Project Ready: Inside program that aims to prepare Black women to run for elected office

There has long been a belief that more women — and more people of color — need to be in elected positions. Only then, the idea goes, will a true diversity of experience (and opinion) be represented.

But how?

Newark-based nonprofit Project Ready feels it has a first step toward the solution. The group announced Tuesday that it is seeking applicants from Newark for a leadership program to train Black women to run for public office or to serve on a campaign team.

Project Ready will work with IGNITE, a movement that is working with young women eager to become the next generation of political leaders.

The Project Ready x Ignite Fellowship program is seeking five Black women living in Newark, ages 18-65, who have exemplified a passion in running for office with areas of interest in education, health equity and democracy.

The application deadline is Feb. 28. Click here for more details. The fellowship is tuition-free.

CEO Shennell McCloud explained the group’s goal.

“Representation matters, and the first step in making sure Black women are represented in government is to give them the training and tools to run,” she said. “We are thrilled to partner with IGNITE to help train the next generation of Black women leaders.”

Jacelyn Matthews, Northeast program director at IGNITE, said the training session will have great impact.

“Wanting to run for office is important, but feeling confident as you declare your ambition to represent your community in an elected position is paramount,” she said. “In this training, you will learn every aspect of running a campaign — articulating your personal call to service, fundraising, endorsements, building community with others in your cohort, and opportunities to meet with political professionals who will guide you with your bids.

“We are excited to partner with Project Ready on training women in Newark who are primed and ready to lead.”

About Project Ready

Project Ready works to close the opportunity gaps and improve life outcomes by powering communities to demand social justice through civic engagement. The organization grows the base of voters and substantially increases voter turnout while also reshaping policies that disenfranchise vulnerable communities.

The five-session training program prepares candidates and their staff to run a successful campaign and gives them the tools to win. The sessions will focus on building the core skills needed to run a campaign, including fundraising, public speaking, financial management, policy analysis, campaign management, organizing, team building, branding, marketing and more.

Here’s a breakdown:

Session 1, March 4-5 (in person): Run Now training. Fellows learn every aspect of running a campaign, including articulating your personal call to service, fundraising, voter contact, endorsements, staffing and resource allocation. (2 full days)

Session 2, March 16-17 (virtual): Campaign Staffer Bootcamp focuses on understanding the campaign staffer roles and responsibilities and how to secure jobs in this area. (6 hours total)

Session 3: Media Training (virtual mini-sessions)

  1. Launching your digital campaign (March 29): The session will teach participants the basics of branding their campaigns and communicating their message. They will also learn how to set up their social media presence and websites, as well as how to decide where and how often they want to communicate. (2 hours)
  2. Communicating for Campaign Success (April 5): Participants will learn how to use their digital tools (discussed in Session 1) to get their message to more people and learn best practices for fundraising. They will get an introduction to digital ads and other key marketing strategies for an effective campaign. (2 hours)
  3. Media training (April TBD): Participants will learn tips and tricks for giving interviews, connecting with journalists and navigating the media landscape as candidates. (2 hours)

The application deadline is Feb. 28. This fellowship is tuition free. All costs will be covered by Project Ready, the sponsoring organization. Spaces are limited.