Campaign for Inclusion

Blue Star Families’ Campaign for Inclusion reflects values of welcome and belonging at the heart of our work. Using our theory of change (listen, share, partner, & act), we empower stakeholders to implement best practices that help all military families feel welcomed and included on their journey.


Campaign for Inclusion

Blue Star Families’ Campaign for Inclusion reflects values of welcome and belonging at the heart of our work. Using our theory of change (listen, share, partner, & act), we empower stakeholders to implement best practices that help all military families feel welcomed and included on their journey.



DEPLOY Fellowship Cohort 4:
Applications open June 2024 for September 2024 start!


The DEPLOY Fellowship Program

The DEPLOY (Diversify and Expand the Pipeline Of Leaders Of Your Military Community) Fellowship Program is a key component of the Campaign for Inclusion. It is a one-year, task-oriented  paid program designed to build a pipeline of diverse and talented leaders within military and Veteran service organizations. Existing research indicates that military families of color, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, and people from a lower socioeconomic status are less likely to hear about support and resources for challenges by which they are disproportionately affected, like financial distress and food insecurity. Moreover, the leadership teams and boards of the organizations that serve this community are disproportionately white. This fellowship prepares its participants to be future leaders in military and Veteran service organizations.

What is the role of a fellow?

DEPLOY Fellows support a specific function within Blue Star Families, such as Technology, Marketing, Programs, CFI, Development, or Operations, with focus areas such as: food insecurity, housing insecurity, research, and advocacy, to promote and grow the organizational brand and amplify the mission.

What can you expect from the DEPLOY Fellowship Program?

  • One year on-the-job cross functional training
  • DEI certificate of completion from USF (or equivalent)
  • Three day executive leadership training at Georgetown University-McDonough School of Business
  • Four professional advancement opportunities
  • Two external BSF mentors
  • Over 100+ networking opportunities

Fellowship Goals

The Fellowship Program has four goals:

  • To advance fellows’ career opportunities through on-the-job training and leadership development.
  • To help develop an awareness of and solutions for the broader community to the specific challenges faced by the diverse military- and Veteran-connected families.
  • To nurture fellows’ desire to continue serving in the military and Veteran service organization space after their fellowship.
  • To build an understanding of the ecosystem of military and Veteran service organizations.

These goals are addressed by fellowship training, individual projects, subject area efforts, collaboration with other military and Veteran service organizations, and job training/opportunities with our partners.

Frequently asked questions

What do you look for in candidates?

  • Candidates should have a passion for DEI.
  • Must be eager to learn about the nonprofit sector
  • Ability to commit to a 1-year program
  • Ability to adapt to a fast paced work environment

Is the fellowship paid?

  • Yes. All fellows receive a taxable salary during the fellowship period.



Ryan Brennan

USAA DEPLOY Food Insecurity Fellow

Jaron Brown

DEPLOY Outdoors Fellow

Angie Cherikos

Lockheed Martin DEPLOY National Capital Region Fellow

Tim Jones

USAA DEPLOY Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Fellow

Monique Street

JP Morgan Chase DEPLOY Financial Wellness Fellow

Sally Velez

Booz Allen DEPLOY Family Retention Fellow



Craig Newmark New York Tri-State DEPLOY Fellow Adriene Engstrom's (class of 2021-2022) primary objective was to be an advocate and example for military families. She spent a significant amount of time immersed in her surrounding communities, engaging with families, hosting inviting programs, and assisting partner organizations. During her fellowship year, Adriene had the privilege of working with the West Point Buffalo Soldier Association, participating in its inaugural Buffalo Soldier Parade, and supporting newcomers of the West Point community alongside Balfour Beatty. Adriene also hosted a series of events through the summer, including the two-part Grow Where You Go program and START reading program.

Fields4Valor visit

Amazon Food Insecurity DEPLOY Fellow Kelley Klor (class of 2021-2022) focused on partnering with Blue Star Families’ staff to develop a comprehensive plan to increase awareness of food insecurity challenges based on research and outreach to partners and community members. She enhanced communication skills to destigmatize the issue of food insecurity, expanding knowledge and curating resources to share with Blue Star Families’ audience, and growing a deep understanding of the current pressure points facing military families nationwide. Kelley worked with Blue Star Families’ staff to activate and create content for the Food Insecurity Landing Page. She also worked with other DEPLOY Fellows to write posts highlighting their areas of expertise. Throughout her efforts, she made connections with other organizations working in the military food insecurity space and drafted MOUs to partner and share resources. She also assisted the Applied Research team with ideas of future survey fielding questions and supported data visualization for the Blue Star Families' Social Impact Research 2021: The Diverse Experiences of Military & Veteran Families of Color report.

USAA San Antonio / National Chapter DEPLOY Fellow Quiana Abner's (class of 2021-2022) racial equity and inclusion work involved amplifying the concerns of Veteran and military families of color by taking a bridge approach through connecting and collaborating with local thought leaders in the Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous communities of San Antonio. In alliance with the African American Chamber of Commerce, national entrepreneurship agencies, and local BIPOC military-connected business owners, Quiana focused on conducting extensive outreach to develop culturally-relevant social and respite care solutions and entrepreneurship resources that are impactful for military families of color and their businesses. At the national level, Quiana worked in partnership with the National Chapter Director to curate service projects that connect civilian neighbors and military families in non-Chapter communities through volunteerism.

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Campaign for Inclusion Partners