John Robert Lewis Scholarship

About the Scholarship

The John Robert Lewis Scholars & Fellows Program is designed for undergraduate (Scholars) and graduate students (Fellows) to examine Lewis's nonviolent philosophy from a historical perspective; define its principles and strategies; and identify their applicability to modern times and movements, current issues, and everyday life. The JRL Scholars & Fellows will become a nationwide network of emerging leaders who will be inspired to create positive societal change from the revolutionary nonviolent perspective that was employed with success in the Civil Rights Movement.

A competitive application process selects twenty students per year who are seeking to be effective changemakers in civic life through their engagement in an applied learning program of nonviolent social impact philosophy that grounded John Lewis.

The goal of the John Robert Lewis Scholars & Fellows Program is to build a network of young leaders who are inspired by the moral leadership of John Lewis, educated, and empowered to use King's principles and strategies of nonviolence, and committed to applying these competencies to become changemakers in their local communities.

The Application portal will open for Cohort 4 Applications starting September 1, 2023.

The Program is 12 months long and intended for students studying full time. The Program includes:

  • Two fully paid trips to Washington, D.C. in July 2024 and July 2025 for Scholars & Fellows to connect with representatives from national, state, and local governments, businesses and nonprofits engaged in social impact work

  • Participation in the Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage in March 2025

  • Virtual Programs throughout the year where students engage with thought leaders on issues such as: dignity of work, housing inequities, the rural and urban divides, the legacy of enslavement to mass incarceration, and health disparities

  • Each Scholar & Fellow will engage in an oral history project. The goal of the project is for students to connect with a mentor in their academic or professional field and learn through their stories – the challenges, struggles, opportunities, and triumphs of those who have been engaged in creating positive societal change.

  • Each Scholar & Fellow will receive a $2,000 Stipend


  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident

  • Must be 18 years old or older

  • Must be a current undergraduate or graduate student from an accredited college, university, or seminary, or beginning your vocation in public service, nonprofits, law, heath, or education

  • Must exhibit exceptional leadership potential

  • Must demonstrate interest in and passion for the mission and goals of the program

  • Must be able to participate in all trips, fulfill all the educational requirements and complete the oral history project. The program will run July 2024 - July 2025.

Application Information

Application Portal Opens: September 1, 2023 - For Cohort 4 starting in July 2024

Application Portal Closes: November 1, 2023

Materials needed for application:

  • Unofficial university or college transcript

  • Resume

  • 2 letters of Recommendation

  • Essay: Read the Six Principles of Nonviolence. In a short essay reflect on the principles inspired by the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Choose one principle that inspires you and discuss how this principle connects to your life and work. Your essay should be no longer than 500 words.

  • Personal Statement Video: In your video, please tell us about yourself, what draws you to this work, and what you would like us to know about you. Your video should be no longer than 2 minutes.

Contact Information: Send any questions to Marisa Pryor, Director of Educational Programs, FPI