August 20th, 2020 4 Minute Read Press Release

Manhattan Institute Announces Second Cohort of Civil Society Fellows

Three Nonprofit Leaders Will Receive $10,000 Fellowships for Efforts Addressing Social Challenges

NEW YORK, NY — Today, the Manhattan Institute announced its second cohort of Civil Society Fellows, nonprofit leaders who will receive a $10,000 fellowship for their efforts to improve their local communities by addressing or preventing a social challenge. The institute’s 15-month Civil Society Fellows Program will help three individuals raise national awareness for their missions and make the case for the essential nature and value of their nonprofit work.

“These outstanding leaders are filling a need in their community where a government program simply cannot, and they are strengthening our social fabric in the process,” said Annie Dwyer, director of Manhattan Institute’s Civil Society Fellows Program. “Civil society is a fundamental part of America’s foundation, and this year’s fellows and their organizations are critical to the well-being and future of our nation. We hope their work will inspire others in communities around the country to take it upon themselves to assist those in need and help people change the course of their lives.”

Since 2001, the Manhattan Institute has recognized and supported nonprofit organizations and leaders who have developed solutions to some of America’s most pressing public problems. With the help of private philanthropy and volunteers—rather than government support—these organizations continue to empower the poor and disadvantaged, build caring relationships to support those in crisis, prepare the next generation to realize their full potential, restore and revitalize struggling neighborhoods, and much more. 

The 2020-21 Civil Society Fellows are:

Brandon E. Chrostowski of EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute – A classically trained chef and sommelier, Chrostowski is on a mission to change the face of reentry in the United States as the founder, president, and CEO of EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute in Cleveland, OH. Founded in 2007, EDWINS is a nonprofit that provides formerly incarcerated individuals a pathway to success through an elite culinary education and leadership training. Complete with a fine-dining French eatery, a 20,000 square foot campus for housing, enrichment and support services, EDWINS Butcher Shop, EDWINS Bakery, and a diner, as well as an on-site program at Grafton Correctional Institute, EDWINS’s programs graduate nearly 100 students each year. Many of them go on to work in Cleveland’s finest restaurants, resulting in an astounding 95% employment rate and a mere 1% recidivism rate after graduation. 
Megan Rose of Better Together – Based in Naples, FL, Rose is the CEO of Better Together, an organization that has strengthened families and communities by promoting work, protecting children, and supporting families in crisis since 2015. With the help of hundreds of volunteers and church communities, Better Together builds lasting support systems that help families cope with hardships—job loss, substance abuse, homelessness, and even jail time—and ensure that children are cared for in a safe home until the family can be reunited. The organization provides a voluntary and preventive alternative to foster care through its “Better Families” program, which has served more than 2,500 children and kept 98% of them out of the system. Additionally, Better Together’s “Better Jobs” program has helped nearly 28,000 job seekers find employment through church-based job fairs across 20 states.

Eloise Samuels of New Jersey Orators, Inc. – A former telecommunications business executive, Samuels is a cofounder and president of the New Jersey Orators, Inc., a nonprofit youth organization founded in 1985. This all-volunteer organization teaches the art of public speaking and an appreciation for literature, reading, and media arts literacy to children from 7 to 18 years of age, while also providing training in civic engagement, college readiness, and life skills to prepare them for success in college and beyond. Although the New Jersey Orators is open to all young people, its programs focus on African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and those of the African diaspora. With the help of more than 200 volunteers supporting 22 chapters in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, more than 5,500 youth have participated in the New Jersey Orators’ programs. The Orators’ after-school classes and competitions are closing the racial achievement gap, improving educational outcomes, fostering resilience, and much more.


Based in New York City, the Manhattan Institute is a think tank whose mission is to develop and disseminate new ideas that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility. The Civil Society Fellows Program is a part of the institute’s Tocqueville Project that seeks to support and advance America’s long tradition of civil society organizations and leaders who, with the help of volunteers and private philanthropy, address and prevent our nation’s most serious public problems. Learn more here.

For more information about this program, please contact Alexandra Cohill at


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