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MI Announces Civil Society Fellowship for Nonprofit Leaders Solving Social Challenges

press release

MI Announces Civil Society Fellowship for Nonprofit Leaders Solving Social Challenges

February 14, 2019

NEW YORK, NY – Today, the Manhattan Institute announced a $10,000 fellowship for nonprofit leaders developing innovative solutions to some of America’s most pressing social problems. The institute’s 10-month Civil Society Fellows Program will help three individuals make their mission and methods widely known across America.

“These outstanding leaders are filling a need in their community where a government program simply cannot, and they are changing people's lives in the process,” said Manhattan Institute President Lawrence Mone. “The fellows program aims to give these leaders and their organizations increased visibility so others can see what is possible in their own communities.”

Since 2001, the Manhattan Institute has worked to advance America’s tradition of nonprofit organizations helping those in need. With the help of volunteers and private philanthropy, these civil society groups help get kids off the street and into safe environments, clean up dangerous neighborhoods, provide job support and training for ex-offenders, and much more. 

“From the Red Cross to Big Brothers Big Sisters, and even our local churches, these organizations encourage us to be healthy, caring, and productive members of society,” said Annie Dwyer, director of the Civil Society Fellows Program. “They are a part of America’s foundation and critical to the well-being of this country.”

The Civil Society Fellows Program will kick off on February 19, 2019. The inaugural class will include:

Luma Mufleh of Fugees Family, Inc. – Inspirational founder and CEO Luma Mufleh started a soccer team for refugees and grew it into the nation’s only independent school network dedicated to refugee education. With campuses in Atlanta, GA, Columbus, OH, and more locations planned, Fugees Family empowers child survivors of war to integrate successfully into their new country by providing them the support and structure they need to realize their vast potential.

Reid Porter of Act – An experienced attorney, Reid Porter is the founder and president of Advocates for Community Transformation (Act), an innovative approach to creating safer neighborhoods in Dallas, TX. Act uses the justice system to empower inner-city residents to fight crime on their street, while sharing with them the hope of the gospel. Since its founding in 2009, Act has empowered more than 200 residents to shut down 150 crime-ridden properties across Dallas. As a result, crime has dropped up to 50 percent in Act’s target neighborhoods.  

Sharpel Welch of Community Renewal International – Army veteran Sharpel Welch, and her husband Emmitt, live in and run one of Community Renewal International's Friendship Houses in Shreveport, LA. Beacons of hope in the low-income, high-crime neighborhood of Allendale, the Welches build trust and relationships in their community by offering a place for after-school education programs, character building, GED courses, art and music lessons, family nights, and much more. The Allendale Friendship House has made an immediate impact on youth education levels, and crime has fallen 60 percent in the neighborhood since 2001.


The Civil Society Fellows Program is a part of the Manhattan Institute’s Tocqueville Project that seeks to advance America’s tradition of nonprofit leaders, volunteers, and private philanthropists working together to develop solutions to our most pressing social problems. Based in New York City, the Manhattan Institute serves as a leading voice of free-market ideas, shaping political culture since 1977. Learn more here.

For more information about this program, please contact Annie Dwyer at