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 six 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. 

Contact: Nou Yang

Extraordinary Community Leaders, Empowered Changemakers

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

diverse public policy leaders, POCI leaders, people of color at the state capitol

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

Courageous Stories of Community Leadership

Xiomara Bell, graduate of Neighborhood Leadership Program at Wilder

Neighborhood Leadership Program Helps Minnesota Newcomer Xiomara Bell Connect with Diverse Communities

Neighborhood Leadership Program graduate Xiomara Bell was working in mental health care in her native Louisiana when she felt called to use her degrees in history. Last year she applied for, interviewed and accepted a job at the Minnesot...More about this story »

About Wilder's Community Leadership Programs

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

Why We Believe in Community Leadership

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.
Wilder Annual Report 2019 High school students graduated from the Youth Leadership Initiative, a Wilder program that helps youth develop strong, effective leadership skills to take meaningful action on community issues they care about.
High school students graduated from the Youth Leadership Initiative, a Wilder program that helps youth develop strong, effective leadership skills to take meaningful action on community issues they care about.

How Community Leadership Programs Work

Join a community of empowered, diverse changemakers and leaders

Emerging and experienced community leaders are professionals, students of all ages, residents and volunteers who live in Saint Paul, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, Minnesota and beyond. Community leaders represent a variety of local and national groups and organizations such as nonprofit, for-profit, grassroots and community organizations, culturally-specific groups and local neighborhoods, government agencies and councils.

Explore leadership that emphasizes 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.

    Learn from shared wisdom, perspectives and experiences of leadership 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.

    More Courageous Stories of Community Leaders & Changemakers

    Monica Vega, Latino Leadership alumna with ofrenda

    Artist, Volunteer and Activist Monica Vega Unlocks Her Changemaking Passion with the Latino Leadership Program

    Monica Vega laughs when she thinks about how many people she has influenced because of her involvement with the Latino Leadership Program at Wilder. She teaches art to children, mothers and older adults at a nonprofit organization in Min...More about this story »