Edward M. Gramlich Fellowship in Community and Economic Development (for Harvard Graduate Students)

The Edward M. Gramlich Fellowship in Community and Economic Development is co-sponsored by JCHS and NeighborWorks®America. The fellowship is named for Edward “Ned” Gramlich, a former member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and former chairman of NeighborWorks® America, who was a strong and consistent advocate for consumer protection in the financial arena.

Gramlich Fellows spend a summer investigating policy and practice challenges faced by public and nonprofit sector organizations in real time, in partnership with NeighborWorks®America, a national practitioner network, and the Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard’s nationally recognized housing research center.

The 2018 Gramlich Fellows are:

  • Aneliese Palmer, a joint degree student at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and the Georgetown Law School, who is examining how shared-equity homeownership models, particularly community land trusts, can scale-up in a variety of markets. Her research includes the challenges and best practices for these organizations to grow their portfolios and otherwise expand their social impact in the face of limited funding.
  • Susanna Pho, a Master in Design Studies student at the Graduate School of Design, who is examining how community organizations tie new and ongoing challenges posed by natural disaster to their existing, long-term community development work.

Fellowship Benefits

$8,000 compensation, plus travel and research expenses, enrollment in the NeighborWorks America Training Institute with all expenses paid (tuition, travel/lodging and related expenses), project mentoring by faculty of the Joint Center for Housing Studies, potential for publication of project as part of Joint Center Working Paper Series, the opportunity to present findings to a group of practitioners at the NeighborWorks Training Institute in Washington, D.C., and also present the findings to leading policy makers, researchers, and advocacy groups at a separate policy briefing also in Washington, DC, and 10 weeks use of office space at a NeighborWorks® America location.

Who Should Apply

Harvard graduate students not in their graduating year who are in planning, public policy, law, business, economics, administration, sociology, education, or related fields who have commitment to and knowledge of the community and economic development fields. Must be entrepreneurial and committed to co-developing, leading, and completing a minimum 10-week analytical project (full-time) that is suitable for publication as a working paper.


Potential Research Topics (from 2018, will be updated closer to the application deadline)

While applicants are encouraged to propose potential research topics that especially interest them, senior at NeighborWorks® America have expressed interest in having a Gramlich Fellow examine the following topics:

  • Shared equity homeownership:  Shared equity homeownership models seek to create middle ground between the more common tenure forms, renting and homeownership. Community land trusts, inclusionary zoning, and other forms of deed restricted housing seek to balance the benefits of affordability with wealth creation.  How effective are these interventions at creating and/or preserving affordable housing, stabilizing communities, and allowing households to build wealth? 
  • Resiliency and disaster recovery:  What efforts are NeighborWorks organizations and their communities undertaking to make their neighborhoods more resilient in the face of natural disasters? In places that have experience a major disaster, what strategies have been implemented to engage community residents in setting priorities for disaster recovery funds and ensuring that rebuilding efforts align with community needs?   Are there particularly notable examples from which best practices can be drawn?
  • Promoting Diversity in Leadership of the Housing & Community Development Sector: What are organizations at various levels — local, regional, and national — doing to promote diversity at their leadership/executive level? What strategies can be gleaned from other sectors?
  • Gentrification and Community Revitalization: How can a community attract capital, investment, and desired amenities, while preventing displacement of low-income residents who might be “priced-out” as housing prices rise? Should revitalization efforts focus on creating diversity in communities or on preserving ethnic neighborhoods?
  • Partnerships between Public Housing Authorities and CDCs:  What are the opportunities and challenges of partnerships between Public Housing Authorities and CDCs, especially in rural counties? This involves reviewing some innovative models of collaboration such as Randolph County, WV and Las Animas County, CO, identifying lessons for possible expansion or replication of these type of partnerships.
  • Rural Development Multifamily Crisis: The rental assistance contracts for many USDA Rural Developments built in the 515 program 30 to 40 years ago are expiring. Many properties will “fall out” of the national affordable housing portfolio. What can the USDA do to handle this looming crisis?
  • Analysis of Effective Cross-Sectoral Strategies for Alleviating Persistent Rural Poverty: There have been high profile public policy campaigns to address regions of persistent poverty with mixed success. Special designations, local and regional program initiatives have tended to bring a limited array of tools to bear. Are there lessons to be gleaned from historic and current efforts that could inform a multi-faceted effort to begin the movement from poverty to prosperity?  

What Former Fellows Have to Say

  • Having access to the dynamic network of academics, policy makers, practitioners, and industry leaders that the Fellowship provides presents an exceptional opportunity to design your research in an almost “real time” context, making it pertinent, relevant, and revealing the path to achieve further impact.
    – Eduardo Berlin, 2010 Gramlich Fellow, CEO, Mapdwell
  • This Fellowship was a great opportunity to step back and see the big picture of what’s happening in the community development field, while also delving into the details of current initiatives. Through the research and the training institute, I made many connections with professionals and learned about current trends and leading initiatives. These connections and the mentoring of staff at JCHS and Neighborworks have enriched my experience at Harvard.
    - Nathalie Janson, 2015 Gramlich Fellow, Development Associate and Kuehn Fellow, Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH)
  • An unparalleled opportunity that connects curious researchers to a network of experienced practitioners and renowned experts. The support and guidance provided by the staff of JCHS and NeighborWorks ensured that my research findings would be relevant to a broad audience of policymakers and industry professionals.
    – Matthew Schreiber, 2017 Gramlich Fellow, Project Manager, Community Housing Partnership

How to Apply

Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume or cv, a transcript of courses they have taken in graduate school, and contact information for two references.  

In the cover letter, please answer the following questions:

  • How have your past professional and educational experiences prepared you for this fellowship opportunity?
  • What interests you most about this opportunity and what do you hope to learn?
  • Why does the field of community and economic development interest you?

Applicants should submit their materials via Harvard's Centralized Application for Research and Travel (CARAT) system

Applications are due by Friday, February 22, 2019.