Fellowship FAQ

How do I apply?

To apply visit codeforamerica.org/cities/fellowship-apply and fill out the form.

Am I eligible?

In addition to basic requirements such as the ability to fund the fellowship program, we’re looking for US-based city and county government partners who exhibit strong leadership and an interest in providing support and guidance to our fellows. We’re also looking for those governments who are willing to co-develop a sustainability plan to ensure that apps are well-supported after the fellowship ends. If you are not based in the USA, please visit the International Page.

Types of apps?

In the past, fellows have built a variety of apps to meet your city’s needs. Those needs are assessed during the fellowship residency when teams do extensive community stakeholder and city staff interviews. You can check out most of our apps from past fellows here.


March 31 City Application Deadline
May – Jun City Finalists Notified, Contracting Begins
Aug CfA and Cities Securing Matching Funding
Oct Press Release: Cities Announced
Jan Fellows Begin Training in SF
Feb Fellows Begin Residency
Mar-Aug Fellows Return to SF for app development. (City contact ongoing)
Sept-Oct Apps Launch
Nov App Sustainability Plan Finalized. App Hand Off.

Cost of Investment

The overall investment for the 2015 Fellowship is $440,000. In most cases 50% of the investment is covered by the local government applying for the Fellowship–which helps cover for direct expenses for a team of three fellows (stipend, benefits, travel, training). The other 50% is typically raised by the local government from community funders (corporations, foundations, individuals) in collaboration with Code for America covers the cost of administering the Fellowship program. Additional fellows placed on a team at the request of a local government require an incremental investment. To discuss funding options for your Fellowship, email luke@codeforamerica.org to learn more about how we work with Fellowship applicants to secure local funding.

Staff time required?

Project success correlates to staff engagement. We ask that someone in a leadership position acts as the primary fellowship contact. This person assists in briefing fellows, collaborating on the app and engaging other government stakeholders for interviews/meetings. In addition to the key contact, fellows may have info and resource requests from select city staff. Over the 11 month period, the cities primary contact will spend somewhere between 10-15% of their time collaborating with the Fellows, with a majority of that time being spent during January, February, September and October.

What Outcomes Can I Expect?

Only a few years since our first fellowship and fellowship cities have released 1000+ open data sets, instituted progressive new policies and created entire departments for innovation. The immediate impact of the program may be measured in app users or number of times an app is deployed, but apps are just the beginning. A complete list of our yearly outcomes is available in our Annual Report.Our team is here to help support you and help you build influence among your colleagues and/or city leaders.

Who are the Fellows?

This year’s average fellow has previous experience in design, development, research or project management. Fellows have come from Google, NASA, Apple and Rackspace recently started a sabbatical program to support us. You can check out past fellowship bios here: 2013, 2012 and 2011.

Is this sustainable?

The last month of the fellowship is dedicated to helping you support your apps. In some cases we’ll train your staff to support them while in other cases, support comes from a Brigade, a community group, university, contractor, or a civic tech startup. The connections you make with local civic hackers both during the research phase of this project and beyond adds capacity to your existing IT strategy.

Why are the apps open source?

City apps built during the fellowship are released as open source code and can be redeployed by local volunteer Brigade groups, or by your City’s staff. While it’s true that other cities can download and tweak your app code, as a fellowship city you’ll help steer the app’s functionality in a way that is customized to meet your unique needs.

More Questions?

Email luke@codeforamerica.org for more info on how you can get involved in the fellowship.