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RYE Program Components

Equality NC‘s RYE Fellowship provides a cohort of young adult LGBTQ leaders in rural areas with the following resources and opportunities:


These workshops have two aims: 1) to educate Fellows on intersectional social justice and 2) to help Fellows acquire basic professional skills that can be applied in job settings (i.e. grant writing, budget writing, event planning, etc.). Workshops will be led by ENC staff, board members, and other local area community leaders whose work incorporates an intersectional social justice lens. Some workshops will also be geared towards NGO leadership and professional development to enhance fellows’ hard and soft skills set, increasing job-readiness for those in rural areas who may have less access to such opportunities.

Monthly cohort video conferencing meetings

Fellows will participate in monthly cohort meetings to share progress on their individual projects, exchange ideas and suggestions, and receive additional guidance from an Equality NC staff member.

Mentoring from a community leader/organizer

Fellows will be paired with a mentor with expertise related to each fellow’s project. Mentors will provide ongoing support throughout the year, providing feedback on fellowship project components  and connecting fellows to professional networks.

Fellowship funding

Fellows will receive funding to help with associated project costs which may include cost of supplies, printing, food for meetings, travel, etc. In addition to covering project costs, the Fellowship also pays for Fellows’ transportation, accommodations, meals, and registration for each of the leadership institutes and all corresponding fellowship events. Fellows are responsible for maintaining expense records and providing receipts.

Washington, D.C. trip

In late spring, the Fellow cohort will travel to Washington, D.C. with Equality NC staff members. Fellows will receive lobbying training and share their stories with their representatives in Congress.

Additional opportunities

Throughout the year, Equality NC will invite Fellows to share their stories on social media and through ENC newsletters. Fellows will also have opportunities to attend major Equality NC events, such as the annual Lobby Day in Raleigh and other large-scale gatherings. Fellows may also be invited to participate in conferences, meetings, or other events and storytelling opportunities that align with their personal and professional goals.

Examples of Projects

Examples of project focus areas may include, but are not limited to, access to healthcare, developing resources for rural communities (particularly Spanish-language resources), starting support/discussion groups, elections and voting rights, field organizing, combating substance abuse, domestic violence, high incarceration rates and the school-to-prison pipeline, engaging faith communities, organizing LGBTQ events (prides, film screenings, town hall meetings, etc.), K-12 school staff education, advocating for inclusive policies and laws, etc. Priority will be given to projects that support populations with the greatest needs, including LGBTQ people of color, the transgender community, youth, and those who are houseless, undocumented, and/or living with HIV/AIDS.

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