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Polikoff-Gautreaux Fellowship In Depth

The Fellowship was created in 1999 to honor Alexander Polikoff, who served as Impact for Equity’s Executive Director for 29 years, and Dorothy Gautreaux, the public housing activist who gave her name to Polikoff’s landmark lawsuit.

Impact for Equity hires a recent law or policy school graduate each fall to become a Polikoff-Gautreaux Fellow for a two-year term, beginning the following fall. Fellows do not create stand-alone projects but instead are fully integrated into Impact for Equity’s staff as attorneys and policy analysts.

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

A Day in the Life of a BPI Fellow

As a result of the range issues Impact for Equity’s work addresses and the complex political dilemmas they present, working at Impact for Equity requires a variety of skills, creativity, and a willingness to go beyond traditional legal and policy remedies to bring about social change. During a typical day, a Impact for Equity attorney or policy analyst might do any of the following:

  • Negotiate the components of a site plan for a new mixed-income community in a working group of public housing residents, community members, housing developers, the Chicago Housing Authority and City of Chicago staff
  • Conduct research on legal and policy strategies for police reform, including comparative research about other jurisdictions
  • Collect and analyze data and anecdotes from agencies, community-based stakeholders, and formerly incarcerated youth and prepare a report on community-based alternatives to incarceration


  • Either a JD or MA/MS in public policy or related field (by Fellowship start)
  • Demonstrated interest or experience in one of Impact for Equity’s program areas
  • Accomplished oral and writing skills
  • Strong academic record
  • Initiative, creative, and flexible
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with a variety of organizations, constituent groups, government agencies, and civic leaders
  • Demonstrated ability to self-start
  • Fellows receive an annual salary of $63,000 with medical and dental coverage. Debt service on law school or graduate school loans for the duration of the Fellowship may be available, based on need. The Fellowship term is two years.

How To Apply

We will accept applications from August 1st – October 27, 2023. Please also apply directly by email to fellowships@impactforequity.org to make sure we receive your application.

Send a résumé, writing sample, three references, and a cover letter detailing interest in the position.

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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