Leaders from the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS), Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) today joined Airbnb to announce a new pilot program dedicated to supporting the next generation of public service leaders from historically underrepresented communities. As part of the program, Airbnb will provide each organization with housing coupons to help welcome more than 50 fellows to Washington, DC and ease their transition into their respective fellowship programs.
The program was developed with input from all three organizations which expressed a clear need for additional housing support to help fellows with their move to the nation’s capital. While all three organizations offer some financial support to help fellows offset the cost of housing during the length of their respective fellowship programs, Airbnb’s support will allow participants to book weeks-long stays before the start of their fellowship placements. The additional time in Washington, DC will allow fellows to spend time building relationships, exploring the city, and securing longer-term housing for their fellowship.
“Airbnb is proud to support APAICS, CBCF, and CHCI in their efforts to develop the next generation of public servants,” said Marisa Moret, Airbnb’s Director of Strategic Partnerships. “As a CHCI alumnus, I understand the costs associated with moving to a new city can be challenging for many embarking on their public service careers, especially for young people from underrepresented communities. This pilot program will give fellows additional time in the nation’s capital to network and help them prepare for their work on issues impacting communities both nationwide and globally.”
This pilot program is part of Airbnb’s goal to support the three organizations’ long-standing efforts to build a more diverse pipeline of Congressional and public policy talent. Despite recent efforts to increase diversity among Hill staff, a 2020 report by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies found only 11 percent of Senate chiefs of staff, policy chiefs and communications directors are people of color and in the House that figure rises to 19 percent. Fellowships and internship programs– such as those offered by APAICS, CBCF and CHCI– serve as an entry into the Hill and provide an opportunity to diversify the staff pipeline.
“We appreciate Airbnb’s commitment to support our Congressional Fellows program by providing a housing grant prior to the start of their Fellowship. There is much work to be done in the representation of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in diversifying Congress and with creative solutions, we can help reduce the burdens of entry and empower applicants from all racial and financial backgrounds to pursue a career in public service,” said Madalene Xuan-Trang Mielke, President and CEO of APAICS.
“The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Fellowship Program, housed in the Foundation’s Leadership Institute, equips early-career policy professionals who are committed to contributing to public policy uplifting the global Black community with the necessary skills to become the next generation of leaders in public service,” said Donna Fisher-Lewis, CBCF Interim Co-President and CEO and Senior Vice President of Resource Development.
“We are proud to work with Airbnb in helping to make this program more inclusive and helping to remove geographic and financial barriers that have historically led to disparities in equitable staffing of Black staffers on Capitol Hill,” said Akailah Jenkins Mcintyre, Director of the CBCF Leadership Institute.
“The partnership between Airbnb and CHCI helps further our mission of developing the next generation of Latino Leaders by offsetting some of the financial burden our fellows may face, and facilitating their move to Washington, DC. One of the barriers many Latinos face when deciding to accept our fellowship is the cost of living in DC, especially when they are not familiar with the area. Through this partnership we are able to help them better prepare for their transition to Washington, allowing them to focus on their goal – making an impact in the policy world,” said Marco Davis, President and CEO, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.
“As an incoming APAICS fellow from outside the DMV area, I remember how daunting and complicated the housing search in DC was for me, especially because I couldn’t afford to visit potential apartments in-person beforehand,” shared Jennifer Kwon, 2018-19 APAICS Congressional Fellow. “I was excited to accept this fellowship to pursue my passion, but housing posed a significant hindrance to immediately accepting it. The housing grant provided by Airbnb will greatly reduce the burden on future applicants—especially those from underrepresented communities—hoping to begin a career in public service.”
“Having access to temporary transitional housing would have made my move to the DC area much easier. It was difficult for me to sign a lease without physically visiting different locations, having little to no familiarity with the neighborhoods, and minimal understanding of the public transportation systems. Temporary housing would have given me the opportunity to make a safer and informed decision that I truly felt comfortable with,” said Dulce Dominguez, 2021-22 CHCI Social Equity Graduate Fellow.
Airbnb is committed to learning from this initial pilot program and applying lessons for future partnership and collaboration.
The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) is a national non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) participation and representation at all levels of the political process, from community service to elected office.
Established in 1976, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) is a non-partisan, nonprofit, public policy, research, and educational institute committed to advancing the global Black community by developing leaders, informing policy, and educating the public. For more information, visit cbcfinc.org.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) is the premier Hispanic nonprofit and nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization in the country dedicated to developing the next generation of Latino leaders®. CHCI provides leadership, public service, and policy experiences to outstanding Latino/a/x students and young professionals, and convenes Members of Congress, other public officials, corporate executives, nonprofit advocates, and thought leaders to discuss issues facing the nation and the Hispanic community.