Application Period

The application period for the Washington State Institute for a Democratic Future (WAIDF) Class of 2023 opens on September 27, 2023. Our early application period continues through Monday, November 20. The early application fee is $35. If you need a few extra days to pull your application materials together, we have an extended “late application period” that continues until Monday, November 27; however, the application fee increases to $75 (financial assistance is available for those who need it).

About the Program

WAIDF is a six-month fellowship from January through June, occurring over ten intensive weekends, plus a week in Washington DC. Programming for these weekends focuses on a diverse range of political topics. The program covers the nuts and bolts of campaigns and elections, geographic issues from around the state, and developing leadership skills with our fellows. WAIDF offers a rich curriculum, networking opportunities, and will leave participants with lasting ties to their current class and other alumni. Participants meet with elected officials, leading experts, business owners, lobbyists, nonprofit leaders, and people making a difference in their communities all over the state and in Washington D.C. We want our class members to get engaged in the political process while introducing them to the people and issues that are affecting our state. Each year WAIDF graduates a “farm team” of progressive leaders who go out into the world and make a difference within campaigns, policy jobs, non profits, and in their communities.

COVID Protocols

WAIDF requires room sharing as a part of the program. WAIDF will follow all local COVID protocols and best practices for in-person programming. Currently masks will not be required for all in-person programming unless public health recommendations change.

Finances & Logistics

All travel costs, including meals, are not included in the cost of the program and will be the Fellows responsibility to cover. Carpooling is encouraged and supported in the program. There is a scholarship request option upon acceptance into the program to support those costs.

D.C. airfare is not included in the cost of the program.

Attendance: Fellows are required to notify WAIDF staff of an absence the Wednesday or Thursday before each upcoming program weekend. Fellows should plan on attending every weekend, not missing more than four total days.

How to Apply

Prospective applicants must submit an online application form, resume, cover letter, and at least one letter of recommendation. Applicants must be between the ages of 21 and 39 as of the start of the program, Saturday, January 13, 2024. Final selection into the class will be based on an interview, to be conducted on December 2 and 3, 2023.

The 2024 tuition rate for the WAIDF program is $830, but the actual operating costs to run the program is over $3,000 per fellow. WAIDF is committed to making our program accessible to all who want to participate by providing scholarships, travel reimbursements, and payment plans but resources to further subsidize the program are limited. Admission and acceptance into the program is on a need-blind basis.

Please review the weekend dates below. Fellows are only allowed to miss up to four total days and cannot miss the kickoff weekend or two consecutive weekends.

Deadlines and Other Dates 

  • Applications will be accepted starting September 27, 2023. There is a $35 non-refundable application fee.
  • Applications must be submitted by November 20, 2023 (Late applications will be considered until November 27, 2023, with an increased $75 nonrefundable application fee).
  • Interviews will be scheduled shortly after the final application deadline. This year’s interviews will be Saturday, December 2and Sunday, December 3.

Summary Calendar

Please note that the content is subject to change:

Dates Location
Jan 12-15, 2024* Kickoff – Seattle & Olympia Kickoff – Jan. 12; Programming – Jan 13-15
Jan 26-28, 2024 Snohomish & King County Programming – Jan. 27-28
Feb 9-11, 2024* Clark County & Southwest Washington (Vancouver) Programming – Feb. 10-11
Feb. 23-25, 2024 Seattle – Campaigns & Elections Programming – Feb. 24-25
March 8-10, 2024* Skagit & Whatcom Programming – Mar. 9-10
March 22-24, 2024* Yakima & Central Washington Programming – Mar. 23-24
April 5-7, 2024 Kitsap County Programming – Apr. 6-7
April 26-28, 2024 Pierce County Programming – Apr. 27-28
April 30-May 4, May 7-11, or May 14-18, 2024* D.C Week (dates are pending the final congressional calendar for 2024 which is TBD)
May 31-June 2, 2024* Spokane Programming – Jun. 1-2
June 18, 2024 Seattle

* denotes a hotel stay.

Application Form

For reference, below you can find a list of the questions included in the application. Each should be answered in 3-4 sentences:

  • WAIDF classes benefit from fellows with varied lived experiences. Tell us about where you have lived, for how long, and what you’d like us to know about those experiences.
  • Do you have a deep connection to where you currently live and do you intend to stay there through 2024?
  • Do you consider yourself a Democrat? Why or why not?
  • What do you hope to gain from your WAIDF experience?
  • Please tell us how your personal background or experiences shaped your political views or motivated you to care about a particular policy issue.
  • Race Forward defines racial equity as the process of eliminating racial disparities and improving outcomes for everyone. It is the intentional and continual practice of changing policies, practices, systems, and structures by prioritizing measurable change in the lives of people of color. During 2020, the conversation surrounding race equity went global. WAIDF is devoted to the goal of racial equity within politics, government and political structures, particularly in WA state. It’s important for us to know our fellows’ own thoughts on racial equity. Have your views on racial equity changed over the last few years, why or why not and if yes, how?
  • How do you approach debating an issue with someone who disagrees with you?
  • WAIDF is a highly competitive program. Please tell us what skills, talents, or unique perspectives you bring to the program that will help us in the selection of next year’s class.
  • The WAIDF Program is a very serious time commitment. Do you foresee any significant time conflicts with the posted schedule?

The recruitment period for WAIDF has come to an end. Thank you for your interest.