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The Pauli Murray Fellowship, founded in honor of the Reverend Dr. Pauli Murray – activist, legal theorist, author, Episcopal priest, and former ACLU board member – is for college graduates who have overcome systemic barriers to achievement. It is designed for individuals eager to embark on a career in the nonprofit sector, with a focus on organizational and operations aspects of nonprofits advancing civil rights and civil liberties. The program will provide fellows with meaningful exposure, access, and training to enhance and broaden their leadership skills. 


In the fall 2024, the program will sponsor two fellows as full-time employees of the ACLU for 18-months.

All applications are due by Friday, March 8, 2024 by 11:59pm EST 

Fellows will work with cross-functional ACLU teams charged with overseeing critical internal initiatives, projects, and priorities, within the Communications and Development departments. Fellow placements will be determined based on experience and interests. By joining the ACLU, Fellows will work with experienced colleagues, engage in meaningful work, and strengthen the skills and networks they need to launch their careers. Learn more about the Communications Fellow here and the Development Fellow here.  

Key features of the Pauli Murray Fellowship: 

  • Full-time employment, competitive salary, and benefits for 18-months at the ACLU National Headquarters in New York.
  • Access to senior leaders and mentors at the ACLU and partner organizations, including career networking opportunities.
  • Stipends to expand career and professional development through conferences, coursework, graduate school coaching, etc.
  • Skill development in professional communications, organizational strategy, project management, and more.
  • Regular roundtables and fireside chats with leaders from inside and outside the ACLU.
  • Community with fellows cohort and colleagues.


The annual salary for this position is $72,000, reflective of a position based in New York, NY where our National offices are headquartered. 


All applications are due by Friday, March 8, 2024 by 11:59pm EST 

  • Interviews: March-April 2024 
  • (Applicants can expect to hear whether or not they have received an interview by end of March)                            
  • Final Selection: April 2024


Individuals making their entry into the nonprofit sector full-time, overcoming systemic barriers to achievement, are encouraged to apply—especially those with a fresh perspective and a commitment to our mission.

Minimum qualifications:

  • College graduate by September 2024 seeking entry-level role
  • A demonstrated commitment or interest to leadership, service, civil rights and civil liberties.
  • Eligibility to work in the United States for the duration of the program (Sept 2024 - March 2026).
  • An 18-month commitment to working at the ACLU from Sept 2024 - March 2026

There is no single “right” major or course of study. We are looking for strong problem solvers with an eagerness to learn, a passion to lead, and commitment to civil rights and civil liberties.

This fellowship primarily focuses on organizational leadership, emphasizing the operational aspects of an organization. If you are interested in our legal fellowships or direct advocacy work please click here


The selection committee will engage in a consistent and holistic review process, with attention to applicants with:

  • A demonstrated commitment to sustained leadership and service.
  • A demonstrated resilience in the face of systemic barriers or adversity.
  • A commitment to civil liberties, civil rights, and social justice.
  • Commitment to the mission of the ACLU.
  • No prior connection to the ACLU (via past internships, fellowships, other connections) a plus.


Please submit the following no later than Fri, March 8, 2024 at 11:59PM EST:

  • A resume (no longer than two pages)
  • Two Essays
    • Essay 1: Consider a significant life experience or perspective that has influenced your future goals. How does it it connect with your commitment to civil rights and liberties and how do you foresee using the Pauli Murray Fellowship to help you achieve your aspirations?  (400 words, Microsoft Document or PDF)
    • Essay 2: Personal Statement or Video Essay selected from the prompt below* (written essays no longer than 600 words in a Microsoft Document or PDF OR video essay no longer than 5 minutes).
      • In a 1967 letter to Dr. Kathryn F. Clarenbach, Chair of the National Board of NOW, Pauli Murray wrote, “And since, as a human being, I cannot allow myself to be fragmented into Negro at one time, woman at another, or worker at another. I must find a unifying principle in all these movements to which I can adhere . . . This, it seems to me, is not only good politics but also may be the price of survival.” How does this quote resonate with you? How has an aspect of your identity or life experience shaped you?

In your essay, we want to hear your authentic voice. Think carefully about your values, passions, aims, hopes and dreams. There is no “right answer” to these questions — the best answer is the one that is truest for you

  • Two letters of recommendation: one academic and one character/personal recommendation*
    • We want to understand how you would contribute to the ACLU community. Please select two people from your life who could speak meaningfully to those qualities in their recommendations.
    • Personal recommendations could be a friend, mentor, or peer but should not include family members.
    • We care about the content of the letter, not about the title or status of the person who wrote it. We are far more interested in your motivations than those of your recommender.
    • Please make sure that the person writing the recommendation for you uses their own email to send the letter to The subject line should read: Pauli Murray Fellow [applicant first name] [last name]. 

The strongest letters we receive come from Individuals who have interacted with you closely, extensively, and recently (typically in the last two or three years). Those who have observed and can comment, with specific examples, on your progress towards a goal. Character references without supporting evidence, even when highly positive, do not meaningfully improve your candidacy.

*Note: You may not write, draft, edit, translate, or submit the letter of reference. We will require you to affirm in your application that you have not done so.

Questions? Please email



For over 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBTQ+ community, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people.

Our Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are core values of the ACLU and central to our work to advance liberty, equality, and justice for all. For us diversity, equity and inclusion are not just check-the-box activities, but a chance for us to make long-term meaningful change.  We are a community committed to learning and growth, humility and grace, transparency and accountability. We believe in a collective responsibility to create a culture of belonging for all people within our organization – one that respects and embraces difference; treats everyone equitably; and empowers our colleagues to do the best work possible. We are as committed to anti-oppression and anti-racism internally as we are externally. Because whether we’re in the courts or in the office, we believe ‘We the People’ means all of us.

With this commitment in mind, we strongly encourage applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.   

If you have a need and require assistance during the application process, please let us know by completing the applicant accommodations form


The Department of Education has determined that employment in this position at the ACLU does not qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.