Application Period

The application period for the Institute of a Democratic Future (IDF) Class of 2023 opens on October 10, 2022. Our early application period continues through Wednesday, November 2. 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 28; however, the application fee increases to $75 (financial assistance is available for those who need it). 

About the Program

IDF 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. IDF 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 IDF 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

IDF requires room sharing as a part of the program. IDF will follow all local COVID protocols and best practices for in-person programming. Antigen testing prior to each weekend will be mandatory to reduce risk for in-person programming and room-sharing. 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.

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.

DC ticket airfare is not included in the cost of the program.

Attendance: Fellows are required to notify IDF staff of an absence the Wednesday or Thursday before the upcoming program weekend.

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, 2023. Final selection into the class will be based on an interview, to be conducted on December 3 and 4.

The 2023 tuition rate for the IDF program is $830, but the actual operating costs to run the program is over $3,000 per fellow. IDF 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 two weekends and cannot miss the kickoff weekend or two consecutive weekends.

Deadlines and Other Dates 

  • Applications will be accepted starting October 10, 2022There is a $35 non-refundable application fee.
  • Applications must be submitted by November 2, 2022 (Late applications will be considered until November 28, 2022with an increased $75 nonrefundable application fee).
  • Interviews will be scheduled shortly after the final application deadline. This year’s interviews will be Saturday, December 3 and Sunday, December 4.

Summary Calendar

Please note that the content is subject to change:

January 13-15Seattle (Hotel)
February 4-5Everett / Snohomish and King County
February 17-19 Vancouver and Clark County (Hotel)
March 3-5Bellingham, Skagit, Mt. Vernon
March 17-19Seattle – Campaign and Elections
April 7-9Yakima, Tri-Cities (Hotel)
April 21-23OPTIONAL (Hotel) – Long Beach, WA, Alumni and Current Fellows.
Hotel costs are to paid out-of-pocket by attendees. 
May 2-7, 10-14Washington D.C.
May 20-21Bremerton, Tacoma (Hotel) 
June 2-4Spokane (Hotel) 
June 17 Graduation, Seattle

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:

  • IDF 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 2023?
  • Do you consider yourself a Democrat? Why or why not?
  • What do you hope to gain from your IDF experience?
  • Please tell us how your personal background or experiences shaped your political views or motivated you to care about a particular policy issue.
  • How do you approach debating an issue with someone who disagrees with you?
  • IDF 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 IDF Program is a very serious time commitment. Do you foresee any significant time conflicts with the posted schedule?