Wilder community leadership programs are open to anyone who wants to make a difference

Community Leadership Programs

Amplifying the voice of community leaders driven to #LeadFromWithin and make a positive difference

Wilder is committed to cultivating diverse community leaders who are driven to make a positive difference with purposeful engagement and values-driven leadership through five distinct community leadership programs. By nurturing the skills and experiences of emerging leaders and renewing the energy and commitment of experienced leaders, our programs help people take part in the change they wish to see in their community, regardless of age, position or experience.

Ignite Your Potential: Now Recruiting New Leaders

Interested in applying to our community leadership programs? We're now accepting applications for:

Contact: Nou Yang


Why We Believe in Community Leadership

Cultivating diverse, values and purpose-driven leaders who positively impact their communities is a core priority of Wilder Foundation’s mission.

We invest in strengthening the capacity of all Minnesotans to become extraordinary leaders of change by grounding our community leadership work in three core beliefs:

1. Everyone has the capacity to lead, regardless of age, position or experience.

2. Leadership should be reflective of the communities they serve.

3. Effective leaders are clear about their purpose and values.

Extraordinary Community Leaders, Empowered Changemakers

Since 2013, over 1,500 changemakers have participated in Wilder's community leadership programs.

Explore Our Community Leadership Programs

When leaders are authentic, are prepared to take us into the unknown, and understand the purpose and goals of their primary work, they can develop stronger, more effective organizations that can benefit society (Read: 3 Lessons About Authentic Leadership)

MayKao Y. Hang, President and CEO, Amherst H. Wilder Foundation

Features & Frameworks that Make Our Leadership Programs Unique

The empowered and diverse changemakers who participate 

  • Emerging and experienced community leaders who are: professionals, students of all ages, residents and volunteers
  • Community leaders represent a variety of local and national groups and organizations: nonprofit, for-profit, grassroots and community organizations, culturally-specific groups and local neighborhoods, government agencies

An emphasis on you, the connections you make and the actions you plan to take

  • Embedded within all of our programs is a common framework that begins with an awareness of self, strengthens meaningful connections with others and encourages participants to a commitment to action in their community

Learning from shared wisdom, perspectives and experiences of peers, staff and mentors

  • Cohorts in each program are made up of 20-30 participants who collaborate, contribute to, and benefit from, a diversity of wisdom, perspective and experience
  • Culturally-informed and responsive facilitation, training and workshops are led by experienced program staff during cohort sessions
  • Mentors, coaches and advisors act as learning partners who support the growth and goals of program participants

Upcoming Community Leadership Program Events

James P. Shannon Leadership Institute: Information Sessions

Join an info session to learn more about James P. Shannon Leadership Institute, a Wilder community leadership program A brief program… More about this event »

Courageous Stories of Community Leadership

Members of the 2019 Latino Leadership Program

Leaders in Community: Latino Leadership Program Graduates Make a Difference in School, Work and Life

Every year, about 30 members of the Latino community come together for the Latino Leadership Program, a six-week program offered in Spanish. Program participants come from a variety of backgrounds and use the skills and concepts from the...More about this story »