Wellstone Organizing Fellows
The Wellstone Organizing Fellows program provides leadership and civic engagement training, ongoing support, and mentoring for emerging leaders from Minnesota’s progressive communities of color. This distinctive program identifies new leaders and invests in them. We have a proud history of working with American Indian, African American, Asian, Somali, Latino, and Hmong individuals, communities, and organizations, and our staff has the experience and ability to address the unique challenges that organizers of color face in today’s political landscape.
Because of ongoing demographic shifts, the potential power of communities of color, immigrants, and young people has never been greater. The number and capacity of sophisticated civic engagement efforts has increased dramatically. Nonprofit organizations in the region’s growing communities of color are increasingly focusing on building greater power and strengthening their effectiveness in advancing issues that best represent their needs and issues. These individuals and organizations are the most trusted messengers in underrepresented communities and will be there after the election to continue working on the issues that matter most.
Launched in 2006 and offered bi-annually, over 60 Fellows have been placed in community organizations to develop and implement voter engagement programs. Fellows participate in intensive voter engagement training with emphasis on grassroots organizing, leadership development, issue advocacy, and nonpartisan electoral mobilization. Fellows become a part of an ongoing Fellows Cohort working through the current election cycle, and they address voter engagement in communities of color and build organizational capacity to engage in electoral organizing. Fellows also increase participation of communities of color in the state-based tables that are coordinating Minnesota’s electoral strategy.
We work closely with partner organizations to identify potential Fellows and strategically match the needs and interests of organizations to the skills and interests of our Fellows. While the program has a primary emphasis on young people, it is open to new organizers regardless of age, which creates a rich opportunity for cross-generational dialogue that proves very valuable to all participants and provides important historical perspective.
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