Our Purpose

The Neighborhood Leadership Program (NLP) supports and grows the leadership capacities of those who live, work or volunteer in Saint Paul’s neighborhoods. NLP participants apply their skills and abilities to address the concerns and hopes of their local neighborhoods and communities.
NLP provides multiple entry points and diverse learning styles for community leaders. Participants engage with programs and topics in ways that are accessible and at points where participants are ready to engage.
Some find the opportunity they’re looking for in our Leadership Cohort that brings together leaders from across the community. Others begin in the NLP community-specific leadership program specifically tailored to cultural or community groups.


Neighborhood Leadership Programs (NLP) develop the skills and capacities of existing and emerging community leaders. Through training sessions, networking, and individual coaching, participants expand their ability to engage in community service and take action on important issues.

NLP reflects a collaborative leadership model founded on the belief that all people can be leaders. The programs demonstrate a commitment to accessibility, relevance and action.

NLP builds on the understanding that leadership is inspiring and working effectively with others for positive social change to develop and sustain a healthy and thriving community.

NLP participants come from different cultural, racial, and economic backgrounds and from varying stages of community involvement. The diversity of NLP cohorts reflects the strengths and challenges of the St. Paul community. Emerging and experienced leaders learn from their peers and across differences in a safe and supportive environment.

Three-Part Framework

NLP is a holistic program grounded in this three-part framework:
(Diagram adapted from: J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership)


The Neighborhood Leadership Program's approach to community leadership has evolved with the needs of participants over the last 20 years.  


NLP began as a week-long program that employed curriculum from the Blandin Foundation’s Community Leadership Program. It included two follow-up weekend trainings over the course of a year, and drew clusters of participants from all over St. Paul.


NLP was revised to better fit the needs of busy, urban participants. The format changed to a six-month program with an opening two-day retreat and five one-day workshops. The program added new topics such as action-planning and implementation of community-based projects.


NLP changed to increase the number of people who could take advantage of leadership learning opportunities and to increase the relevance for leaders at different stages of skills and abilities. NLP was divided into multiple leadership training opportunities that continue to exist today.


NLP’s history continues to unfold and its impact grows as more NLP alumni take action in our community. If you have been a part of NLP in the past, we hope you will re-connect through Link-up Workshops or the volunteer opportunities we offer. And if you are new to NLP, we hope to see you in one of programs soon so that you will be a vital part of our story’s next chapter.

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