Community Voice Heard — Gail Aska Policy Fellowship (Summer 2016)

Deadline for Application: February 17, 2016

Organization Description:

Community Voices Heard (CVH) is a 20 year-old membership organization of low-income people working together to influence policy change around issues that impact low-income families’ lives.

We were started as a welfare rights organization and have since evolved to work more broadly on economic justice issues.  CVH uses a combination of strategies including base-building & mobilization, leadership development, direct-action, legislation promotion & advocacy, grassroots-driven research, media & public education, voter education & engagement, and coalition building to lead campaigns to win benefits for our membership of low-income families.

We have chapters across New York State – in New York City, Westchester, Orange, and Dutchess Counties.  Our main office is located in East Harlem/ El Barrio of New York City.

Fellowship Description:

The Gail Aska Policy & Research Fellowship is a full-time, 8 to 10 week fellowship from June through August, and is designed to support and develop the skills of a graduate level student to shape public policy and conduct constituent-driven research on issues affecting low-income communities. The fellowship is inspired by its namesake, Gail Aska, a founding member of Community Voices Heard, and aims to address the gap between public policy and research practitioners and those that are directly impacted by social, racial and economic justice issues.

CVH seeks an individual interested in bringing technical skills and expertise to the grassroots – someone wanting to support the development of policy from the ground up and anxious to fuse one’s policy/ research work with ongoing direct-action organizing campaigns. Policy and research work will be oriented around one or more of CVH’s five current organizational priority areas: a just social safety net, good jobs and access to them, truly affordable housing, sustainable and resilient communities, and a participatory democracy.

The position provides a unique opportunity to engage multiple strategies for assisting in moving campaigns forward:

  • Develop Policy Proposals: craft proposals for local policies and programs that support the advancement of low-income families and communities.
  • Conduct Research: conceptualize and carry out research on programs and policies impacting low-income families – can include both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis (with possible supervision of data gatherers).
  • Support Campaigns: work with community members and organizational staff to develop and implement campaign strategy to win policy proposals at city and state levels.
  • Provide Training to Community Members: develop and conduct trainings for community leaders on policy issues and processes.
  • Advocate for Change: participate in meetings with elected officials and governmental committees, and help prepare community members to do the same, to promote organizational policy proposals.


  • Prospective candidates should possess the following qualifications:
  • Enrolled in public policy / administration, urban planning, social work, law or other relevant graduate program is required;
  • Demonstrated commitment to building long-term power for low-income people of color, their families, and their communities;
  • Excellent research, analytical, writing, and oral communication skills;
  • Experience in quantitative and qualitative research and analysis, including facility with data analysis software, is preferred. Research design and project management experience is a plus. Previous exposure to action-oriented participatory research methodologies is an advantage;
  • Knowledge of policy issues affecting low-income communities of color and related to social justice, including affordable housing, poverty, public benefits, etc.;
  • Personal, lived experience with one or more of the issues/campaigns on which CVH works is preferred;
  • Spanish language skills desired but not required.

To Apply:

Please send a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and names & contact information for three references by email to  Please put “Gail Aska Fellow” in the subject line.

CVH is an equal opportunity employer.  Women of color are strongly encouraged to apply.  For more information please check out our web page at:


The deadline for applications is February 15, 2016. Interviews will be conducted through mid-March 2016 and the Fellow will be selected by early April 2016.  The fellowship will begin in June and conclude in August.


$600/week for the 8 to 10 week fellowship.