VFA Policies

About VFA

Venture For America has a responsibility to build a safe and inclusive environment for ALL of our Fellows.

Please see our Fellow Handbook or the below policies for context about what we expect from Fellows and Alumni as members of the VFA community. Below you'll find our policies on the following topics:

Anti-Violence | Health & Safety | Press

Leave of Absence | Hardship Loan

Anti-Violence Policy

Venture For America does not tolerate threats, threatening behavior, or acts of violence by its Fellows (emotional, verbal, physical, or other), whether sexual in nature or not. Any Fellow who commits, or is alleged to have committed any of the actions described above (at any time against anyone) will be subject to an immediate investigation by VFA. VFA also reserves the right to immediately report the Fellow to the police or other relevant authorities without notice, and will cooperate with such authorities in any investigation in connection with the incident. While VFA’s investigation is ongoing, at VFA’s sole discretion, the Fellow may be dismissed or barred from any VFA sponsored events and/or technology, or suspended from the VFA Fellow program. Following or during VFA’s investigation, VFA will take such action as VFA, in its sole discretion, deems appropriate.

Health and Safety Policy

Venture For America is sensitive to the struggles of mental and physical health challenges and how it may impact a Fellow’s ability to fully engage with the VFA Fellowship, their place of employment and their VFA city. However, VFA Team Members are not qualified to give medical advice. If you encounter a situation where you feel that your health or safety, or the health or safety of another Fellow is at risk, we encourage you to seek out the support of the police or an appropriately qualified healthcare provider. VFA maintains a list of national support resources available to you here. If you feel that it is also appropriate to inform VFA email safetycaptains@ventureforamerica.org.

Helpline Resources:

Mental Health Helpline, 1-800-662-4357

Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255

Substance Abuse and Addiction Hotline, 1-888-459-5511

Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-7233

Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-656-4673

If you have a financial hardship and are struggling with mental health, VFA will reimburse you for your first therapy appointment. To request reimbursement, please fill out this Financial Hardship Form prior to making your appointment.

Press Policy

If you will be interacting with someone who works in the media (like a writer for the local paper, or reporter, blogger, etc.) and discussing VFA, you must coordinate with VFA’s Communications Team in advance. That means you’re responsible for notifying VFA that the conversation is going to happen, coordinating a time to discuss it with the VFA Communications Team, and getting statements approved by VFA in advance. In the same vein, if you are contacted by a member of the media to talk about VFA or the Fellow program, please refer them to VFA’s Communications Team. Your primary contact on VFA’s Communications Team is Carson Koser (carson@ventureforamerica.org).

Leave of Absence Policy

If you face a serious personal challenge during your two-year Fellowship, VFA will consider granting a Leave of Absence (LOA) from the Fellowship so that you can focus on your personal well-being. The length of any LOA is determined on a case-by-case basis. If you request and are granted an LOA, you will remain a Fellow during the LOA and your Fellowship status will be revisited by VFA upon the completion of the LOA. During your Fellowship, if you encounter a serious personal challenge and would like to discuss a potential LOA, please first contact your Community Director and then complete this LOA form.

Hardship Loan / Grant

If you lose your job or experience other hardship due to circumstances beyond your control, you should consider what financial options make the most sense for you and be resourceful. In some circumstances, as a last resort, and in its sole discretion, VFA may be able to offer financial support to help you cover living expenses while you search for another job. That support could be structured as a one-time grant, a loan, or some combination of the two. If you lose your job due to poor performance (i.e. you are laid off or fired), Venture For America, in its sole discretion, will decide whether you are eligible for financial support. Please first email sara@ventureforamerica.org to schedule a meeting to discuss your options and then complete this Financial Hardship Form.