Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What do Fellows do?

Working in partnership with non-profits, city agencies, and schools, Fellows take action to improve the lives of young people by:

  • Increasing the presence of adult mentors in young people’s lives
  • Providing children with safe places and structured activities during out of school time
  • Exposing young people to workshops that enhance their social and emotional learning
  • Lead service-learning activities for young people
  • Facilitate college and career readiness programs

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Q. What are some of the criteria for a Fellow project?

Fellow projects:

  • Are out-of-school time projects working with youth in grades 6-12
  • Are new projects or an expansion of an existing project
  • Have a large-scale impact
  • Are Fellow-led or are a Fellow-led portion of a larger project

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Q. What kind of background do Fellows have?

Fellows are recruited from across the country and come from diverse background. The average age of a Fellow is 22-25, however we do not have an age cap. All Fellows exhibit:

  • A passion for community service
  • Proven leadership skills and the desire to learn and grow in this area
  • Excellent communication skills
  • A friendly and fun sense of humor

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Q. What type of training do Fellows receive?

Fellows are required to attend an initial orientation, monthly training sessions from the program. Additional ongoing training and professional development opportunities throughout the year are also available. Fellows participate in a fall and winter retreat in October and March. The Fellow network creates a unique community of that will benefit the Fellow for years to come. Specific training opportunities include:

  • Leadership and team building
  • Social justice training
  • Youth development
  • Project planning and implementation
  • Volunteer recruitment
  • Asset-based community development
  • Career coaching
  • Non-profit management

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Q. What organizations do Fellows serve with?

Fellows have served in over fifty communities across Massachusetts—from Boston to Pittsfield and from Lawrence to Brockton. Fellows have served with organizations both large and small, including non-profits, schools, and city agencies. See a full list under Why be a Fellow.

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Q. What are some examples of past Fellow projects?

  • Expanded tutoring and academic enrichment programs focused on STEM education to schools throughout the Greater Boston area, reaching more youth and creating a foundation for better MCAS scores in math and science
  • Designed a community service-learning program to engage young people in identifying pressing needs in their neighborhood and planning service projects to address those needs.
  • Created the Teen Health Advisory Council, a 15 member teen council designed to deliver a leadership development curriculum and broaden the role of teens working on health access and service delivery.
  • Created the A-VOYCE program, a youth development program for youth in Boston’s Chinatown.
  • Expanded the Railroad Street Youth Project apprenticeship program by building partnerships with local businesses to match young people up with business owners to learn specific trades, including culinary arts and cosmetology.


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Q. Who are the program's partners?

Fellows are part of the national service network of over 100,000,000 AmeriCorps members and alumni. AmeriCorps engages Americans of all ages in intensive, results-driven service each year.

The Fellowship shares its vision with America's Promise. The Massachusetts Service Alliance, Northeastern University, and the College of Professional Studies are also the program's partners. 

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Q. What do Fellows receive?

For a one-year commitment and 1700 hours of service Fellows receive:

  • A $14,500 dollar, taxable, annual living allowance ($269/week)
  • Health benefits
  • Excellent training opportunities
  • Free graduate and undergraduate courses at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies and discounted courses upon program completion
  • A $5,645 dollar educational award
  • A monthly transportation allowance
  • Loan forbearance

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Q. What classes can Fellows take at Northeastern?

Fellows are only eligible to take free courses at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies during their year of service. Fellows can choose from undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education courses. All courses are offered in the evenings and Fellows also have the opportunity to enroll in online courses. 

Fellows interested in taking courses at the College of Professional Studies are required to apply for admission and submit the required application materials. For more information, please visit the College of Professional Studies website at www.cps.neu.edu.

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Q. How do Fellows live on $14,500 per year?

Over 450 Fellows have completed the program and were able to live on the $14,500-dollar annual stipend. Many Fellows have part-time jobs, live with roommates and find other ways to make additional income. In addition, the Fellowship helps out by:

  • Providing Fellows with a $60 monthly transportation allowance (for gas or an MBTA pass)
  • Providing workshops on budgeting
  • Assisting Fellows with locating affordable housing

Since Fellows receive a stipend and not a wage, they qualify for public assistance. Many Fellows take advantage of this benefit each year and receive food stamps and/or fuel assistance. It is important that all Fellows understand that they are committing to a year of service for the experience, not the paycheck.

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HOST A FELLOW Q&A

Q. What can we expect to achieve by hosting a Fellow?

Hosting a Fellow enables an organization to:

  • Expand services to their community by creating a new youth-focused project
  • Improve the quality and effectiveness of its current youth programming
  • Partner with a network of youth-serving organizations and agencies
  • Benefit from optional trainings and other professional development opportunities

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Q. Is our organization eligible to host a Fellow?

To be eligible your organization must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a non-profit organization—with tax exempt (501(c)3) status—school or government agency
  • In operation for at least one year with one full-time staff member and the capacity to host a Fellow

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Q. What is the timeline for applying to host a Fellow?

For the complete timeline, please visit the How to Host section. In general, host sites will be selected and notified in early spring and Fellows will begin service in August.

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Q. What are some criteria for a Fellow project?

Fellow projects must:

  • Be youth-focused
  • Meet a defined need and benefit young people in grades 6-12
  • Allow the Fellow to work with a consistent group of youth throughout the academic year for at least 5 hours/week
  • Focus on one of our five performance measure areas (Safe Place, Caring Adult, Healthy Start, Effective Education, Opportunity to Serve)
  • Be a new project or an expansion of an existing project
  • Have large-scale impact
  • Be Fellow-led or be a Fellow-led part of a larger project (Fellows can also be involved with one or  more project

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Q. Are there any prohibited activities?

Fellows and Fellow projects cannot:

  • Displace a current employee or serve in a regular staff position
  • Be involved with political advocacy, religious instruction, voter registration, fundraising for host site match/operating expenses, writing federal grants, union organizing or clerical activities*
  • Fellows can, however, perform limited administrative duties necessary for their project
  • Sign off on a grant
  • Serve as an assistant
  • Supervise other AmeriCorps members

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Q. How are host-sites selected?

Proposals to host Fellows are reviewed by a community review committee and the Fellowship advisory board that recommend host-site organizations. Final decisions are made by the program staff.  Key elements of a successful host-site include:

  • Organizational capacity to develop and manage the project
  • Clearly defined need
  • Realistic goals and objectives with measurable outcomes
  • Alignment with the Fellowship mission
  • Support and training for the Fellow
  • Strong element of project ownership
  • Clear project vision

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Q. What kind of background and training do Fellows have?

Fellows are AmeriCorps members who have committed to a year of service and average between 20-25 years of age. They are leaders from across the country with diverse backgrounds and a passion for community service. Most Fellows are recent college graduates and looking for a hands-on service experience. 

Fellows receive an initial orientation and training from the program, as well as ongoing leadership training and professional development opportunities throughout the year. The host-site is responsible for site-specific training and orientation.

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Q. Who is responsible for recruiting and hiring the Fellow?

We ask prospective host-sites to help with the recruiting and hiring process. Hiring is site-specific; sites have a better understanding of the skill set that will allow their particular project to be successful. Therefore, we allow the site to initiate the recruitment and screening process.

The Massachusetts Promise Fellowship is familiar with what it takes to become a respected leader in the service community. We will help advertise the positions, assist in the interviewing process and handle the official hiring of the Fellow with your organization’s approval.

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Q. What are some examples of past Fellows projects?

Fellows have accomplished a myriad range of projects, including:

  • Expanded tutoring and academic enrichment programs focused on STEM education to schools throughout the Greater Boston area, reaching more youth and creating a foundation for better MCAS scores in math and science.
  • Created the A-VOYCE program, a youth development program for youth located in Boston’s Chinatown.
  • Expanded the Railroad Street Youth Project apprenticeship program by building partnerships with local businesses to match young people up with business owners to learn specific trades, including culinary arts and cosmetology.


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Q. Can we apply for more than one Fellow?

Yes! Several organizations have had Fellows serving in teams, leading and coordinating a number of 
projects together.

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Q. What does the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship provide?

The Massachusetts Promise Fellowship program is committed to the success of each Fellow and their host-site. As our contribution to the partnership with the host-site we provide:

  • A full-time Fellow (~35 hours per week) committed to a year of service (hired in partnership between the program and host-site)
  • In-service leadership and project management training, regular retreats and monthly meetings for the Fellow, including over 170 hours of training as well as optional training opportunities
  • Access to the national service network and associated training and conferences
  • Orientation and training for the host-site and Fellow supervisor
  • Regular site visits to address host-site specific needs and evaluate project goals
  • Administration of Fellow benefits; post-service educational award ($5,550), health insurance, training opportunities, free coursework at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies, a $60 monthly travel allowance and a service stipend ($14,500 per year).

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Q. What is the host-site required to provide?

Each host-site is required to provide:

  • A clear vision of the project you plan to implement and how the Fellow can be most effectively utilized
  • Supportive leadership from staff and the host-site to ensure that the Fellow is considered and treated as an integral part of the organization
  • One designated host-site supervisor who will provide weekly supervision and support to the Fellow and project and attend two mandatory meetings
  • A cash match to defray a portion of the Fellow benefit costs
  • Adequate workspace for the Fellow including desk, phone, fax, access to computer and office supplies
  • Reimbursement for travel costs incurred as part of the Fellow's service for the host-site (other Fellowship-related travel is paid for by the program)
  • Complete a background check on your Fellow and submit a letter verifying the completed process

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Q. How much is the cash match?

We ask each host-site organization to invest in the partnership by providing a non-federal cash match. The match is used to defray a portion of the total cost of the Fellowship position (training, travel, benefits and living allowance) at your host-site.

The amount of the cash match is based on the organization's total operating budget, including salaries, funds distributed as grants and any other operating costs and ranges from $10,290 to $15,487.

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