Bohnett Leaders Fellowship FAQ

How are Fellows selected and financial awards determined?

Acceptance into the Fellowship and the financial award provided are considered on an individual basis. Each year we weigh the number of qualified candidates accepted into the Harvard Kennedy School and make final award decisions based on a variety of factors, including an applicant’s demonstrated need and Victory’s available resources. Final fellowship awards in this competitive process are at the discretion of the selection committee composed of Bohnett Fellowship alumni, longtime supporters and staff.

Who makes the decision about acceptance to the Harvard Kennedy School’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government program?

Harvard Kennedy School reviews all applications for the Senior Executives program. In order to be considered for the Fellowship, applicants must first be admitted by HKS.

Is it possible to get accepted to Harvard Kennedy School but not receive a Fellowship?

Yes. While we make every attempt to be supportive of LGBTQ applicants to the Senior Executives program, we are unable to financially support all qualified applicants.

What factors do you look for in deciding who will receive a fellowship?

All applicants must have demonstrated leadership and potential for further growth and development in their career. The strongest candidates are typically mid-career. Each class of Fellows reflects a broad and diverse spectrum of functional responsibilities and levels of government. After a decade of Bohnett Fellows, Victory has come to value those who express a desire to be more involved in the overall work of Victory, and also creating a class that represents the diversity of the LGBTQ community.

What if I have only recently become open about my LGBTQ identity as a public official, or if I have limited experience with LGBTQ advocacy or the LGBTQ community?

Victory exists to increase the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in public office and to provide programming, service and other support to help ensure their success. While we will evaluate all candidates on a variety of factors, the only steadfast requirement is that a candidate be fully open about their LGBTQ identity.

How many years of career experience should I have before applying to the Senior Executives Program?

Victory respects every level and commitment to career development and will take that into account in looking at awarding Fellowships.

Victory does not have a minimum number of years of service for eligibility to receive a fellowship. We have found the most successful candidates for the program have worked professionally for more than 15 years. All applicants are examined individually.

What costs does the Fellowship cover?

In collaboration with The David Bohnett Foundation, the Victory Institute provides a limited number of partial scholarships for Bohnett Fellows. Previously, Victory covered roughly half of the tuition fees for 10-12 Fellows each year. In 2013, Victory anticipates accepting a smaller class of Fellows in order to cover a larger portion of the tuition. In addition, U.S. continental travel is provided by Southwest Airlines where available.

We encourage all applicants to consider other ways of raising or contributing to the costs of attending the program.

What other resources can I turn to for financial assistance?

Past Fellows have received funding from local Rotary Clubs and other foundations. If you are ultimately awarded fellowships from Victory and another funder, we will work with you to make a complete package.

Attendees have also found some assistance from their employers’ continuing education programs and other groups to which they belong, as well as assistance from personal connections willing to invest in their future.

What are the expectations of Fellows?

Fellows naturally find ways to bond and support each other throughout the course of the program. All Fellows meet on the Sunday evening prior to classes for an orientation meal exclusively for Fellows. On the first Monday morning of their program session, they participate in a lecture with a noted speaker, and share lunch with supporters of the program and Harvard staff. A celebratory dinner is held the final Wednesday of the program.

Fellows are also expected to attend the annual David Bohnett LGBTQ Leadership Fellowship reception at the International LGBTQ Leadership Conference.

Many of the more than 100 alumni of the Fellowship have remained an integral part of the Victory family and help promote the work of Victory and the Fellowship. Alumni are also integral to each year’s application process by connecting and referring strong applicants to the program — each applicant is required to have a recommendation from an alumnus.

There are two classes in the summer, June and July. Is one better than the other?

The content is identical for both sessions. We make every effort to balance our selection of Fellows between the two classes to have representation in each cohort.

Is it possible to provide my own housing?

As an integral part of the program and of the overall experience, all Senior Executives program participants are required to be housed on campus in an environment that lends itself to constructive interaction between program participants. The cost of housing cannot be separated from the total cost of the program, and all program participants must room with another program participant — typically this is not another Fellow.