We are excited to announce: Kentucky Just Transition Organizing Fellowship stipends | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

We are excited to announce: Kentucky Just Transition Organizing Fellowship stipends

Members of the Empower Kentucky Leadership Cohort gathered in November 2019

A number of Kentucky Just Transition Organizing Fellowship Stipends will be awarded in the fall of 2021 to celebrate, strengthen, and invest in community, labor, youth, and cultural organizers who are working at the intersection of racial, economic, and environmental/climate justice in Kentucky. These fellowship stipends are prioritized for Kentuckians who identify as Black, brown, or Indigenous; youth (ages 15 to 29); and others who are directly affected by injustice. 

Fellowship stipends are being offered by the Kentucky Just Transition Coalition, a new formation of groups working to advance a Just Transition and a healthy democracy in Kentucky. Participating organizations in this coalition include Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, Hood to the Holler, Rubbertown Environmental Action (REACT), Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition, Sunrise leaders in Kentucky, IUE-CWA, and NCFO-SEIU.

This coalition exists to build grassroots power for a Just Transition in Kentucky by deepening relationships across our diverse coalition, investing in organizing - especially in Black, brown, youth, and low-income communities; training hundreds of grassroots leaders in deep canvassing skills; and knocking thousands of doors so that more Kentuckians are engaged and working together to demand, vote for, and win a bold agenda for climate, racial, and economic justice, along the lines of the THRIVE Agenda.

The Kentucky Just Transition Coalition will invest $80,000 in fellowship stipends this fall. Stipend amounts will range between $3,200 and $12,800, depending on the scope of the organizing project proposed.

Successful applicants must be Kentucky residents with deep involvement in community, labor, student or cultural organizing and a demonstrated commitment to working for a Just Transition for workers and communities affected by overlapping crises of systemic racism, climate and environmental injustice, economic injustice, and voter suppression.

Applicants should describe an organizing project you will do in the fall of 2021, and say how it will help build grassroots power to advance a Just Transition, Climate Justice, Racial Justice, and/or Healthy Democracy in Kentucky.

Projects may include video, website, or social media production or incorporate other forms of artistic or creative expression. However, successful applications will focus on strategies that directly inform, engage, inspire, build relationships with, and activate other Kentuckians. Your project may be work you do as an individual, as part of an all-volunteer group, or within an existing community organization or labor union. Fellowship stipends are not intended for people who currently have full-time, paid community organizing positions. 

Click here to apply by August 15, 2021.

Support, Expectations and Commitments

The Kentucky Just Transition Fellowship is intended to support self-directed local organizing projects by investing in organizers who already have organizing projects in mind or in motion. Additional goals for the program include fostering relationships among a diverse set of Kentuckians working for Just Transition, and providing each fellow with training and opportunities to practice door-to-door deep canvassing using a script about climate, jobs and justice. 

While fellows will have opportunities to learn from each other and develop as organizers, this is not an intensive leadership development cohort or an organizer training program. Rather, it’s an effort to invest in and strengthen Just Transition organizing being led by Black, brown and Indigenous folks, young people, and others directly affected by injustice. Fellows have significant autonomy to pursue their projects independently, while also engaging in a limited set of group activities over a four month period.

Each fellow will be assigned a program manager, most likely an organizer with Kentuckians For The Commonwealth or SEIU, who can help troubleshoot and address questions that come up about the program. Fellows should communicate proactively about changes to projects, problems meeting commitments, or support needed. If no suitable alternatives can be found, if significant agreements or commitments aren’t kept, or if the program manager is unable to communicate with a fellow after reasonable attempts, a fellowship may be discontinued and remaining stipend payments may be cancelled. 

Fellows may also request to work with a mentor to support their organizing work through twice-a-month in person or phone conversations during the fall. Fellows may identify a person they want to work with as a mentor, or your program manager will do their best to connect you with a mentor. 

What we’re asking:

  • Implement your proposed organizing project to the best of your ability between Sept 1 and Dec 17, 2021.
  • Communicate honestly and proactively with a program manager about changes to your project, problems meeting commitments, or support needed.
  • Attend a 2-hour call each month to build relationships, learn from and with other fellows, and share updates on your projects (September, October, November, December). 
  • Communicate and engage with a commitment to anti-racism and a spirit of support, encouragement, respect for others, curiosity, honesty and bravery.
  • Submit two brief written updates (October and December) about your project, what you are learning, and support needed.
  • Be interviewed once this fall (in person or virtual) about your story and project. Your interview will only be shared publicly with your permission.
  • Attend one in-person Saturday training about using the power of stories to communicate about climate, jobs, and justice, if there is one offered within 2 hours of where you live. The current schedule for these trainings is below. Childcare stipends and transportation assistance will be provided. 
  1. Saturday, August 21 (Bowling Green)
  2. Saturday, September 11 (EKY)
  3. Saturday, September 18 (Lexington)
  4. Saturday, September 25 (Louisville)
  5. Others may be scheduled
  • Participate in at least two Saturdays of door-to-door canvassing with the Kentucky Just Transition Coalition, if that activity is a good fit for your health and body, and if there is a planned canvass near you. Tentative dates for these canvassing events (which will be organized simultaneously in many regions of Kentucky) are: 
  1. October 9 
  2. October 23
  3. November 13 
  • Encourage other people to participate in the training day and canvass with you.
  • Agree not to use stipend resources for restricted activities, which include lobbying, activities in support of a candidate or political party, or activities which are unlawful.
  • And, when and if possible, take part in direct actions and events organized by the Kentucky Just Transition Coalition or by individual organizations within the coalition in support of bold, transformative climate and just transition policies.

What we’re offering:

  • Each fellow will be awarded a stipend between $3,200 to $12,800, depending on the scope of the project proposed. Stipend awards will be paid in 4 monthly installments during September, October, November, and December 2021, provided that the commitments described above are kept. The size of each stipend is based on the amount of time fellows plan to spend per week on their project and adjusts for the fact that fellows are responsible for paying all taxes and securing their own health coverage.
  • Provide each fellow with a program manager to help troubleshoot challenges and answer questions.
  • Do our best to connect fellows with a mentor, if requested, and compensate mentors once a match has been established at a rate of $100 / hour for up to 2 hours / month. 
  • Organize regular, high quality monthly calls, trainings, and canvassing days, and provide timely information to fellows about ways to participate.
  • Communicate and engage with a commitment to anti-racism, and a spirit of support, encouragement, respect for others, curiosity, honesty and bravery.

Have questions? Reach Lisa Abbott, KFTC Organizing Co-Director, at 859-200-5159 or [email protected].