Frequently Asked Questions
- What kinds of projects does Pride Law Fund choose (or not choose)?
The Tom Steel Fellowship was created to support cutting-edge projects that are unlikely to find funding elsewhere. You can check out our list of past fellowships for information about projects that have been successful. We are interested in projects that push the boundaries of the work that is already being done in support of LGBTQI communities. We expect your proposal to demonstrate an understanding of the existing work and to explain why your project is innovative in that context. We also strive to fund projects that are likely to become self-supporting or integrated into the supporting organization’s ongoing work after an initial year of seed-money from PLF.
- I want to work with an existing organization that needs a staff attorney to focus on LGBTQI-specific issues, or an existing organization that does LGBTQI work that does not have the capacity to focus on an important issue they already do some work on. Will PLF support my project?
Every year we receive applications from organizations that already support LGBTQI communities and that need more attorney help. PLF understands and appreciates the reality that there is insufficient funding available for nonprofit staff attorney positions; however the Steel Fellowship was established to fund innovative work that would not otherwise get funding. PLF does not consider staff attorney positions to be innovative. Your application must show why your proposal is not just a staff attorney job. In addition, some proposals demonstrate that the application would be creating capacity in an organization to expand its work in a new direction. PLF will evaluate whether that proposal would be a staff attorney job for a different organization that covers the same geographic area or population that your proposal targets.
- I have work experience on my resume that is not progressive or does not clearly demonstrate commitment to the populations I am proposing to serve now or is apparently contradictory. For example, I worked at a District Attorney’s office during a law school summer and I am proposing a project focused on prison reform. Can I still be successful?
PLF understands that not everyone has been consistently on the same side of every issue in their employment history, or even in their life. Whether you have made those employment choices because of financial need, ideological development or shifts during your education, or for some other reason, tell us about it in your personal statement, and be prepared to explain apparently contradictory work history in an interview.
- In order to be successful, my project will require multiple supporting organizations. Will PLF consider that?
There have been successful Steel Fellowship applications that have had multiple supporting organizations. PLF considers the need for the project, the relationship the applicant has with the supporting organizations, and the context in which the project will occur to determine whether or not to fund a project. PLF recognizes that having divided support can create logistical problems for a project’s success and PLF will require that a successful project choose one organization as the primary supporter so that PLF can direct funding through only one organization. Because of the Steel Fellowship’s funding structure, that organization must be a 501(c)(3).
- I really struggled academically in law school and I’m hesitant to apply because my GPA is not great. Should I still apply?
YES! Please do not let your grades be a barrier to applying for the fellowship. PLF recognizes that law school is often an uncomfortable academic environment especially for progressive thinkers and social justice change-makers. In most instances we receive an applicant’s transcript and ignore it.
- Do you check references?
PLF will contact an applicant’s references and supporting organization(s) to confirm that the project will receive the support it needs during the fellowship year. Because PLF is interested in funding projects that are likely to continue after PLF’s initial funding, PLF will ask the supporting organization about this possibility.
- Do you consider funding a second year of an existing project?
PLF will consider funding an existing Steel Fellowship project for a second year. Applications from an existing fellow have the same deadline and requirements as new applications.
- I don’t see my question answered here - can I ask it somewhere? Yes. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you.