Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowship

A one year fellowship for individuals seeking to make a difference in the struggle to eliminate hunger and poverty.

Emerson Fellowship: At a Glance


  • U.S. citizens and permanent residents
  • Fourth-year students and alumni

Selection Criteria:

  • Commitment to ending hunger, poverty and racism
  • Demonstrated leadership qualities and skills
  • Experience working in low-income communities
  • Enthusiasm for learning from peers and experts in the field

Candidates for the Bill Emerson Fellowship can affirm the following statements:

  • I can demonstrate my commitment to racial equity and social justice.
  • I have research, evaluation, organizing, advocacy, outreach, public education and/or problem-solving experiences and skills.
  • I wish to become an agent for change working on national anti-hunger and anti-poverty policy.

Extensive Description

What is the Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowship? The Emerson Fellowship is a program of the Congressional Hunger Center, a bipartisan nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop, inspire, and connect leaders in the movement to end hunger, and to advocate for public policies that create a food-secure world. For 30 years, Emerson Fellows worked in communities large and small, urban, suburban, and rural, with the shared goal of ending hunger and poverty in the U.S. Over 500 Emerson fellows completed the program, gaining experience in solutions to end hunger while expanding the capacity of nearly 300 organizations.

Duration, Placement, and Benefits: During the 11-month fellowship, Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellows develop a deep understanding of effective solutions to hunger and poverty, and their own roles in achieving Zero Hunger in the United States. Following orientation and field training in Washington, D.C., Emerson Fellows spend five months with community-based organizations throughout the United States. In mid-February fellows return to Washington for a second placement with organizations and government agencies focused on national anti-hunger and anti-poverty policy.

Throughout the fellowship, fellows hone essential skills and form a strong professional cohort through in-person trainings, retreats, and professional development sessions. Emerson Fellows typically receive financial packages of no less than $48,000 over the duration of the fellowship. Emerson alums pursuing Masters’ degrees in public health or public policy at select institutions of higher learning are eligible for significant discounts on tuition.

Deadline Information

Deadline: Friday, January 13, 2023


The fellowship begins with a comprehensive orientation exploring the history of hunger and poverty in the United States. Orientation is also a time for community-building among the fellows. Midway through their field placements fellows join a retreat to reflect on their experiences in the field and discuss their key insights about solutions to ending hunger and poverty. In February fellows reconvene to process their field experiences and participate in intensive policy training.

Eligibility Requirements

This is a highly competitive fellowship, with the following selection criteria:

  • A commitment to ending hunger and poverty in the United States
  • An ability to adjust and adapt to new situations
  • A commitment to racial equity and social justice
  • Demonstrated leadership qualities and skills
  • An ability to solve problems in creative and innovative ways
  • Enthusiasm for learning from a wide variety of individuals with expertise in the area anti-hunger/anti-poverty space; and a willingness to search for new models in anti-hunger and anti-poverty work
  • A lived experience with hunger and poverty
  • Experience working in low-income communities
  • Excitement about peer learning in a tightknit community of fellows
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent legal residency

Application Process

Apply using the online application form. Submit a three-page document, saved as a single PDF, which must include:

  • A one-page resume
  • A one-page personal statement, single spaced
  • A one-page response two essay questions, single spaced.

Further detail and advice on preparing your application is available here, page 14. For writing support, please contact Sandra Zupan by January 4.

For more information on this opportunity, please contact: 
Jenna Sarchio