Responding to the

fierce urgency of now


The Freedom Summer Fellowship was launched in 2023 in response to the once-in-a-generation federal infrastructure funding from the Biden-Harris Administration. Inspired by the work of the 1964 Freedom Summer, the fellowship operates as a capacity-building and applied learning program to address the climate crisis and direct resources to historically underinvested communities.

We match cities and frontline community organizations with graduate students and young professionals to partner on concrete local and regional development projects supporting low income communities in the Just Transition. With our partners at Emerald Cities Collaborative, MIT Community Innovators Lab, and Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University, we bring institutional and technical capacity to support our fellows and host cities in accessing and implementing federal dollars. In our inaugural year, we placed students from universities including MIT, Jackson State, Tufts, Harvard, Cleveland State and others in 7+ geographies and plan to increase the breadth of our work and impact in 2024 and beyond.


Birmingham, AL

Host: City of Birmingham

Fellow’s Work: Equity-based grant writing and management capacity.

Arkansas Delta

Host: Visibility Outreach Touch Engage South Arkansas

Fellows’ Work: Built out community partners network and developed communications materials to support engagement.

Cleveland, OH

Host: City of Cleveland

Fellow’s Work: Research to guide the City’s air quality improvement technology.

Host: Cleveland Owns

Fellow’s Work: Identified and applied for funding opportunities for a East Cleveland community-owned solar project.

Eastern NC, GA, MS, GA

Host: Digital Equity Opportunity Initiative

Fellows’ Work: Developed case studies to address challenges around digital infrastructure planning in rural + low-income communities across the south and southwest.

East Brooklyn, NY

Host: Brooklyn Communities Collaborative

Fellow’s Work: Developed business models and identified funding opportunities for a community owned Virtual Power Plant.

Paterson, NJ

Host: City of Paterson

Fellow‘s Work: Created resource guide to access federal funding and develop programs to ensure Justice40 implementation and development.

Atlantic City, NJ

Host: City of Atlantic City

Fellow’s Work: Developed and sourced funding for a utility dashboard to promote climate resiliency and increase solar and broadband connection.


Emerald Cities Collaborative is a collective of change agents dedicated to taking the “high road” to a sustainable and just future.

Learn More

CoLab facilitates the interchange of knowledge and resources between MIT and community organizations to center innovation from the margins..

Learn More

Tisch College serves as a hub for students, faculty, and community members committed to civic engagement.

Learn More

More Information on 2024 Applications for Hosts & Fellows Coming Soon

Contact US: