Edward M. Gramlich Fellowship in Community and Economic Development (for Harvard Graduate Students)

The Edward M. Gramlich Fellowship in Community and Economic Development gives returning graduate students at Harvard the opportunity to conduct, publish, and present original research on challenges for community-based organizations (CBOs) in the NeighborWorks® America network.

Working full-time in the summer, Gramlich Fellows, in consultation with mentors from the Center and NeighborWorks, design and carry out their research and prepare a first draft of a working paper about their work. They also present their preliminary findings to a gathering of NeighborWorks practitioners and then at a Washington, DC briefing for policymakers, advocates, and researchers.

Working part-time in the fall and early winter, Gramlich Fellows complete their research and prepare final versions of their working papers. The papers are published by both the Center and NeighborWorks America. In addition, fellows present their work in the Center’s bi-weekly Housing Research Seminar and prepare a blog about their work, which is jointly published by the Center and NeighborWorks.

In recent years, fellows have researched a variety of topics including: efforts to maintain middle neighborhoods; the challenges faced by CBOs in historically black neighborhoods; funding and management strategies for resident service programs; participatory models for creating housing in Native American communities; how CBOs responded to COVID’s racially disparate impacts; and promising strategies for advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion in the governance of CBOs.

The fellowship is funded by NeighborWorks America, a congressionally chartered and funded nonpartisan organization that supports about 250 community-based organizations in the US. Edward “Ned” Gramlich, the fellowship’s namesake, was an economist who chaired NeighborWorks’ Board of Directors, served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and was a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan, where he also served as the School of Public Policy’s first dean.


Fellows receive an $8,000 stipend for the summer and an hourly wage during the fall and winter while they are working to finish their paper. They receive an additional $1,000 when the Center accepts the paper for publication. Funding is available to cover travel and other expenses associated with research projects.


The fellowship is open to any Harvard graduate student not in their graduating year who has a demonstrated interest in and commitment to housing, community development, economic development, or a related field. Previous fellows have been enrolled in graduate programs in

such subjects as urban planning, public policy, urban design, architecture, public administration, public health, education, law, business, sociology, economics, and other related fields. Applicants should also have a demonstrated record of successfully carrying out independent research or large projects in a timely manner.


While applicants can propose research on topics of interest to them, NeighborWorks® America and the Center are especially interested in projects that focus on how community-based organization can launch, expand, or improve efforts focused on:

  • Assessing the impact of rent reporting for credit building on financial health and housing stability 
  • Continuing successful tenant-support initiatives launched during COVID
  • Creating temporary and/or supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness
  • Developing comprehensive approaches to reduce the racial wealth and homeownership gaps
  • Examining the role of community development finance institutions (CDFIs) in providing access to capital
  • Increasing opportunities for older residents to age in place
  • Strategically using manufactured housing to help address affordability challenges
  • Reducing energy consumption via weatherization programs and energy retrofits encouraged by the Inflation Reduction Act
  • Responding to climate change by making buildings, communities, and neighborhoods more resilient.
  • Understanding the evolution of health equity strategies and their future potential
  • Using resident and community ownership models to improve community conditions


  • The Gramlich Fellowship was a highlight of my time at Harvard. It enabled me to explore my potential as a researcher and meaningfully collaborate with community development practitioners as well as JCHS staff. The mentorship that I received and the connections that I made continue to guide my career.
    - Susanna Pho, 2018 Gramlich Fellow, Co-Founder & COO, Forerunner
  • The Gramlich Fellowship was an unparalleled opportunity to explore the world of academic research while making meaningful professional connections with practitioners. I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to engage with community based organizations, hone my writing skills, and build a collaborative relationship with my mentor, who continued to be a major source of support long after finishing the fellowship. 
    Caroline Lauer, 2017 Gramlich Fellow, Climate Resilience Coordinator, Missoula County
  • An unparalleled opportunity that connects curious researchers to a network of experienced practitioners and renowned experts. The support and guidance provided by the staff of JCHS and NeighborWorks ensured that my research findings would be relevant to a broad audience of policymakers and industry professionals.
    Matthew Schreiber, 2017 Gramlich Fellow, Associate Director, Eden Housing

How to Apply

Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume or cv, a transcript of courses they have taken in graduate school, and contact information for two references.  

In the cover letter, 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?

Applications will go live on Monday, January 8, 2024. Applicants should submit their materials via Harvard's Centralized Application for Research and Travel (CARAT) system. The 2024 deadline for applications has passed.