The Edward M. Gramlich Fellowship in Community and Economic Development is co-sponsored by JCHS and NeighborWorks®America. The fellowship is named for Edward “Ned” Gramlich, a former member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and former chairman of NeighborWorks® America, who was a strong and consistent advocate for consumer protection in the financial arena.
Gramlich Fellows spend a summer investigating policy and practice challenges faced by public and nonprofit sector organizations in real time, in partnership with NeighborWorks®America, a national practitioner network, and the Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard’s nationally recognized housing research center.
$8,000 compensation, plus travel and research expenses, enrollment in the NeighborWorks America Training Institute with all expenses paid (tuition, travel/lodging and related expenses), project mentoring by faculty of the Joint Center for Housing Studies, potential for publication of project as part of Joint Center Working Paper Series, the opportunity to present findings to a group of practitioners at the NeighborWorks Training Institute in Washington, D.C., and also present the findings to leading policy makers, researchers, and advocacy groups at a separate policy briefing also in Washington, DC, and 10 weeks use of office space at a NeighborWorks® America location.
Who Should Apply
Harvard graduate students not in their graduating year who are in planning, public policy, law, business, economics, administration, sociology, education, or related fields who have commitment to and knowledge of the community and economic development fields. Must be entrepreneurial and committed to co-developing, leading, and completing a minimum 10-week analytical project (full-time) that is suitable for publication as a working paper.
How to Apply
Applicants should submit a cover letter, personal statement, resume or cv, a transcript of courses they have taken in graduate school, and contact information for two references.
In the cover letter or personal statement, please answer the following questions:
- How have your past professional and educational experiences prepared you for this fellowship opportunity?
- What interests you most about this opportunity and what do you hope to learn?
- Why does the field of community and economic development interest you?
Applicants should submit their materials via Harvard's Centralized Application for Research and Travel (CARAT) system.
The application deadline for 2018 has passed.
Potential Research Topics
While applicants are encouraged to propose potential research topics that especially interest them, senior at NeighborWorks® America have expressed interest in having a Gramlich Fellow examine the following topics:
- Assessing Shared-Equity Homeownership: Shared equity homeownership models – such as community land trusts and other forms of deed-restricted housing – seek to balance the benefits of affordability with wealth creation associated with homeownership. How effective are these interventions at creating and/or preserving affordable housing, stabilizing communities, and allowing households to build wealth?
- Funding Resident Services: Many affordable housing providers offer supportive services to residents of their developments, but find it challenging to find the funding needed to pay for these services. How have successful entities been able to secure needed funding? Are there any examples of how resident services have created savings in operating costs that have then been used to fund continued and/or expanded resident services?
- Improving the Effectiveness of Nonprofit Boards: Effective board governance is essential for the success of nonprofit organizations. The project would assess trends in board governance trends across the NeighborWorks® network and identify promising strategies that NeighborWorks® can use to more proactively support effective board governance across that network.
- Partnerships between Public Housing Authorities and CDCs: What are the opportunities and challenges of partnerships between Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and Community Development Corporations (CDCs), especially in rural areas? This effort likely would involve reviewing some innovative models of collaboration such as those pursued in Randolph County, WV and Las Animas County, CO, and identifying lessons for possible expansion or replication of PHA/CDC partnerships.
- Preparing for Natural Disasters: Several major disasters struck the United States in 2017. What can nonprofit organizations learn from these incidents to better prepare for future disasters? Which practices have prepared communities most successfully, and what challenges and obstacles remain?
- Preserving Affordable Rural Housing: Rental assistance contracts are expiring for many rural affordable housing projects built with funding from the USDA’s Rural Rental Housing Loan program (Section 515). What can the USDA do to handle this looming crisis?
- Promoting Diversity in Leadership of the Housing & Community Development Sector: What are organizations at various levels — local, regional, and national — doing to promote diversity at their leadership/executive level? What strategies can be gleaned from other sectors?
- Using Cross-Sectoral Strategies to Alleviate Persistent Rural Poverty: While there have been several high-profile efforts to address persistent poverty in rural regions via cross-sectoral strategies, most of these efforts have had only mixed success. Are there lessons to be gleaned from historic and current efforts that could inform a multi-faceted effort to begin the movement from poverty to prosperity?
What Former Fellows Have to Say
- Having access to the dynamic network of academics, policy makers, practitioners, and industry leaders that the Fellowship provides presents an exceptional opportunity to design your research in an almost “real time” context, making it pertinent, relevant, and revealing the path to achieve further impact. The Fellowship changed the course of my career, becoming the stepping stone that transformed thoughts and ideas into projects and action.
– Eduardo Berlin, 2010 Gramlich Fellow, CEO, Mapdwell
- Access to an outstanding network of professionals led directly to my current job position. They were truly interested in the work I was pursuing and provided key guidance at critical points. Being able to present my findings in a forum of professionals in the field and obtain direct feedback was invaluable.
– Jeffrey Morgan, 2011 Gramlich Fellow, Director of Real Estate Development, Historic Boston Incorporated
- This Fellowship was a great opportunity to step back and see the big picture of what’s happening in the community development field, while also delving into the details of current initiatives. Through the research and the training institute, I made many connections with professionals and learned about current trends and leading initiatives. These connections and the mentoring of staff at JCHS and Neighborworks have enriched my experience at Harvard.
- Nathalie Janson, 2015 Gramlich Fellow, Preservation of Affordable Housing