Better NC Fellowship

People across North Carolina are working to move important policy and systems change in collaboration with their communities and demonstrating that we can make a Better NC for more people.

The Better NC Fellowship is an opportunity for participants to gain a deeper understanding of public budgets, particularly at the state level. In partnership with the NC Black Alliance, we host a series of workshops that provide these community leaders with the knowledge and hands on experiences to make deeper connections to key issues in their advocacy and communities through an economic lens.

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Learn more about the Better NC Fellowship, including frequently asked questions.

Group of NC People

Click here to meet our 2024 cohort of Better NC Fellows!

Click here to apply for the Better NC Fellowship or to be notified when applications for the next cohort open.

Projects from Previous Fellows

The Fellowship projects are a way for participants to connect what they are learning during the Fellowship to an advocacy effort or initiative. Check out how you can get involved with some projects below!

Meet Felisha McElvine

Felisha worked with the staff at Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina to create an infographic titled “Poverty in NCL Underlining causes, adverse childhood experiences, EITC, and protective factors”. The infographic provides historical context on how poverty and budget decisions impact the need for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

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Meet Abby Karp

Abby created a tax simulation focused on flat tax rates and their impact on different people within her community. She is currently working with a colleague who is a teacher in the Guilford County School system to pilot the activity.

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Meet Ebony Burnett

Ebony aimed to get more people more connected to the legislative process by taking them on a tour of the NC General Assembly with the support of a local elected leader.

About the Fellowship

The purpose of the Better NC Fellowship is to create connections across communities where leaders are working to advance budget decisions at the local and state level to improve well-being and include the public in the process.

During the course of the fellowship, the Better NC cohort will work with individuals from the NC Budget & Tax Center and NC Black Alliance to connect on:

  • A deeper dive on local and state budget process and opportunities for public engagement;
  • A set of tools for engaging community members in budget process and the identification of budget decisions made to date;
  • A set of skills for planning community-based engagement and activities and communicating the importance of budgets to everyday lives

Better NC fellows will have the opportunity to connect with a network of community leaders and organizations working at the local and state level to identify opportunities for collaboration as well as previous program alumni.

Better NC fellows will be resourced and expected to host a community conversation or workshop to support deeper engagement in the state or local budget process to advance a priority identified by the community.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the ideal candidate for a BetterNC Fellowship?

The ideal candidate is someone who is passionate about advancing systems and policy change that uproots barriers of opportunity for Black, indigenous, and other people of color by driving public funds to community-identified and supported solutions.

The ideal candidate should demonstrate a basic knowledge about their community, an ability to communicate well to diverse groups of people, and a track record of engagement in policy advocacy.

The ideal candidate for this fellowship can commit to the virtual and in-person meetings, and take leadership on hosting a community conversation or workshop about the budget process.  The ideal candidate will be available to their fellowship peers and staff at NC Budget & Tax Center and NC Black Alliance for debriefing and evaluation of the fellowship program.

How many hours a week will I work on Fellowship Assignments?

Fellows will complete no more than 100 hours of the fellowship.

This will include the completion of the following activities:

  • Attend all check-ins, virtual and in-person sessions
  • Identify connections between fellowship content and community work
  • Engage people in their community to identify priority issues impacted by the budget
  • Host a community conversation before December 2024

How does the stipend work?

Fellows will receive a $3,000 stipend to account for the time spent completing activities for the fellowship and the time spent planning for their community conversation and implementing community engagement activities.

Meet Our 2024 Fellows

Headshot2021 - Traletta Banks
Traletta Banks
  • Charlotte, Mecklenburg County
  • Founder & Executive Director of Erika's Closet
Headshot - Mirella Cisneros Perez
Mirella Cisneros-Perez
  • Elon, Alamance County
  • Curriculum and Program Specialist at LatinxEd
Keisha Headshot - Keisha Dobie
Keisha Dobie
  • Elizabeth City, Pasquotank County
  •  Community Actucator (Activist & Educator) in Elizabeth City, NC
Nichel Dunlap-Thompson
  • Charlotte, Mecklenburg County
  • Organizer at Jobs with Justice
IMG_2574 2 - Cindy Fink
Cindy Fink
  • Rowan County
  • Executive Director at Meals on Wheels Rowan
Kelby_Hicks - Kelby Hicks
Kelby Hicks
  • Northampton County
  • Board Member of A Better Chance A Better Community
20240205_084052 - Makayla Johnson
Makayla Johnson
  • Scotland Neck, Halifax County
  • Director of Diversity & Inclusion at A Better Chance A Better Community
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Brooklyn Nelson
  • Durham County
  • Voter Engagement Manager at North Carolina Asian Americans Together
A7R09821 - Dr. Lashaundon Perkins
Dr. Lashaundon Perkins
  • Wayne County
  • Founder and CEO of Renovating Lives Inc. and Reestablishing YOU Consulting Group
Tamika Williams
Tamika Williams
  • Charlotte, Mecklenburg County
  • Founder of Cartwill Empowerment Solutions