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Polikoff-Gautreaux Fellowship

Impact for Equity hires a recent law or policy school (graduate level) graduate each year to become a Polikoff-Gautreaux Fellow for a two-year term beginning the following fall after selection. Fellows must be within 5 years of graduation at Fellowship start. Polikoff-Gautreaux fellows possess a commitment to racial and social justice, creativity, and leadership ability, and they work independently and within a team on multiple projects of varying complexity.

Fellows do not create stand-alone projects but instead are fully integrated into Impact for Equity’s staff as attorneys and policy analysts. Each Fellow is assigned to one of our two program areas: criminal legal system or housing. The program area assignment is determined each year based on the organization’s needs and capacity and the interests and experience of the selected Fellow. Generally, we will not yet know which program area a Fellow will be assigned to at the outset of the hiring process. 

After completing their service at Impact for Equity, Polikoff-Gautreaux fellows have pursued successful careers in affordable housing law, legal aid, civil rights advocacy, nonprofit leadership, and government. 

Learn More About the Polikoff-Gautreaux Fellowship


  • Conduct legal, policy, and other forms of research and analysis, including on a short timeframe in response to emerging issues, to support the development and implementation of laws, policies, and programs; 
  • For lawyers, support Impact for Equity staff in ongoing or potential litigation through legal research and analysis, developing legal theories and strategies, drafting legal writings, and participating in litigation, including compliance-related activities; 
  • Explore, develop, and implement advocacy strategies informed by research, data, and the expertise of directly impacted people and communities; 
  • Participate in and/or build coalitions, partnerships, and task forces working to strategize and advance policy changes;  
  • Support efforts led by people directly impacted by injustice, including our community partners, community leaders, and grassroots advocacy groups;  
  • Work collaboratively with Impact for Equity staff to write materials to educate community-based stakeholders, legislators, agency officials, and others about issues impacting racial, social, and economic justice;  
  • Develop and maintain strong, collaborative relationships with a broad range of stakeholders, including impacted individuals, community members and leaders, community-based and ally organizations, policymakers, professional subject matter experts, and funders; 
  • Consistently integrate equity concepts into work and interactions by addressing structural implications and disproportionate impacts of policies, activities, and decisions based on race, socioeconomic status, and other historically marginalized group identities;  
  • Exemplify Impact for Equity’s core values and advance Impact for Equity’s mission and vision in all aspects of the work; and 
  • Travel in Chicagoland, Illinois, and to national conferences and meetings as needed. 


The ideal candidate will bring the following knowledge, skills, and experiences:   

  • Either a JD or MA/MS in public policy or related field (by Fellowship start); 
  • Demonstrated commitment to or experience in one of Impact for Equity’s focus areas:  the criminal legal system and housing;
  • Exceptional oral and written communication skills, including the ability to convey complex information effectively to a wide range of audiences; 
  • Strong academic record; 
  • Self-motivated with the ability to take initiative, manage a variety of tasks and see projects through to completion;   
  • Ability to synthesize a lot of information, juggle multiple priorities, think strategically and creatively, adjust to changing circumstances, remain attentive to details, and meet deadlines in a creative, deadline-driven and collegial environment; 
  • Strong interpersonal skills and sound judgment, including the ability to build trust and credibility with partners and a broad range of stakeholders;
  • An enterprising mindset, a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and a passion for social justice and Impact for Equity’s mission; 
  • An ability to commute to Impact for Equity’s office in downtown Chicago at least three days a week, as our office operates on a hybrid schedule; 
  • Willingness to travel in the Chicago area and occasionally across Illinois; and 
  • Willingness to work some non-traditional hours – occasional evenings or weekend hours


Fellows receive an annual salary of $65,000. Benefits include PTO and paid leave, health and dental plans, and a retirement savings plan. The Fellowship term is two years. 

To Apply

We will accept applications from August 1st – September 20th, 2024. 

Please email a résumé, writing sample, the contact information of three references, and a cover letter detailing your experience and interest in the Polikoff-Gautreaux Fellowship at Impact for Equity to fellowships@impactforequity.org.   

Impact for Equity is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. We strongly encourage applications from women, people of color, immigrants, persons with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community, people with lived experience of poverty, and people from other underrepresented and historically marginalized groups.

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