Bonner Community Fellowship

The Bonner Community Fellowship is part of a national network of Bonner programs that 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 five focus areas: Education, Healthcare, Environment, Economic Justice, and the Arts. Together with community partners, fellows strive to build more just communities where people have the resources they need and access to opportunities. 

“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

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:
    • Trainings include cohort bonding, workshops with invited guest speakers, skills-based training, and meaningful reflections.
  • Engage directly with a community partner organization in Providence for 6-8 hours of weekly:
    • Examples include leading a weekly after-school lessons for elementary school students, connecting families to healthcare resources at a children's hospital, and building the capacity of an organization through a marketing strategy. 
  • Participate in our pre-season programming: a week filled with various activities to learn more about the program and what being a Bonner is all about and bond within your cohort and with other cohorts. 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.
  • Participate in an all expense paid, week-long trip to Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi in their sophomore year. Students will dive deeper into the history of the Civil Rights Movement through engaging with the Tougaloo community, meeting with local activists, touring the Mississippi Delta and more.

Bonner fellows who fulfill these commitments receive:

  • Leadership development to aid skill-building in socially just, community-based work.
  • Intensive mentorship within the Swearer Center through an academic adviser and a Swearer-affiliated peer adviser.
  • A yearly academic stipend for students with the highest level of demonstrated financial need (up to $2,000 per academic year).
  • A lifelong community of Bonner fellows 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.

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. 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 and support students of diverse economic and social backgrounds to become leaders. Students with the highest 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. The Bonner Community Fellowship application for the Class of 2026 will open in UFunds soon. Applicants will need their Brown credentials to log into UFunds to access the Bonner application.


With any questions about the Bonner Fellowship, please contact [email protected].