The Roosevelt Network trains, develops, and supports emerging progressive policymakers, researchers, and advocates across the US, focusing on communities historically denied political power. We believe that young people can affect change now, locally. To fulfill our mission of building true public power, our students lead successful policy campaigns that defend or invest in public goods at the campus, local, and state levels. Over the last few years, they have lowered the cost of campus healthcare, helped restore voting rights to formerly incarcerated Floridians, organized to stop the privatization of campus worker jobs in Tennessee, and much more.
We act locally, but think big. We want to pass local policy now, and we want those reforms to be scalable. We want to develop local leaders now, and we want to ensure the long-term influence of our people to help fulfill the ideals of American democracy. Our vision is that Roosevelters will hold long-term decision-making power in their communities, and we leverage the power of our alumni network—which includes public officials, lawyers, teachers, nonprofit executives, and researchers—to expand opportunities for the next generation of policy leaders.
We believe who writes the rules matters. Shifting decision-making power to communities historically denied political influence and representation in American democracy builds true public power. As a result, government can act as a force for the public good in ways it has been unable or unwilling to.
Our Theory of Change
If we train, develop, and support emerging progressive policymakers, researchers, and advocates across the US, focusing on communities historically denied political power, then we can change who writes the rules and help build true public power.
Our Student Programming – Our Theory of Change in Practice
Network programming comprises three categories: training opportunities, leadership opportunities, and advanced policy opportunities. Students interact with these three buckets in nonlinear ways, and sometimes pursue multiple opportunities simultaneously. There is no one way to advance through our opportunities and emerge a successful policy leader; the categories form an involvement matrix rather than an opportunities ladder.
These programs explicitly seek to develop student policy and leadership skills. Although we are not a leadership development organization, we recognize there are hard and soft skills that students must have to be successful researchers, writers, and activists. The programs and opportunities below are designed to help our students acquire them:
- The Forge Fellowship
- Public Goods Incubator
- Financialization Program and Incubator
- Hyde Park (conference)
- Midyear Retreat (conference) (Coming soon!)
These opportunities provide leadership and organizing experiences that directly impact the network’s success. The authority and responsibility that come with these positions ensure that the network remains student-driven.
- National Leadership Team (LINK)
- Student Board of Advisors (LINK)
- Chapter Leadership (LINK)
- Campaign/Project Leadership (LINK)
Advanced Policy Opportunities
These opportunities are for our most advanced students and are some of the most important for demonstrating the credibility and success of the network’s model — and for reinforcing the importance and significance of young policymakers more broadly. They are designed for students who have completed Roosevelt’s core trainings and/or have participated in other opportunities with us, and for this reason, those are the students that make the most out of these programs.
- Emerging Fellowship
- Summer Fellowship
- Financialization of Higher Education research (at the Case Study level) (LINK)
- Policy Challenges
- 10 Ideas
Work supported through these opportunities has led to some of the biggest network successes, including the passage of Amendment 4 in Florida and the lowered cost of George Washington University’s student healthcare.