Bonner Community Fellowship

The Bonner Community Fellowship (BCF) is a 4-year developmental program that provides students with opportunities to advance social justice through experiential learning opportunities and critical reflection. Students in the BCF will learn about ways to consider the intersections of power and privilege in community engagement while identifying paths to address the issues that matter most.

“The Bonner program has taught me so much over the last 3 years. Principally, I have learned about community organizing, administrative, financial, and personal networks, and passion. The last of these things being the most important. Not only have I taken valuable lessons about passion and drive from the last three years, but I have learned how the passion that individuals carry in their daily pursuits can infect and mobilize others. I have had the pleasure of meeting so many incredible people, from organization leaders to students to administrators to community members, and from each one, I have taken a valuable lesson about the world, about their lives, about their drives, and about myself. Maybe a little selfish, but I am so grateful for how much the Bonner Community Fellowship has taught me about myself.” – Tafari Williams '20, Bonner Community fellow

meet the Bonner Community Fellowship Cohorts

Your participation in the Bonner Community Fellowship (BCF) will consist of:

  • Civic engagement within the Providence and Rhode Island communities.
  • Co-Curricular Learning workshops.
  • Regular cohort and fellowship meetings.

These three components will come together to help you develop and grow as a student, citizen, and activist in service of our communities.

The BCF will offer:

  • Opportunities to reflect, learn, and grow as you create a positive impact in your community.
  • Learning spaces to help you think critically about power, privilege, and change.
  • Training and workshops for skills you can use at Brown and beyond.
  • Access to mentors, advisers, and a network of local community partners.
  • Leadership opportunities.
  • Opportunity to join a cohort of students who share a commitment to advancing justice.
  • A sense of belonging and support.
  • Opportunity to participate in an all expenses paid trip to Jackson, MS (Bonner trip)
  • (If eligible) A stipend to help support your work every semester that you are part of the program.

If you join the BCF, you will commit to:

  • Participate in the program for your four years at Brown, for approximately 5-7 hours per week. 
  • Engage in regular community and civic engagement opportunities
  • Attend all BCF activities, which include:
    • A Bonner pre-orientation
    • Weekly learning community sessions
    • Bonner All-Call meetings
    • One engaged summer (around 180 hours)
  • Reflect, learn, and grow as you engage with different communities and peers.

You will be able to find different civic engagement opportunities when you join the BCF, which include:

  • Short and Long-term volunteer opportunities
  • Internships or other community-identified projects 
  • Community-Based Learning and Research courses (CBLR)
  • Leadership roles within the BCF and Swearer Center
  • Leadership and Networking opportunities with the national Bonner Network.
  • Other ways to serve the community that you identify

We seek to develop a diverse team of students united by their desire to engage in community service.

Consider applying to the BCF if you:

  • Are an incoming First Year undergraduate at Brown.
  • Have a passion for community engagement.
    • Past experience is not a requirement!
  • Are willing to commit to the program for your entire undergraduate degree.


May 15 BCF applications will open
June 15 BCF applications close
July 6 - 20 Select Candidate Interviews
July 27 Program acceptance notifications
August 1 Deadline to confirm participation in the BCF
August 2 Waitlist acceptance notifications
August 27 - 30 BCF Pre-Orientation in Providence

Accepted students may be eligible for an annual academic year stipend.


Every academic year, we recruit a cohort of students from the incoming class of first-year students. The Bonner Community Fellowship application for the Class of 2027 will open in UFunds, Brown's application system, in May 2023. Applicants will need their Brown credentials to log into UFunds to access the Bonner application.

Bonner Application Short Essay Questions Review:

Note: These questions may change. Final questions for the Class of 2027 applications will be finalized by April.

  • The Bonner Community Fellowship is for students passionate about social justice and community engagement. What are some issues you are passionate about? What work or learning have you done to address them?
  • Power, privilege, and the intersection of identities inform and affect our personal and professional lives. Please share an example when you had to consider them in your community engagement work. What did you do? How did they affect you?
  • The BCF seeks to support students to demonstrate leadership as they create a positive impact in their communities. Describe a time where you've demonstrated leadership. What did you learn about your leadership style? What worked? What would you do differently if you encountered a similar situation?
  • The BCF is a cohort experience that complements and enhances your academic learning. What are some things you hope to gain from this experience and from your peers? Describe a time when you learned from your peers in a group or cohort setting.
  • The BCF is a 4-year commitment for all participants. How do you approach and maintain long-term commitments? Describe a time when you committed yourself to a long-term opportunity. What did you learn about yourself? How did you stay committed, especially when you felt it was hard to do so?
  • In the BCF you will find a variety of community and civic engagement opportunities. What type of opportunities are you most interested in and why?
    • Some examples include short and long-term internships, Academic and Community-Based Learning and Research courses, leadership roles within the BCF, etc. You can also include other types of opportunities that aren't listed here.

If you have any questions about the Bonner Community Fellowship, please contact [email protected].