Bonner Community Fellowship

The Bonner Community Fellowship at Brown aims to combine a student’s community engagement with their academic and career goals. Bonner Community Fellows are committed to working in a sustained, intentional and intensive way with a community partner that works to address issues in one of our five focus areas: Education, Healthcare, Environment, Economic Justice and the Arts. Together with community partners, fellows will strive to build socially just communities where people have the resources they need to reach their full potential.

We recognize that past circumstances may have prevented some students from participating in community service, so past experience is not a specific requirement. We look for candidates who are willing to commit and devote their time to engage in a long-term capacity.  We support students of diverse economic and social backgrounds to become leaders; to do so we provide reflection and skill development opportunities, mentorship and advising and financial assistance for eligible students.

meet the Bonner Community Fellowship Cohorts

Bonner Fellows commit to:

  • Participate in the program for their four years at Brown.
  • Attend a weekly workshop Tuesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. during the academic year - these trainings include reflection workshops, skills-based trainings, and invited guest speakers.
  • Participate in 6-8 hours of weekly, direct community service with a community partner agency/organization in Providence (examples include leading a weekly after-school lesson for elementary school students, connecting families to healthcare resources at a children's hospital and coaching high school students in debate).
  • Participate in our pre-season programming: a week filled with various activities to get a closer look at the program, meet their cohorts, and learn what being a Bonner is all about. Pre-Season dates will be August 23-30, 2019. Students have the chance to move back onto campus early at no cost to them and participate in sessions to prepare them for the upcoming academic year.
  • Complete two “Engaged Summers” during their time at Brown - a 200-hour internship experience with a nonprofit organization or government agency that is aimed at meeting a community need.
  • Participate in a week-long trip to Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi in their sophomore year, where students learn about voting rights, participate in Tougaloo community engagement, learn about the history of civil rights, etc.

Bonner Fellows who fulfill these commitments receive:

  • Structured mentorship and leadership skill-building in socially just, community-based work.
  • Intensive mentoring and advising - Bonner fellows are assigned an academic adviser within the Swearer Center and a student peer adviser who has been involved with Swearer.
  • Students with demonstrated financial need will receive a yearly academic stipend for their participation in the Bonner Community Fellowship (up to $2,000 per academic year).
  • A lifelong community of Bonners both at Brown University and other universities.

The Bonner Community Fellowship is structured to be:

  • Developmental - Students gain increasing levels of experience, responsibility, and leadership across their four years with the Swearer Center.
  • Multifaceted - Students participate in a range of leadership and professional development workshops that integrate their engaged learning with academic pursuits, social justice work, and reflective practice.
  • Collaborative - Students work together as a cohort-based team at Brown and are introduced to a national community of Bonner scholars at other campuses - the Bonner Community Fellowship at Brown is part of a national network of Bonner programs across the country.

We seek to develop a diverse team of students with a broad range of interests and passions, united by their desire to engage in community work. We are especially interested in students who are first-generation college students, from low-income households and/or have demonstrated a passion for community engagement. Students with demonstrated financial need may be eligible for a $2,000 annual academic year stipend.


Every academic year, we recruit a cohort of students from the incoming class of first-year students. Applications typically open in early May and close mid-June.

The Bonner Community Fellowship is currently seeking applications from the incoming Class of 2023. The application deadline is June 20, 2019. You can access the application on UFunds by searching "Bonner Community Fellows."


Kelly Finn, Program Manager, Student Development: [email protected].