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Polikoff-Gautreaux Fellowship In Depth

The Fellowship was created in 1999 to honor Alexander Polikoff, who served as BPI’s Executive Director for 29 years, and Dorothy Gautreaux, the public housing activist who gave her name to Polikoff’s landmark lawsuit.

Each fall, BPI hires a recent law or policy school graduate to become a Polikoff-Gautreaux Fellow for a two-year term, beginning the following fall. Fellows do not create stand-alone projects, but instead are fully integrated into BPI’s staff as attorneys and policy analysts.

After completing their service at BPI, Polikoff Gautreaux fellows have gone on to pursue successful careers in affordable housing law, legal aid, civil rights advocacy, nonprofit leadership, and government.

Applications for the 2022 Fellowship will be accepted from August 1, 2021 – October 15, 2021.

A Day in the Life of a BPI Fellow

As a result of the range issues BPI’s work addresses and the complex political dilemmas they present, working at BPI requires a variety of skills, creativity, and a willingness to go beyond traditional legal and policy remedies to bring about social change. During a typical day, a BPI attorney or policy analyst might do any of the following:

  • Negotiate the components of a site plan for a new mixed-income community in a working group of public housing residents, community members, housing developers, the Chicago Housing Authority and City of Chicago staff
  • Conduct research on legal and policy strategies for police reform, including comparative research about other jurisdictions
  • Collect and analyze data and anecdotes from agencies, community-based stakeholders, and formerly incarcerated youth and prepare a report on community-based alternatives to incarceration
  • Work with early childhood teachers to identify common goals and practices that promote kindergarten readiness and present findings and recommendations to the state’s Kindergarten Transition Advisory Committee

Requirements

  • Either a JD or MA/MS in public policy or related field (by Fellowship start)
  • Demonstrated interest or experience in one of BPI’s program areas
  • Accomplished oral and writing skills
  • Strong academic record
  • Initiative, creative, and flexible
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with a variety of organizations, constituent groups, government agencies, and civic leaders
  • Demonstrated ability to self-start
  • Fellows receive an annual salary of $54,000 with medical and dental coverage. Debt service on law school or graduate school loans for the duration of the Fellowship may be available, based on need. The Fellowship term is two years.
  • APPLY: Send résumé, writing sample, references, and a cover letter detailing interest in the position in a single PDF file to fellowships@bpichicago.org.

BPI is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. We strongly encourage applications from women, people of color, immigrants, persons with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community, people with lived experience of poverty, and people from other underrepresented and historically marginalized groups.

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