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Catalyst Grant Program

Launching global and government public interest careers.

Penn Law’s postgraduate fellowship program has been highly successful in launching the public interest careers of recent graduates. Since 2009, Penn Law has supported 12 fellows, all of whom either remained employed by their original host organization or secured public interest positions in the same field.

The new Catalyst Grant Program will support those seeking government positions and those seeking to engage in human rights and rule of law work at the grassroots level abroad. The Catalyst Grant Program can give students an opportunity to work as full-time staff attorneys on the ground in order to gain the experience and establish a reputation that will make them even stronger candidates for long-term positions when funding becomes available.


Graduating JD students seeking funding for unpaid positions with federal, state, and local governments, or with public defender offices, NGOs, and international/intergovernmental organizations may apply.

Application Process & Deadlines

Applications for Project-based Fellowships are due on Monday, April 6th, 2015 by 5:00PM. All applicants will be interviewed the week of Monday, April 20th. Decisions will be communicated to all applicants on Wednesday, April 29th. There is a strong preference for in-person interviews, but arrangements can be made via Skype if necessary.

Applications for Catalyst Grants are due Monday, April 6th, 2015 by 5:00PM. All applicants will be interviewed the week of Monday, April 20th. Decisions will be communicated to all applicants on Wednesday, April 29th.

Applicants who are eligible for both sources of funding may apply for both, and should note that on the application. Applying for both sources of funding will not impact the selection process.

Only students applying for Catalyst Grants may apply for funding before they have secured a placement. To those students, conditional award letters can be provided in order to help them secure a commitment from prospective placements.

The 2015 applications for postgraduate fellowships and catalyst grants are now available here.  Completed applications must be submitted online here

Letters of recommendation may be emailed directly to the Toll Public Interest Center by recommenders who wish to do so. Letters of recommendation should be addressed to:

Toll Public Interest Center Advisory Board
Attention: Lillian Gardiner, Program Coordinator
3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Late applications will not be considered.


Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis. Funding will be a stipend of up to $25,000 for up to one year of full-time volunteer employment with an eligible organization. No benefits or additional costs will be covered. Grant recipients may be eligible for TolLRAP while they are a part of this program.


Questions about the application process may be directed to Arlene Rivera Finkelstein, Associate Dean and Executive Director of Toll Public Interest Center, at: (215) 898-0459 or

Application Form

Penn Law Postgraduate Fellowship & Catalyst Grant Program Application 2015

Current Catalyst Grantees

We have funded new lawyers practicing many kinds of law at many kinds of organizations:

               Elisa Downey-Zayas: 2014-15 Defender Association of Philadelphia, Philadelphia

               Sherri Golkow: 2014-15 U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,

                    Washington, D.C.

               Andreas Kuersten: 2014-15 National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration,

                    Washington, D.C.

               Caroline Merideth: 2014-15 Travis County Prosecutor’s Office, Austin, TX

               Will Moine: 2014-15 Clark County Office of the Public Defender, Las Vegas, NV