NEW YORK, Nov. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Open Society Foundations is pleased to announce the recipients of the Leadership in Government Fellowship, a new initiative supporting seasoned public servants whose work in government has advanced economic and social justice. The eight fellows, chosen from the senior ranks of federal, state, and local government, will work on a wide variety of issue areas: devising new ways to bring criminal justice reform to local prosecutors' offices; developing new strategies for helping school children exposed to trauma; improving life outcomes for low-wage workers, immigrants, and boys and men of color; and closing the digital divide, and more. The program is intended to help fellows build on their time in the public sector to develop ideas and strategies that advance the values of an open society. Fellows are also encouraged to reflect on their public service as they decide on the next steps in their careers and share insights with advocates and others about how to make policy change—at a time when public confidence in government has reached historic lows. "We are thrilled to launch this fellowship program and are honored and humbled to have the level of expertise, diversity, and talent that this cohort brings," said Andrea Batista Schlesinger, deputy director of the Open Society Foundations' U.S. Programs, who conceived of and launched the initiative. "Our fellows have tackled some of the toughest issues facing our country in their previous work. We are confident that this fellowship will allow them to continue to work toward economic and social justice while deepening our understanding of the government perspective in advancing change." The 2016 Leadership in Government Fellows, the inaugural recipients of what will become an annual award, will receive stipends of $100,000 to $133,000 to help facilitate projects lasting between 12 and 18 months. Fellows will devote up to 32 hours a week to their projects. "I think this is a time for groundbreaking, a time of transition in our governments," said Anurima Bhargava, a Leadership in Government Fellow who recently left her post as chief of the Educational Opportunities section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. "The fellowship provides me the space and flexibility to return to the transformative work I had the privilege to engage in at the Department of Justice, but allows for the use of a different set of tools, room to engage with a different set of partners, and an opportunity to learn and build different bridges. I look forward to the time to reflect and strategize, after years of feeling a constant need to triage and react quickly within government."