counties and begin working at the local governments. Fellows will directly report to a key decision maker in the government and will be given immediate responsibility.

No two positions are exactly alike and each experience is sure to offer significant variety. In general, though, Fellows will be working as assistants to mayors, city and county managers, and other stakeholders, working directly on special projects that these officials believe could really move the needle for community members.


The application has three stages.

1) Submit your initial application, which includes demographic and personal information, a resume or CV, and a few short answer questions.

2) Complete the semifinalist application, which includes a short, 15-minute virtual interview, a personal statement, and two letters of recommendation.

3) Attend a final interview, where you will present your response to a public sector case study to local government executives and interview with public service leaders.


Typically, applications are due in early November.

Specific deadlines and additional information is available on the Lead for America website


Class Year

  • Senior
  • Recent Graduate
  • Post-baccalaureate


  • Arts
  • Business
  • Communication
  • Education
  • Health
  • Humanities
  • International Affairs
  • Public Affairs/Government
  • Social Sciences
  • STEM
  • Multiple


  • English


  • Yearlong

Program Type

  • Post-Graduate
  • Professional
  • Public Service


  • North America

GWU Sponsored?


GWU Endorsement Required?