Bethany Rubin Henderson founded City Hall Fellows out of her conviction that getting cities’ own best and brightest to return home and tackle social problems locally was the best way to tackle our most pressing challenges. Her theory of change: smart leverage – that one talented, passionate, well-trained individual working in the right place inside government can change an agency, and that many working together can change a city.
Since our 2008 launch, City Hall Fellows has trained 75 urban changemakers (selected from 1,700 applicants) who have transformed how three cities (San Francisco, Houston and Baton Rouge) operate. By design, our corps members are racially and socio-economically diverse. More than half are female. They hold undergraduate degrees in fields ranging from political science to economics to aerospace engineering.
Seven cohorts of Fellows so far have devoted over 90,000 hours to public service and received over 300 hours of training each in how to lead our cities. Our corps members have saved taxpayers over $10 million by re-designing municipal programs and streamlining municipal services; brought hundreds of thousands of grant dollars into city coffers; piloted ground-breaking public health and alternative energy programs; brought municipal water, sewage, parks, civil service and financial systems into the 21st century; sped up pothole repairs; decreased bus wait times; educated thousands of low-income residents about public healthcare laws, public safety programs and municipal courts; and much more. They also have completed 77 pro bono consulting projects, ranging from upgrading cities’ flu pandemic and earthquake disaster plans to establishing a public wi-fi network downtown. Approximately 60% of alumni continue in local public service immediately post-Fellowship. Many others are now returning to city government after graduate school.
In 2012, we became a project of Community Partners®.