Founded in 2016 to support former senior-level government staff who have left public service after dedicating their careers to advancing economic, social, and racial justice, the program provides fellows with a stipend ranging between $100,000 and $133,000 in support of projects lasting between twelve and eighteen months. The program is intended to help fellows build on their time in the public sector and develop ideas and strategies that advance the values of an open society.
The fourth cohort of Leadership in Government Fellows includes Ameya Pawar, the first Asian and Indian American to be elected to the Chicago City Council, who will work to amplify existing public banking campaigns and catalyze new ones; Diane E. Thompson, former deputy assistant director of the Office of Regulations at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, who will work to advance regulatory advocacy and public accountability at the CFPB; and Ingrid M. Vila-Biaggi, former chief of staff of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and co-founder and president of CAMBIO, a nonprofit that promotes sustainable policies and actions, who will explore ways to ensure that local communities shape the transition of Puerto Rico's energy sector to more sustainable and equitable sources.
The other fellows are Julia Figueira-McDonough, who most recently served as senior counsel to the California Labor Commissioner and who will work to create sustainable jobs for caregivers and engage diverse stakeholders in the design of an innovative workforce development program; Marissa Jackson Sow, former deputy commissioner for community relations at the New York City Commission on Human Rights, who will document, amplify, and mobilize African-American women human rights activists; and Walter Katz, former deputy chief of staff for public safety under Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, who will develop best practices and standards as well as emerging technologies for facilitating the intake of police misconduct complaints.
"In these times of eroding public faith, these former public servants remain a bulwark for rebuilding faith that government can produce results for people," said Open Society-U.S. executive director Tom Perriello. "We are proud of a fellowship program that continues to produce talent from the public arena who are responsible for some of the most promising innovations in the cause of democracy, equality, and justice."
For a complete list of the 2020 Leadership in Government Fellows, see the Open Society Foundations website.