5BF Fellowship

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Arena Summit is launching a six-month Fellowship for New York City’s emerging civic leaders. This program will bring together activists, non-profit leaders, and aspiring political candidates from all five boroughs.

The program will consist of bi-monthly seminars and two full day retreats (dates below). Through these seminars, Fellows will accomplish the following:

  • Build leadership skills

  • Develop deep background in NYC’s shared history and politics

  • Form relationships across the city’s many diverse communities

  • Access Arena’s campaign trainings and industry experts


Program Details

Seminars will combine textual learning, experiential trainings, and on-site visits. We won’t just read about the flaws in the Hudson Yards development; we will visit the site together. We won’t just read Robert Caro’s work on the Cross Bronx Expressway; we will meet with local leaders about the continued impact of that project. And we won’t just discuss strong campaign and organizing tactics; participants will put those skills to work.

On this last point, the program will culminate in each participant launching a new project within their community. Projects could be new organizations, initiatives, candidacies for office, policy platforms, or anything else that converts the key ideas from the Five Borough Future platform into durable change for an NYC community. (This fellowship is not open to anyone who is already a candidate for office.)


Who this is for

This Fellowship is for New York City’s emerging civic leaders. Our criteria:

  • Rooted: You are not just a resident of New York City, but are committed to being rooted in the city. You plan to spend the rest of your life here and spend a significant part of any week giving back to the institutions that hold your community together.

  • Committed:  You are committed to the core values and vision of the Five Borough Future Project, especially the goals of New York City autonomy and good governance.

  • Civic Leader:  You are a civic leader who is passionate about NYC issues. This includes activists, non-profit leaders, political operatives, and aspiring political candidates from all five boroughs.

  • Available:  You are available to attend the requisite number of seminars (more on that below).  


The program will run from August 3, 2019 through January 25th, 2020. It will include two mandatory full-day retreats, six five hour seminars, of which participants must attend four, and access to optional campaign trainings. All seminars will take place on Saturdays within the five boroughs of New York City.

  • June 24:  Early decision application deadline

  • July 1:  Applications Close

  • August 3 (Saturday):  Full day orientation (9am through dinner, mandatory)

  • August 8th - 10th (Thursday - Saturday): Arena Academy (Optional)

  • August 24 (Saturday):  Seminar (9am - 2pm)

  • September 7 (Saturday):  Seminar (9am - 2pm)

  • October 5 (Saturday):  Seminar (9am - 2pm)

  • November 9 (Saturday):  Seminar (9am -2pm)

  • December 14 (Saturday):  Seminar (9am - 2pm)

  • January 11 (Saturday):  Seminar (9am - 2pm)

  • January 25 (Saturday):  Final full day retreat (9am through dinner, mandatory)