RSVP for ECF's Grant Showcase & Annual Meeting
June 7 at Merion Crystal Ballroom. 5:30pm music, drinks & appetizers; 6:30-7:30pm program

Leadership Evanston
Signature Program 

This year we celebrate 30 Years. We develop knowledgeable community stewards who are willing to roll up their sleeves to get things done for Evanston.

Founded by the Evanston Community Foundation in 1992, more than eight hundred individuals who live or work in Evanston have graduated from Leadership Evanston Signature — and 80% of them are still here, participating in our community's life. 

LE XXX began in September 2021

The Signature program began September 2021 and concludes in June 2022. The group will meet on two different Thursdays each month in a hybrid format. Applicants are asked to consider these requirements before submitting an application. Signature Leadership Evanston participants must:

  • Have lived and/or worked in Evanston for at least one year.
  • Intend to remain in the Evanston area for at least five years.
  • Be able to attend all class sessions. At most, participants may miss two sessions.
  • Be willing and able to spend four to six hours per month outside of class on a team project.

Leadership Evanston participants include staff of local companies and institutions, educators, clergy, small business owners, and volunteers involved in non-profits, schools, sports organizations and faith communities.

apply: The application process for the 2022-23 cohort will begin in summer 2022. 

program cost: $1500, including a $100 non-refundable deposit required upon acceptance to the program. Costs may be paid by participants or by their employers or sponsoring organizations. Once a candidate is accepted to the program, limited financial assistance and scholarships are available. NO ONE is turned away due to financial hardship.

For further information, contact Jennifer Moran, Director of Leadership and Training.

program structure

We will follow safe practices and follow CDC guidelines. We are designing a hybrid model which will include a combination of online and small group convening on Thursdays. For the first Thursday session of each month, we will meet on ZOOM from 3:00pm - 5:00pm. For the second Thursday session of the month, we will be meeting as a group in person from 8:00am — 1:00pm (subject to change if required by the CDC). Each participant will be assigned to a Home Base, a small discussion group, meeting for one hour once a month.

These dates are provided in the application form. 

Retreat: Saturday, September 25,  9:00am — 1:00pm

Thursday Sessions:
2021: October 14, October 28, Team check-in week (November 8 - 12), November 18, December 2, December 16

2022: January 13, January 27, February 10, February 24, March 3, March 17, April 7, April 21, May 5, May 19, June 2 Graduation 

rich experience

Leadership Evanston Signature Program embraces Bryan Stevenson’s Social Justice framework requiring all participants to get proximate, change the narrative, preserve hope, get uncomfortable. This framework sets up our dynamic year in everything we do: interviews, research, readings, encounters, exercises, and discussions.

Participants will meet with a large variety of Evanston leaders. Our conversations are in-depth, forthright, and thought provoking. Class members build trust in order to have the opportunity to share views, perceptions and feelings in a safe and respectful environment. Leadership Evanston is not just to learn more about Evanston but also to learn more about one's responsibility as a citizen leader and acquire techniques to be effective. Engaging in a variety of exercises that both help the group work together and learn skills to use after the program has ended the participant will bring this “tool box” back to their own work within the community.

program focus

Each month, participants use Evanston as a learning laboratory to absorb and practice leadership skills. During class sessions, participants meet and work with Evanston leaders, from elected officials to grassroots organizers. In addition to class sessions, participants have some reading and experiential homework. 

LE XXX will focus on three areas to help participants grow as local leaders:

  • Training in community leadership skills, including foundations of adaptive leadership, effective advocacy and organizing, successful team building,  restorative practices and interpersonal communication, creative problem solving, and conflict resolution, as well as visioning, consensus building, and public speaking. 
  • Broadening participants understanding of Evanston and its assets and challenges.
  • Building a network of concerned citizens to strengthen the community.

It is through these trusted relationships, our community grows stronger one cohort at a time.

reflections from the XXVIII class 2019-2020