Acton Emerging Leaders Program (Acton Institute)


NGO & Institutes

Location (s):

  • Italy
  • United States of America
Rome; Grand Rapids, MI


The Acton Institute is a think-tank whose mission is to promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles.



Gain Professional Experience in your area(s) of interest.

As an intern, you will engage in substantive work in one of our five core departments. Past interns have published on the Acton Institute blog and commentary, provided research and guidance on publications, assisted programs and education in event planning/development, and developed new systems and processes for the Acton Bookshop. Engaging in this type of work has helped interns build practical skills that have translated well to jobs in a variety of sectors.

Gain Professional Experience in the professional environment of a prominent religiously based think tank.

All Acton interns go through intensive professional development courses. This includes a variety of webinars and seminars geared towards increasing an intern’s future employability. You will attend resume and cover letter workshops, attend seminars with professional development experts from local and national organizations, and participate in mock interviews with local business leaders.

Interns also have the opportunity to work on a capstone project competition that is presented to staff at the end of their term. This summer, interns were tasked with developing a college outreach program – many of the ideas presented will be used in future Acton programming.

Increase your own understanding of the relationship between religion and liberty.

A core goal of the Acton Internship is that all leave with an increased ability to articulate the moral case for the free enterprise system. In essence, we are assisting interns in synthesizing ideas pertaining to faith and economics. We help to synthesize these ideas through weekly lunch and learns with our team of world class scholars, including, Father Robert Sirico, Samuel Gregg, Michael Miller, Jordan Ballor, and many more.

In addition to weekly lunch and learns, all interns are able to attend our annual Acton University conference which features 1,000+ attendees from nearly 80 countries each year. Acton University boasts 121 course options from a variety of disciplines including, economics, theology, sociology, philosophy, history, and business.


We accept interns on a rolling basis. The Acton Institute internship program is competitive, candidates who submit their application early are more likely to be placed in the internship program.

Semester internship program dates can be more flexible in order to accommodate school schedules. Our summer internship dates are not flexible.

  • Fall Program: September - December
  • Spring Program: February - May
  • Summer Program: June - July



This direction recognizes the benefits of a limited government, but also the beneficent consequences of a free market. It embraces an objective framework of moral values, but also recognizes and appreciates the subjective nature of economic value. It views justice as a duty of all to give the one his due but, more importantly, as an individual obligation to serve the common good and not just his own needs and wants. In order to promote a more profound understanding of the coming together of faith and liberty, Acton involves members of religious, business, and academic spheres in its various seminars, publications, and academic activities. It is our hope that by demonstrating the compatibility of faith, liberty, and free economic activity, religious leaders and entrepreneurs can contribute by helping to shape a society that is secure, free, and virtuous.

Opportunity is About:


Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

What are the requirements to intern at Acton Institute?

The Acton Institute requires that all candidates have a 3.0 GPA or higher. However, our most successful internship applicants have a 3.5 GPA or higher. We generally only accept rising juniors or seniors into the program, but exceptions are made for exceptional applicants.


Deadline: The application period is open for one or more cycles a year

Cost/funding for participants:


  • Stipend: $1000 (semester interns differ)
  • Housing: Grand Valley State University - Downtown Campus (First come, first served basis)
  • Duration: Summer Program = 8 weeks | Semester Program = 12 - 14 weeks
  • We accept Emerging Leaders Program applicants through the Charles Koch Institute (Koch Internship Program, Koch Fellowship Program, Liberty@Work). You can find out more and apply for one of these positions on the Charles Koch Institute webpage – you will select the Acton Institute during the application process.
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