About Revive The Dream Institute

“My favorite parts of RTD have been learning about the important educational issues, hearing from a variety of guest speakers, and discussing/debating topics with a group of highly accomplished, intelligent and driven young professionals from a diverse set of industries. Revive the Dream seminars are one of the highlights of each month!” – Brenna Clairr O’Tierney, 2013-2015 RTD Fellow

Each year, RTD selects a diverse set of 20-25 fellows through a competitive application process, identifying leadership potential through career success, demonstrated initiative, and a desire to be civically involved. You can meet some of our wonderful RTD alumni here: 2018-2019 RTD Fellow Biographies2017-2018 RTD Fellow Biographies, and 2016-2017 RTD Fellow Biographies.

High caliber applicants are attracted to this competitive fellowship as it affords them the opportunity to:

  • Improve their community
  • Deepen their understanding of key education issues in their city and nation
  • Access key civic leaders
  • Network with peers

Once selected, fellows will meet for 9 monthly sessions (October to May).  The meetings will immerse RTD fellows in the national education crisis and convert them into energetic, effective catalysts of change.

The sessions are focused on important topics in education reform and are led by education practitioners who are currently grappling with the issues.  Fellows are given 1-2 hours of homework each month to appropriately prepare for the sessions and then get a chance to ask questions, discuss, and debate the issues with their peers and the education leaders brought in to present the topic.

Fellows get a thorough understanding of the issues through the seminar process and are then prepared to engage directly in the work after the first several months.  They are matched with an education organization as a strategic partner and asked to take on a critical project to improve the impact the organization is having.

By learning deeply in seminars and also getting hands on experience, RTD fellows become well-informed enthusiasts for the issues of public education.  We then work to empower our fellows to be lifelong advocates for this critical issue.

“My professional background has been in finance my entire career thus far whether in investment banking or corporate finance within CPG but I have always done my best to stay connected to issues facing education today. Further, as I lived in many cities throughout my life I was felt empty if I wasn’t giving back in some way to the community I was in at the time.  By becoming an RTD Fellow, I have been able to increase my knowledge about various topics in education reform from federal/state funding to ed tech.  Being an RTD fellow has truly helped me in finalizing my decision to transition over to the education industry within an education management role with a charter school.” – Mark Steward, 2014-2015 Chicago Fellow


The 2019-2020 cohort will meet the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 6:30-8:30PM (from October to May) at Park Avenue South and 32nd Street.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

  • What is the time commitment for the fellows? In year 1, fellows are required to attend monthly meetings which last about 2 hours. Fellows are encouraged to stay or meet up after to continue the discussion and network within their cohort. Fellows will also spend 1-2 hours preparing for each monthly session. Volunteer project time commitments will vary by project.
  • Do I get paid for this fellowship? RTD fellowships are not paid.
  • What does it cost to participate in the fellowship? Fellows are asked to pay a $250 program fee to cover their dinners at each session and operating costs.
  • Where is the fellowship? The Revive The Dream fellowship is currently only offered in NYC. RTD began in Chicago in 2011 and continued there for 5 years. In 2014, we expanded to NYC. With the program leaders now living in NYC, we’ve decided to focus on a NYC program and are not currently hosting a Chicago program. RTD may expand to other cities in the future, but for now we are focused on an incredible experience for all fellows in New York.
  • What are you looking for in applicants? We are looking for applicants who are thoughtful, engaged professionals eager to learn more about education locally and nationally.  Our past fellows have come from a variety of professional backgrounds, so experience in education is definitely not required. In fact, RTD encourages anyone who is interested in learning more about education and education reform to apply. For those currently in education or with a background in education, we also encourage you to participate and broaden your view of the space.
  • What will I learn over the course of the speaker series? You will learn about the current state of education and what is happening in education reform globally, nationally, and especially in NYC. You will learn how education is financed, the pros and cons of public schools and charter schools, what Common Core is, what are the latest innovations in teacher evaluations and technology, and much more!
  • What types of volunteer opportunities have past fellows done? Past fellows have completed data analysis to support an organization’s goals, researched and provided recommendations on recruitment practices, blogged for education related groups, worked on associate boards for charter schools, participated in school board meetings, mentored principals, mentored students, lead the next year’s RTD cohort – and much more! See the Partner Organization page for examples of volunteer organizations.
  • If I am already involved in a school/non-profit/cause can I develop my own volunteer project? Yes! We encourage fellows to identify their own volunteer projects. If you are already working with a great organization, we hope you’ll continue.
  • What is the RTD agenda? We are not attempting to influence your opinions toward a specific education reform agenda. At the same time, we do believe that there is a clear need for and opportunities to improve education. Our students, particularly our low-income students, deserve better. Therefore, the goal of RTD is to provide a broad overview and connection with experts so that you are informed, can formulate your own opinions, and contribute back in your volunteer project. We hope that alumni will have a better idea of how they can influence education reform in the future, whether through their profession, personal influence, or just by being a more informed citizen.
  • What if I miss a session? We understand that things might come up and you may not be able to make every session. That being said, there are only a limited number of participants selected for this program. If you are not going to commit to regular participation, we ask that you wait to apply in a year when you are able to commit, thus allowing someone else to participate. We will provide a schedule at the beginning of the program so you will be able to save the meeting times in advance.