FAQS

 Who are Allies?
Public Allies believes that Everyone Leads, that everyone has talents, abilities, and potential to be a leader through the way they live their lives and improve their community. Leaders must come from all backgrounds and all parts of a community if we are going to solve our most urgent problems. We identify and develop diverse, leaders (Allies) in communities across the country. These leaders are committed to improving their communities.  On average, Allies are 67% people of color, 60% women, 50% college graduates (including some with graduate degrees), and 15% LGBT. Most Allies live in the community they serve, but Public Allies sites will consider Allies who come from a community without a local Public Allies program.

What do Allies do?
Allies serve in full-time apprenticeship positions at local nonprofits, where they create, improve and expand services that address issues including youth development, education, public health, economic development, and the environment.  In addition, Allies participate in a rigorous leadership development program in which local community leaders and experts lead workshops to build the leadership skills of Allies. Allies also participate in community building activities, contribute to team service projects, and receive individual coaching to support their professional development during their apprenticeship.

What do Allies learn?
Our leadership development program challenges and supports Allies to become leaders who connect across social boundaries, facilitate collaborative action, recognize and mobilize community assets, commit to continuous learning and self-development, and be accountable for creating impact. Allies gain a deep knowledge of their community and important skills from local community leaders, practitioners, and educators. They also learn much from the diverse backgrounds, perspectives, issue focuses and neighborhoods of their fellow Allies.

What pay and benefits do Allies receive?
Allies are AmeriCorps members and receive a stipend and benefits for their service. Allies are paid a stipend between $1,300 and $1,800 a month (depending on the community), and they receive health care, child care, interest-free student loan deferments, and, upon successful completion of the program, up to $5,500 in an education award to pay back student loans or pay for future education.

What happens after the program?
We help Allies identify and pursue future career and educational goals. In some cases, we can help Allies secure additional education support and connect alumni with employers. In addition, we connect graduates to our growing network of nearly 5000 Alumni for career and professional development opportunities.

Why should I become an Ally?
You can gain valuable leadership skills, receive personalized coaching to pursue your career goals, build relationships with a diverse network of local leaders, and participate in a national movement of leaders working for change.

Can I be a Public Ally if I have a criminal record?
Public Allies believes that everyone has talents and skills that can make communities stronger. We also believe that a person's past shouldn't dictate their future. Part of the learning Public Allies promotes is how to work with different people with different experiences. We actively seek to ensure diversity in our program. Having a criminal history will not disqualify you from the Ally program, with the exception of two areas: Those who have been convicted of murder and those that are required to register on state or national sex offender registries are ineligible to be an Ally.

Is Public Allies successful?
Nearly 5,500 Allies have completed the program. More than 95% of Allies have met or exceeded their service goals helping tens of thousands of children, adults and families achieve greater education, health, economic security, and participation in the civic life of their communities. In addition, more than 95% of Allies would participate again in our program if they could. Over 80% of Alumni continue to work in the nonprofit and public sectors, and they participate in volunteer, civic, and political activities at more than twice the rate of their age cohort. Public Allies is recognized for having many best practices in our field, and we were the first grantee of AmeriCorps to be hired to provide training to other AmeriCorps programs. The Pew Partnership for Civic Change honored Public Allies with their prestigious Civic Change Award.

How do I apply to be an Ally?
Contact the Public Allies staff members at the sites you are interested in applying to for more information on their program. A list can be found HERE.  If you think it is a fit, visit our Application Page.

How are Partner Organizations selected?
Nonprofit organizations who have projects that create, improve, or expand services to meet community needs with measurable results are welcomed to apply to host a Public Ally . Organizations should view Allies as valuable tools in expanding the capacity of the organization through greater effectiveness, efficiency, or reach. Allies have served at organizations focused on youth, education, economic development, health, arts, environment, and other social and community services. To apply, organizations should visit our Partnership Development Guide.

What is AmeriCorps?
AmeriCorps is a federal program operated by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency created in 1993 by President Clinton. Since its inception, more than 775,000 Americans have participated in AmeriCorps, and 75,000 are participating this year. AmeriCorps provides grants to private nonprofit organizations and schools to contribute to the costs of stipends, benefits, training, and other support to Americans serving full-time or part-time meeting critical needs in communities. AmeriCorps is a public-private partnership, so programs are also required to raise matching dollars in their communities.  Every program funded by AmeriCorps is considered an AmeriCorps program, and every participant in an AmeriCorps program is called an AmeriCorps member. Public Allies was identified by former President George H.W. Bush as a model for a national service program in 1992. President Clinton also recognized Public Allies as a model for AmeriCorps, and we were one of the original AmeriCorps programs.

Why work for a nonprofit?
The nonprofit sector employs 14 million people, almost 11% of the U.S. workforce; more than in the construction, utilities, and entertainment industries combined. Nonprofit organizations need a wide variety of skill sets to operate effectively – business management, marketing and communications, human resources, information technology, accounting, education, social work and more. Many nonprofits, including Public Allies, pay competitive salaries for many positions (many people are surprised, for example, to learn that the average nonprofit executive director in Milwaukee earns about $90,000 a year) and offer a full array of benefits, including health care, matching 401k plans, and generous vacation. One recent study found that nonprofit employees enjoyed their jobs and employers more than private sector and public sector employees doing similar jobs. At nonprofit organizations, people can have a great career while also making a great difference.

What's the best way to write for the following essay question: "Please choose one of our 5 core values (collaboration, continuous learning, diversity / inclusion, integrity, focus on assets) that most resonates with you. Please share a personal story (from your educational, professional, or volunteering experience) that illustrates why."
Some questions that could get you thinking about this include:

  • What does the value that you chose mean to you?
  • How did that value play out in the personal story you are telling?
  • How did the value help you grow personally and/or professionally?
  • Looking forward, how is this value going to support your success in completing the Public Allies Apprenticeship?...in your overall career goals?

You have a limited amount of space, so don't feel that you have to answer every question. We'd rather have you "deep-dive" into two or three of those questions, so we can get a better understanding your attitude and vision for your work.

What's the best way to write for the following essay question: "Share one example of how you practiced leadership in improving the community."
You may want to start with the "W’s" - Who was involved, what actions did you take, and what was accomplished. Also, "Community" could refer to a "geographic location" (i.e. your neighborhood, your school, etc.) and/or it could refer to a shared identity, affinity or interest (i.e. recently emigrated, volunteer church choir, etc) But beyond that, reviewers will want to know how you practiced the Public Allies Values:

  • Asset-Based Approach: Share examples of the strengths or assets of the community you leveraged to make the project of a success.
  • Continuous Learning: How did your definition of "community" change or evolve as a result of this activity?
  • Collaboration: What other partners did you engage in this project?
  • Integrity: How have you continued your participation in that project? If there were mistakes made, how did you resolve them?
  • Diversity / Inclusion: How did you practice diversity and inclusion in your leadership?