Skip to Main Content
The Public Service Venture Fund supports two different types of postgraduate fellowships. It provides “seed money” for startup public interest ventures (seed grants) and salary support to graduating Harvard Law School students who hope to pursue post-graduate work at nonprofits or government agencies in the United States and abroad (existing organization-based fellowships). Applications for these two types of fellowships require a common set of materials, in addition to materials specific to the kind of grant(s) you seek. The chart below describes the required common and specific materials:
Seed Grant Applicants
Please submit the above materials to the Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising, Wasserstein Hall, Suite 4039 by January 15, 2013. Materials may be submitted in hard copy or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. What is a public service organization?
A. Any organization offering services intended for the benefit of the general public is considered a public service organization. Examples include organizations designed to pursue access to justice, serve environmental objectives, aid a low-income population, or improve access to healthcare for all individuals.
Q. Who is eligible to apply for a Venture Fund grant or fellowship?
A. The Selection Committee invites any 3L to apply for a fellowship at an existing organization. Judicial Law Clerks who graduated in 2013 or later, and who have not worked at another organization before clerking, are also eligible.
For seed grants, Harvard Law School alumni may apply to the Venture Fund for one of the limited number of grants provided that the proposed organization is in its initial stages and has few available funding sources; there will be a preference for funding current students and alumni at the early stages of their career but any alumni who might otherwise have difficulty accessing early-stage funding will be eligible.
As between equally qualified applicants, preference will be given to those who have not already received a law school-funded fellowship or PSI.
Q. What kinds of sponsoring organizations are eligible to host the salary fellowships?
A. Non-profit and government agencies are eligible sponsoring organizations.
Q. For the seed grants, what kinds of projects will the Venture Fund support?
A. The seed grant component of the Venture Fund will fund any project that is designed to further social justice. The projects do not have to be legal. They can be based anywhere in the world. The Selection Committee welcomes any project that is in an early stage, innovative (in the sense that it does not duplicate effective existing services), sustainable (will attract further funding or be able to generate its own funds) and will further social justice. Seed grant organizations must be (501)(c)(3)s during the years they are funded by the Harvard Law School Public Service Venture Fund but may convert to another form once no longer receiving Harvard Law School funding.
Q. Are there any funding priorities for the Venture Fund?
A. There is no preference for work on a particular issue. As among competing applicants, the Venture Fund will give priority to projects addressing the greatest need and/or possessing the potential for greatest impact.
Q. Can I apply for both the seed grant and the existing organization-based fellowship?
A. Yes. You may apply for both fellowships in the same application. You should write a single personal statement that addresses your interests in and qualifications for both of your proposed projects.
Q. How many of each type of fellowship will be awarded each year?
A. The number of fellowships will vary from year to year and will depend upon the number of successful fellowship applicants in each category.
Q. How much financial support does each fellow receive?
A. Organization-based fellows will receive $45,000 for one year. Seed grant fellows will receive $80,000 for individual recipients per year, with the expectation of renewal for a second year; this would include $45,000 in salary.
Q. May teams of applicants apply for the seed grant component?
A. Yes. Two Harvard Law School students/graduates may submit a joint proposal that will be eligible for $125,000 – with $45,000 each in salary and shared overhead. Harvard Law School students may also apply with one external partner but we will only provide funding to the Harvard Law School team member. In limited cases, we will be open to more than two partners in a social venture.
Q. How should I submit my recommendation letters?
A. Recommendation letters can be submitted via email to email@example.com or sent via mail to OPIA in Wasserstein Hall Suite 4039.
Q. How should I submit my transcript?
A. Applicants can submit transcripts via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or bring hard copy transcripts to OPIA in Wasserstein Hall Suite 4039.
Q. I have already applied to other fellowships to pursue my project. Am I still eligible to receive support from the Public Service Venture Fund?
A. Yes. Applicants are highly encouraged to apply to all possible funding sources available to them. If a successful PSVF candidate receives another fellowship for an amount less than PSVF would provide, PSVF may provide partial funding to make up the difference.
Q. After I submit my application, what are the next steps?
A. After all applications have been reviewed, semifinalists will be invited to an interview in March. Decisions will be announced by May 15.
Questions about the fund should be directed to Alexa Shabecoff, Chair of the Venture Fund and OPIA Director, at email@example.com. Questions about the application process should be directed to Judy Murciano, OPIA's Associate Director and Director of Fellowships, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back to Top