Our White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellowship equips participants with a real-world understanding of the art, science, possibilities, and realities of policy-making around afterschool and expanded learning.

Offered in partnership with the Charles S. Mott Foundation, the ten-month learning experience is grounded in deep discussion and led by policy change-makers. Fellows work closely with their afterschool networks and network leads to build capacity, ensure statewide connectivity, and assist in advancing the public interest policy agenda of the network. The fellowship is named for William S. White, Richard W. Riley, and Terry K. Peterson, all of whom have been instrumental in the growth of afterschool and summer learning programs and policies.

The White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellowship is funded through the generous support of the Charles S. Mott Foundation.

Comments from Fellows

“The White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellowship has enriched our work in more ways than one and has aided our work in local school districts, local governments, and now state-level advocacy. Furthermore, this fellowship has validated me as a leader and given me the confidence that we are on the right path as we work alongside our communities.” Jansen Azarias-Suzumoto, CEO/President and Co-Founder, Higher Ground a Resource Center

“The White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellowship has been transformative for me in so many ways. Not only did it provide clarity for the work that I do now for NJSACC but it also provided clarity for my purpose in life. Because of the guidance of Cat, the encouragement of Ron and the mentoring of Dr. Peterson, the trajectory of my career has expanded immensely. Since the fellowship, I represented my network and my state at the United States Department of Education’s Summer Symposium twice even presenting my research from the fellowship. In 2022, I will present at the National Afterschool Association’s Annual Convention and that is all due to the invaluable and lifelong connections made at the WRP fellowship.” Tyneisha Gibbs, Director of Expanded Learning Opportunities, The Statewide Network for New Jersey’s Afterschool Communities

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the fellowship’s desired outcomes?

Through participation in the fellowship, professionals are empowered and equipped to assume pivotal roles in:

  • Maintaining and growing 21st Century Community Learning Center funds for expanded learning and afterschool
  • Establishing state funding mechanisms, state funding streams, and state priorities to support expanded learning and afterschool

What will my organization gain?

Organizations gain strategic capacity and are better positioned to participate effectively in local, state, and national policy arenas. States will benefit from the strategic alliances and greater coordination in policy efforts built through each fellow’s in-state work. National networks will form among fellows and organizations through their work with the White-Riley-Peterson cohort, which includes professionals from across the nation.

Who is eligible to participate?

Policy fellows are chosen from nominees drawn from a broad national cross-section of individuals and entities who can work closely with the state afterschool networks and/or the Afterschool Alliance to change education policy from a variety of positions. The goal is to create a critical mass and network of culturally and ethnically diverse individuals capable of advancing policy at the national, state and local levels. Fellows will have varying combinations of professional expertise and policy experience.

How is the fellowship structured?

Fellows’ learning experiences center on an intensive week-long workshop in Greenville, South Carolina, to be held each autumn. Following the week-long workshop, fellows will work in their home states within their afterschool and expanded learning communities to build personal policy plans and participate in a series of online sessions and small-group conference calls, culminating in individual virtual presentations in the spring.

Each spring, the fellows convene at the 50 State Network conference hosted by the C.S. Mott Foundation. At the conference, the Riley Institute hosts an evening reception for past and present White-Riley-Peterson Fellows in attendance. This reception gives fellows to connect across cohorts and further develop the relationships that are a key part of the program.

How is the curriculum organized?

A case study-driven curriculum, presented and facilitated by policy change-makers and supported by nationally prominent professors of policy and politics, is employed to accommodate a range of fellows’ experience and knowledge. The curriculum was developed in partnership with a national advisory committee, chaired by Dr. Terry Peterson and including experts from the Afterschool Alliance, State Afterschool Networks, and the Council of Chief State School Officers. A lead facilitator, Ron Fairchild, President and CEO of Smarter Learning Group, ties all of the learnings together and works closely with Fellows during the year to help them develop their individual policy plans.

What is the cost?

Through a generous grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the White-Riley- Peterson Policy Fellowship is nearly free of charge to participants. This includes expenses associated with travel to South Carolina, and lodging and meals during the October workshop.

Note: Fellows are strongly encouraged to attend the National Network of State Afterschool Networks conference usually held in late January or early February and the Afterschool for All Challenge in Washington, D.C. usually in April or May, though these expenses will not be covered through the Fellowship. It is anticipated that Fellows will become integral participants in the work of their respective state networks and participate in these conferences.

How can I nominate?

Nominations can be made by state afterschool network leads and the Afterschool Alliance each spring. Nominations for the 2023-24 cohort will be due May 15, 2023. Applications will be due May 26, 2023. 

Press Coverage

“Riley Institute Receives Grant for National Afterschool Policy Fellowship Program” Furman News